Two Types of eLearning Programs You Need to Know About

When eLearning first arrived as a concept, most people only thought of it as being a single type of platform or program. Simply put, an eLearning program was something you offered online for your end-users to learn from. 

Now, you will find dozens, if not hundreds, of different types of eLearning platforms to choose from. 

But there are only hundreds if you let them be divided in that way. Every single eLearning program or platform will fit into one of two categories or types: external and internal. 

External Vs. Internal eLearning Programs – A Short Comparison

When determining if an eLearning program is internal or external, you have to think in reference to your company or organization. 

If your goal is to educate people within your company, it is internal. If your goal is to educate those outside your company, it is external. So, to identify what eLearning platform you need, first, you should figure out who your eLearning target audience is

A Closer Look at Internal eLearning Programs

As mentioned, the main characteristic of an internal eLearning program is that you use it to educate people within your company. 

The most common application is to train employees. This can be the case for full-time employees, part-time employees, or even contractors. 

Importantly, companies of any size can create internal eLearning programs. Massive multinational corporations likely have them as part of the onboarding and training process. 

But even if you are an individual ready to expand your team, you could use a platform. You could train new recruits using an internal program. 

A Closer Look at External eLearning Programs 

By contrast, external eLearning programs have learners who are not in your company. 

The most common example of this is when you create a platform to sell an online course. In other words, you offer online education for consumers, and they pay you in return. You sell the training to your customers. 

While that is the most common example of external eLearning, it is not the only one. Another popular option is if you sell a product or service and it comes with a manual or a guide on how to use it. This still counts as an external eLearning program because you are providing a program to your customers. 

All Other Types of eLearning Fit Into These Categories

You will likely hear about other types of eLearning platforms in addition to internal or external. But each one will fit into either one of the two categories depending on its traits. 

Example: Blended Learning 

For example, blended learning refers to when you combine types of learning. It may be in-person training and eLearning or AR and VR learning. Regardless of the type of learning, blended learning will be either internal or external depending on who you are teaching. 

Example: Micro-Learning

Another example is microlearning. This refers to when you teach in incredibly small pieces. 

This can also be internal or external depending on who you teach. So, start with identifying your learner and work from there. 


There are many ways to classify eLearning platforms, but every single program will be either internal or external. It is internal if you teach people within your organization or external if you teach those outside your organization. 


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