In the eLearning industry, you’ll find that there are two ways to spell, type and search the term “eLearning.” And while a tiny hyphen might not make a big difference, it provides some hefty weight to the argument that eLearning has made the transition from fleeting e-trend to viable and sustainable training method. Believe it or not, the conscious shift to going hyphen-free in the industry could help you better understand the direction of eLearning in the future – whichever why you spell it.

Rebranding eLearning Mind

We here at eLearning Mind aren’t immune to the discussion. In fact, when rebranding the company, there was lengthy discussion in how to spell eLearning: Hyphen or no hyphen? In the end, we decided with the sleeker, more modern eLearning Mind, and have noticed many colleagues in the field following suit. Sure, it’s easier to type, but it also reminds users that eLearning is just that: Sleek and modern, with a larger influence on the word “learning.”

We’d like to take credit for the change in collective consciousness, but admit that some stats and trends swayed our opinion on just how important that hyphen really is to the industry as a whole.

eLearning Stats and Trends

A quick Google search proves that when it comes to search terms and results, it’s actually “e-learning” that takes the cake: It returns 6,000,000 results to eLearning’s 3.5 million, so e-learning is the more popular term, right? But those results can be extremely deceiving.

While e-learning might reign supreme on Web results, Google Trends paints a different picture. When comparing the search terms “eLearning” and “e-learning,” it’s actually eLearning that sees the upward trend. E-learning has experienced a downward trend in search queries since its peak at 2004, while eLearning has experienced a consistent upward trend since the same point. Currently, the term “eLearning” is queried and posted about far more than the term “e-learning.”

Shifted Market

Consider “eLearning” Web 2.0: While e-learning might have been the most common moniker when eLearning first exploded onto the L&D scene, the hyphen has now gone the way of that in email, ecommerce and other digital-based products and services. It’s proof of progression: It seems as though the hyphen stays present for trends, but disappears when that trend solidifies and proves its online merit.

For SEO purposes, the importance of the hyphen (or lack thereof) is clear: While e-learning returns more results, today’s searcher is much more likely to peck “eLearning” into the keyboard to learn tips, trends and news on the steadily growing industry.

We’ll admit: We never realized how much difference a small line could really make in the grand scheme of things. But dropping the hyphen is a sign of progression and a shift in how the general public thinks about eLearning in general. By putting a larger emphasis on the term “learning,” eLearning points us toward continuing innovation in education, training and development – hyphen-free, of course.