Skip to main content

Distinguishing E-Teaching, E-Learning and E-Coaching

Definition of Terms


The alternative to face-to-face or conventional education is electronic teaching (e-teaching). Sanford (2020) describes it as an online teaching method in which no physical intervention of instructors and students is necessary. At the time of the teaching process, participants are located in several separate locations. It entails using information and communication technology (ICT) to interact and work with learners to accomplish instructional goals effectively. In literature, the notion of e-teaching is not widely discussed as often as e-learning is. As the back end of e-learning, e-teaching involves the technical mix of content experience, pedagogy, knowledge from/through multiple media outlets, and the use of learning theories to accomplish both formal and informal instructional goals.

As suggested by Ali (2018), E-teaching can include asking students to search for items online before the next class and providing forums for students to share their thoughts. To Klement et al. (2014), e-teaching puts together all the preferred modes of instruction into what is referred to as VARK (Visual, Aural, Reading/Writing, and Kinaesthetic). It requires the use of interactive tools that enable students to create and process knowledge in their own space and speed. Lytvynova and Pinchuk (2018) state that ICT encourages teaching and learning autonomy, produces constructive learning incentives, enhances learning consistency, strengthens evaluation practices, and improves record-keeping of educational achievements.

The facilitator of E-teaching is the E-teacher. Hoskins (2010) states that an E-teacher must be a good teacher called to the honourable career of molding young/unknowledgeable minds and with the requisite broad or technical knowledge. Also the E-teacher must be familiar with ICTs, including their continuing dynamism, to be readily influenced by necessary adjustments and scaling.

However, it should be noted that E-teaching is not synonymous with online teaching, the latter being a branch of the former, in which E-teaching can be carried out both in a face-to-face setting and at a distance. In contrast, online teaching frequently does not require face-to-face contact. For E-teaching, though, it is necessary to connect electronically because Internet resources are essential for the E-teacher. Ultimately, since it is one of the leading development areas within the education profession, E-teaching is an essential component for every educational institution to consider.

E-Teaching Tools E-Teaching Platforms
Podcasts World Wide Web (WWW)
Video clips using hyperlinks, projectors Learning Management System (LMS)
Use of electronic books (e-books) Skype
Open educational resources (OERs) WhatsApp & Zoom


The E-learning concept emerged in the mid-1990s when the Internet started to gain popularity (Garrison, 2011), and computer-based learning and web-based learning were included in the application of E-learning. E-learning, also known as web-based learning, is defined as the versatile and simple delivery of education through the use of the Internet to promote individual learning or organizational success (Clarkand Mayer, 2011, Maqableh et al., 2015).

E-learning is the use of ICT to provide academic knowledge where teachers and students are distanced by location, time, and/or both to improve the educational experience and performance of the students (Keller et al., 2007; Tarhini et al., 2016). E-learning is described by Horton (2011) as a series of instructions given via all electronic means, such as the Internet, intranets, and extranets. Thus, people can now take care of their own lifelong learning by overcoming the constraints of time and space (Almajali et al., 2016; Bouhnik and Marcus, 2006; Fletcher, 2005; Obeidat et al., 2015).

Sharma and Kitchens (2004) observed that E-learning entails learning through web-based training services, such as virtual colleges and classrooms, allowing remote communication and distance learning aided by technology. E-learning plays a vital role in educational growth in every country, according to Ally (2005). It creates opportunities for developed nations to increase their academic progress. In addition, it also allows the new generation of teachers to develop their teaching pedagogy skills. E-learning enables organizations to provide all staff with training regularly; upgrade training content when necessary; minimize travel expenses to outside training facilities; and provide workers with training on-demand, at any time and everywhere (Burgess & Russell, 2003). Papanis (2005) claimed that E-learning offers all participants in the learning process with innovative teaching at a reduced cost, improved access to learning, and strong accountability.

In their study, Sangrà, Vlachopoulos and Cabrera (2012) indicated, that E-learning definitions from the literature focus on four different elements and categories, which are: 1) technology-driven, 2) delivery-system-oriented, 3) communication-oriented, and 4) educational-paradigm oriented. The table below presents details of all four categories and their definitions.






"E-learning is the use of electronic media for a variety of learning purposes that range from add-on functions in conventional classrooms to full substitution for the face-to-face meetings by online encounters.”

Guri-Rosenblit, (2005)


“E-learning is distance education through remote resources.”

Marquès, (2006)



“E-learning is the delivery of education (all activities relevant to instructing, teaching, and learning) through various electronic media.”

Koohang & Harman, (2005).

“E-learning is an online education defined as the self-paced or real-time delivery of training and education over the internet to an end-user device.”

Lee & Lee, (2006).

“E-learning is the delivery of a learning, training or education program by electronic means.”

Li, Lau & Dharmendran, (2009).

“E-learning is defined as education delivered, or learning conducted, by Web techniques.”

Liao & Lu, (2008).




“E-learning is education that uses computerized communication systems as an environment for communication, the exchange of information and interaction between students and instructors.”

Bermejo, (2005).

“E-learning is learning based on information and communication technologies with pedagogical interaction between students and the content, students and the instructors or among students through the web”

González-Videgaray, (2007).


“E-learning is the use of new multimedia technologies and the Internet to improve the quality of learning by facilitating access to resources and services, as well as remote exchange and collaboration.”

Alonso et al., (2005).

“E-learning is a broad combination of processes, content, and infrastructure to use computers and networks to scale and/or improve one or more significant parts of a learning value chain, including management and delivery.”

Aldrich, (2005).

“E-learning is defined as information and communication technologies used to support students to improve their learning.”

Ellis, Ginns & Piggott, (2009).

“E-learning refers to educational processes that utilize information and communications technology to mediate synchronous as well as asynchronous learning and teaching activities.”

Jereb & Šmitek, (2006).


E-Coaching is also known as online coaching, remote coaching, web coaching, cyber coaching, digital coaching, I-Coaching, distance coaching, and virtual coaching. E-Coaching, previously referred to as virtual coaching, plays a critical role in producing efficient teachers through advanced online bug-in-ear (BIE) technology. E-Coaching is described as a relationship in which the practical instructional abilities of one or more individuals are actively and eventually strengthened by online experiences with another person (Gallant & Thyer, 1989; Hess, 1980). E-Coaching does not require onsite delivery, unlike face-to-face supervision or elbow coaching (Rock, Zigmond, Gregg, & Gable, 2011).

The word E-Coaching is also used interchangeably with virtual coaching, distance coaching, online coaching, remote coaching, etc. Although the E-Coaching debate is new, there is an apparent lack of agreement about its meaning. For example, Clutterbuck (2010) refers to E-Coaching as a developmental interaction that is conveyed by e-mail and maybe augmented by other media. An alternate definition considers E-Coaching to be a technology-mediated coach-customer relationship to promote customer development (Hernez-Broome, 2010). E-Coaching is described by Hernez-Broome, Boyce, and Whyman (2007) as "two-way communication between a mentor and mentee that is enabled through the use of technology, particularly computer-mediated communications (CMC) such as e-mail and online chat or threaded discussion" (p. 6).

Technologies for E-Coaching consist of advanced telecommunications and multimedia tools that enable synchronous and asynchronous communication through ordinary telephone lines and high-speed cable connections to desktop computers or wirelessly through cell phones and other mobile devices (Gunawardena & Mclsaac, 2004). Technological E-Coaching modalities include the following: (1) telephone communication; (2) visual communication; (3) text-based synchronous communication; and (4) asynchronous text-based communication. E-Coaching includes tools for synchronous interactions, contact and reflection (in real-time), and asynchronous (time-delayed) tools (Headlam-Wells et al., 2006). From the above definitions and in all three cases, it can be observed that one crucial element that runs through them is the use of computer-based technology, and it also does not necessarily require that both parties meet face-to-face.


Aldrich, C. (2005). Simulations and the future of learning: An innovative (and perhaps revolutionary) approach to e-learning. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Ali, J. (2018), “Seven ways digital education is transforming teaching methods”, Educational
Technology Online, available at:

Ally M (2005) Using learning theories to design instruction for mobile learning devices. Mobile Learning Anytime Everywhere (pp. 5–8), London, UK: Learning and Skills Development Agency

Almajali, D. A. Masa'deh, R., & Al-Dmour, R. (2016). The Role of Information Technology in Motivating Students to Accept E-Learning Adoption in Universities: A Case Study in Jordanian Universities. Journal of Business & Management (COES&RJ-JBM), 4 (1), 36-46.

Alonso, F., López, G., Manrique, D., & Viñes, J. M. (2005). An instructional model for web-based e-learning education with a blended learning process approach. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(2), 217-235.

Bermejo, S. (2005). Cooperative electronic learning in virtual laboratories through forums.
IEEE Transactions on Education, 48(1), 140-149.

Bouhnik, D., & Marcus, T. (2006). Interaction in Distance‐Learning Courses. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 57, 299-305.

Boyce, L. A., & Clutterbuck, D. (2010). E‐Coaching: Accept it, It's Here, and It's Evolving! Advancing executive coaching: Setting the course for successful leadership coaching, 285-315.

Boyce, L. A., & Hernez-Broome, G. (2010). E-coaching: Consideration of leadership coaching in a virtual environment.

Burgess, J. R. D., & Russell, J. E. A. (2003). The effectiveness of distance learning initiatives in organizations. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63(2), 289–303.

Clark, R., & Mayer, R. (2011). E-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning. Pfeiffer; 3rd Edition (August 16, 2011).

Ellis, R. A., Ginns, P., & Piggott, L. (2009). E-learning in higher education: Some key aspects and their relationship to approaches to study. Higher Education Research & Development, 28(3), 303. Retrieved from

Fletcher, K. M. (2005). Self-Efficacy as an Evaluation Measure for Programs in Support of Online Learning Literacies for Undergraduates. The Internet and Higher Education, 8 (3), 307-322.

Gallant, J. P., & Thyer, B. A. (1989). The" bug-in-the-ear" in clinical supervision: A review. The Clinical Supervisor7(2-3), 43-58.

Garrison, D. R. (2011). E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Framework for Research and Practice. Taylor & Francis.

González-Videgaray, M. (2007). Evaluación de la reacción de alumnos y docentes en un
modelo mixto de aprendizaje para educación superior. RELIEVE, 13(1) Retrieved

Gunawardena, C. N., & McIsaac, M. S. (2004). Distance education. Handbook of research on educational communications and technology. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates2, 355-395.

Guri-Rosenblit, S. (2005). ‘Distance education’ and ‘e-learning’: Not the same thing. Higher
Education, 49
(4), 467-493.

Headlam-Wells, J., Craig, J., & Gosland, J. (2006). Encounters in social cyberspace: E-mentoring for professional women. Women in Management Review21(6), 483-499.

Hernez-Broome, G., Boyce, L. A., & Whyman, W. (2007). Critical issues of coaching with technology. In E-coaching: Supporting leadership coaching with technology. Symposium conducted at the 22nd Annual conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, New York, NY.

Horton, W. (2011). E-Learning by Design. Wiley, London: UK

Hoskins, B.J. (2010), “The art of E-teaching”, The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, Vol. 58, pp. 53-56, doi: 10.1080/07377360903524641.

Jereb, E., & Šmitek, B. (2006). Applying multimedia instruction in e-learning. Innovations
in Education & Teaching International, 43
(1), 15-27.

Keller, C., Hrastinski, S., & Carlsson, S. A. (2007). Students' Acceptance of E-Learning Environments: A Comparative Study in Sweden and Lithuania. International Business, 395-406

Klement, M., Dostal, J. and Maresova, H. (2014), “Elements of electronic teaching materials with
respect to students’ cognitive learning styles”, Procedia – Social and Behavioural Sciences,
Vol. 112, pp. 437-446.

Koohang, A., & Harman, K. (2005). Open source: A metaphor for e-learning. Informing
Science Journal, 8
, 75-86.

Lee, T., & Lee, J. (2006). Quality assurance of web-based e-learning for statistical education.
COMPSTAT: Proceedings in Computational Statistics: 17th Symposium, Rome

Li, F. W., Lau, R. W., & Dharmendran, P. (2009). A three-tier profiling framework for adaptive e-learning. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Advances in Web Based Learning, Aachen.

Liao, H., & Lu, H. (2008). Richness versus parsimony antecedents of technology adoption
model for E-learning websites.
Retrieved from 540-85033-5_2

Lytvynova, S. and Pinchuk, O. (2018), The Evolution of Teaching Methods of Students in Electronic Social Media. (Online), Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, NY, available at:

Maqableh, M., Masa’deh, R., & Mohammed, A. B. (2015). The Acceptance and Use of Computer Based Assessment in Higher Education. Journal of Software Engineering and Applications, 8 (10), 557.

Marquès, P. (2006). Definición del e-learning. Retrieved from

Obeidat, B., Al-Suradi, M., & Tarhini, A. (2016). The Impact of Knowledge Management on Innovation: An Empirical Study on Jordanian Consultancy Firms. Management Research Review, 39 (10), 22-42

Papanis E (2005) Traditional Teaching versus e-learning. Experimental Approach, Statistical Review 1 (1): 19–35

Rock, M.L., Zigmond M. G. and Gable R.A., (2011). “The Power of Virtual Coaching.” Educational Leadership, 69(2).

Sanford, D. R. (2020). The Rowman & Littlefield Guide for Peer Tutors: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Sangrà, A., Vlachopoulos, D., & Cabrera, N. (2012). Building an inclusive definition of e-learning: An approach to the conceptual framework. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning13(2), 145-159.

Sharma SK and Kitchens FL (2004) Web services architecture for m-learning. International Journal of Mobile Communications 2(1): 203–216

Tarhini, A., Elyas, T., Akour, M. A., & Al-Salti, Z. (2016). Technology, Demographic Characteristics and E-Learning Acceptance: A Conceptual Model Based on Extended Technology Acceptance Model. Higher Education Studies, 6 (3), 72-89.