Northern Ireland's inaugural e-learning innovation awards have been launched at Queen's University by minister for employment and learning Dr Stephen Farry.
He explained the commendations will acknowledge the people and institutions that are "leading the way" in the effective use and development of academic technologies.
These can support teaching and education throughout higher and further education, as well as in the training sector, the politician remarked.
He called e-learning an "area of immense and rapid growth and change", noting innovative advances ought to be "exploited to the full".
This will enrich the economy and enhance the academic experiences of individual students, Dr Farry added.
He also recognised the launch of the Technology in Learning Delivery qualification, stating this will "complement and support the wider strategy for education and training" within the country.
Colleges and similar organisations should be seen as "key deliverers of skills" throughout all levels, which will enable them to meet the needs of communities and employers, as well as students, the minister declared.
Industry and businesses often examine the tertiary sector to help them discover development opportunities for their workforce and company, the specialist pointed out.
Dr Farry had previously argued it is vital the Department for Employment and Learning he works from collaborates with corporations when delivering its Skills Strategy.
"If Northern Ireland is to compete on a global economic arena, there must be a concerted, joined up effort to drive up skills on all fronts," the minister remarked.
He said he is committed to up-skilling the country's workforce, as well as addressing any mismatches or shortages of talents.
The e-learning awards are organised by the Regional Support Centre Northern Ireland and aim to encourage the creation of online training platforms and other virtual learning environments.
People and groups throughout the nation that are spearheading the effective use and creation of technological tools to support learning and teaching will be commended through the initiative.