Many people may find ink cartridges useful if they wish to print hard copies of educational materials delivered via the internet.

Grainne Conole, director of the Beyond Distance Research Alliance at the University of Leicester, explained with the advent of new technologies such as social media, e-learning now offers huge potential to both teachers and students.

She stated there are a range of collaborative tools such as Wikis that can be used by learners in new ways to share information, while the internet also offers access to a wide variety of resources.

Ms Conole added: "Through tools like Twitter you can get access to a global network of peers and get advice, links and answers to queries in amazing ways.

Recently, it was also noted by Jonathan Bishop, chair for the Centre for Research into Online Communities and E-learning Systems at Swansea University, that mobile platforms will become much more widespread in this field.

Therefore, he said cloud-based technologies that can enable resources to be deployed and shared faster will have a major role to play in the future.