eLearning Dictionary

eLearning Glossary of Terms and Definitions

For people new to digital learning there can be a lot of terms commonly used in the industry by learning technology providers, instructional designers, course developers and learning and development managers. At The Learning Rooms we work to break down barriers to learning, and so we have curated this glossary of digital learning terms and definitions to help you get up to speed in no time.

  • 360°image/video – a panoramic image/video that the learner can explore by clicking and dragging to view the scene as though they were the photographer looking left, right, up, down and zooming in and out.
  • Accessibility – refers to ensuring learning technology or learning content is easy to use by people with different abilities and disabilities, regardless of disability type or severity of impairment.
  • Active learning – a type of learning where the individual actively gets involved in the learning. Active learning can be facilitated through practical activities and problem-solving tasks.
  • ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation)– a systematic process used by instructional designers to develop learning resources. ADDIE is used widely for the development of digital learning materials.
  • Adobe Flash – a depreciatedplatformfor the delivery of multimedia content in web browsers using a plug-in. Flash was used extensively in the eLearning industry for almost 20 years. However, it is being replaced by HTML5 and will be retired by Adobe in 2020.
  • Articulate Storyline– a rapid eLearning authoring tool for designing multimedia rich and highly interactive digital learning courses.
  • Articulate Rise– a rapid eLearning authoring tool for designing device independent and mobile first digital learning courses.
  • Asynchronous learning – learning that is not time dependent. It offers great flexibility, allowing the student to complete the course at their own pace and at a time that is convenient for them.
  • Authoring tool – within the context of eLearning, it is software that enables the creation digital learning content and courses. There are many different authoring tools, mainly categorised by the types of content you can use them to develop and the output formats that they support.
  • Blended learning– a combination of different learning methodologies, typically a blend (or mix) of face-to-face training and digital learning materials.
  • Branched navigation – refers to the structure of a course or piece of learning content where the path through the content that the learner takes depends on decisions they have made. This is often used to develop scenario based learning.
  • BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)– a policy allowing individuals to use their own device (e.g. smartphone, tablet) to complete the training session or event.
  • Critical thinking – rational, unbiased evaluation of facts in order to form a judgement.
  • CPD (Continuing Professional Development)– learning activities that professionals undertake to stay up-to-date with developments in their area of work to develop their skills.
  • eLearning (e-learning / online learning / digital learning) – the delivery of learning and training typically through the internet. eLearning can take many forms including the use of video, audio, interactive learning content and many other digital resources.
  • ePortfolio – (electronic portfolio / digital portfolio). A collection of evidence related to learning that is stored online. They can include various forms of media such as text, electronic files, videos, music and blog entries.
  • Face-to-face training – refers to the delivery of training in person. Face-to-face training is the most common delivery methodology.
  • FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)– a list of common questions asked around a particular topic. FAQs can be complied and provided as a learning resource to help learners with areas where other learners often had difficulty.
  • Feedback – guidance given to a learner as they complete a course that is based on an action they have taken. Feedback can help them understand their progress.
  • Gamification – incorporating typical elements of game playing into a course design. Gamification can be used to boost learner motivation in online courses.
  • GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) – popular computer file format used for sending images, particularly moving images.
  • HTML5 (Hypertext Markup Language) – a programming language that describes a web page’s Designed to work with a large set of technologies that allows for the construction of diverse and powerful websites and applications. It is free to use and works across a wide range of devices. HTML 5 is the fifth and current major version of HTML.
  • Instructional design (ID) – the systematic design of learning experiences and materials in a manner that results in the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills by the learners.
  • Interactive content – elements of a course that the learner actively engages with. Making eLearning content interactive enables learners to actively work their way through a course by completing activities, solving problems and completing exercises and quizzes. Interactive content increases the learning opportunities within a course and helps with motivation levels for learners.
  • JavaScript – a computer programming language integrated into websites that allows the page to react to the commands of the site user.
  • Kirkpatrick model – a popular model for analysing and evaluating the results of education and training programmes. The model’s four levels are reaction, learning, behaviour change and results.
  • Learning and Development (L&D) – the team within an organisation that focuses on improving the knowledge, skills and performance of individuals.
  • Learning analytics – the collection, measurement, analysis and reporting of information about a learner and their interaction with learning materials. Used for purposes of understanding and optimising learning resources.
  • Learning needs analysis – a process to identify the needs of the learner and identify the gap between their current skills and the required level of competency required to do their job effectively. The analysis stage defines the required learning outcomes for the training intervention and informs how the content will be delivered. It also details how the key stakeholders will be able to measure the learning outcomes have been achieved.
  • Learning outcomes (learning objectives) – these outline what the learner is expected to have achieved or be able to do on completion of the course or training intervention.
  • Learning Management System (LMS)– a software platform that manages the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses, training, or learning and development programmes.
  • Microlearning–involves learning in small bite sized units. Typically short activities that are usually skill-based and available at the time when the learner needs the information.
  • Mobile learning (m-learning) –learning delivered on a mobile device.
  • MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)– an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web.
  • Moodle – an open-source learning management system or learning platform designed to support teaching and learning. Moodle delivers a set of learner-centric tools and collaborative learning activities and can be extended and tailored using community sourced plugins.
  • Off-the-shelf eLearning courses – a set of modules or courses are pre-built courses and available for purchase and immediate rollout by organisations. Generally sold on a licence basis for a catalogue of courses.
  • Passive learning – a process where the learner receives information from an instructor and is expected to internalise it without feedback from the instructor. Generally considered to not be as effective as active learning.
  • SaaS (Software as a Service) – a software distribution model where software is hosted by a third-party provider and is licensed to customers on a subscription basis.
  • SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model)– a collection of standards and specifications for web-based electronic educational technology. It defines communications between course content and the learning technology, commonly a learning management system. SCORM enables the tracking and reporting of learner activity within an eLearning course.
  • Simulation – artificial, immersive, computer-generated content where learners can practice a procedure or routine in a safe environment to learn skills before transferring those skills back to their jobs.
  • SME (Subject Matter Expert)– contributes the knowledge and information required for a particular learning activity. In eLearning design they usually collaborate with the instructional designer and part of their role is to ensure the content is accurate.
  • Storyboard–a document typically developed by the instructional designer that contains all the information required to build an eLearning course. An eLearning storyboard will contain all learning content, instructions for the eLearning developer to build the course, instructions for the learner on how to complete activities, feedback to guide the learner and the assessment questions required to measure achievement of the learning outcomes.
  • Synchronous eLearning–involves online learning in real-time e.g. video conferencing. Allows for instant learner-facilitator communication as well as interaction with other learners.
  • VR (virtual reality) – the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Learners wear a VR headset to experience educational visualisations to help understand complex concepts, theories, and subjects. Other, distinct types of VR style technology include augmented reality and mixed reality.
  • W3C – the World Wide Web consortium, whose mission it is to create standards and specifications for the World Wide Web including Web Content Accessibility standards.
  • xAPI (Experience Application Programming Interface / Tin Can)– a learning technology standard that enables the collection of data about the wide range of learning experiences a person has, both online and offline. This API captures data in a consistent format about a person or group’s activities and logs it in a Learning Record Store.

This is a quick glossary of key eLearning terms and definitions. If there’s  anything that you would like to chat about or if there’s something we have missed,  give us a call and we will be happy to help.

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