Much of the initial development in online learning has been directed toward the idea of intelligent tutoring. The idea was that the computer would teach and the student would learn. This application of artificial intelligence parallels the development of artificial intelligence in the world of computer science. The 'Learning Design' approach used in learning Management Systems emulates in form and in function Newell and Simon's General Problem Solver and other Expert System approaches to AI.
But in the 35 year history of Expert Systems we never came close to real artificial intelligence. The real development in computer science was the network, and in particular, people talking to people. That is why the e-learning in what has come to be called Web 2.0 has adopted an approach known generally as the Personal Learning Environment. Rather than attempting to have a computer teach a student, the purpose of the PLE is to connect a student with a network of teachers, other students, and resources. Through a process of discovery and filtering, the combined resources of the web can be brought to bear to provide personalized - and human - support for a student's personal learning.
Audio Part 1: http://streamarchives.net/node/84
Audio Part 2: http://streamarchives.net/node/83