Glossary

Assessment

A quiz or test designed to assess the particular learning objectives of the course. An assessment may be delivered before a course, immediately following a learning intervention, or several weeks after to better assess retention and behaviour change.

Adaptive learning

A learning programme where the content 'adapts' to the learning progress and assessment activity of the learner. For example, scoring low on a pre-course assessment might mean a learner is assigned more extensive training material.

ADDIE model

The ADDIE model is a five-step instructional design methodology that stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation. Originally created as a model for the development of US military curriculum, the model has been changed to become more iterative and agile. Instead of completing each stage in turn and evaluating at the end as originally conceived, current uses of the model introduce mini evaluation at each stage, allowing improvements to be made during the design process.

AICC

An early interoperability standard for e-learning content, AICC was developed by the aviation industry. AICC has largely been replaced by SCORM and the xAPI (Tincan or Experience API) standards to ensure that e-learning content is able to run on a variety of learning management systems.

API

Application Programming Interface (API) describes the method used by software developers to integrate two systems together. Integration could be between a learning management system (LMS) and an HR system and an API would allow the two systems to 'talk' to each other and securely send information.

Asynchronous learning

Learning that is done by individuals and not 'in sync' with others. This allows learning to be done at one's own pace and time. Most e-learning content is asynchronous. A live, online webinar would be considered 'synchronous'.

Authoring tool

Software to allow the user to create interactive e-learning content. Like Powerpoint was designed to allow people to create presentations, authoring tools are specifically equipped to support e-learning development. Content is typically exported from the tool and then uploaded to a learning management system for delivery and tracking.

Blended learning

Using a mix of e-learning, instructor-led, just-in-time resources and performance support materials to benefit the learner. One 'blend' might be a pre-event e-learning module, followed by a face-to-face interactive group event, and concluding with post-event assessment, survey or on-the-job performance support materials.

BYOD

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a policy of allowing employees to connect a personal device (mobile, tablet or laptop) to a company network of software system.

Branching

Branching is a useful adaptive learning design technique that allows the learner to 'branch' down a particular path depending on their answers and choices in the module. Branching is useful in scenario-based learning in which learners are presented with choices and may not see the full ramification of the choice until later in the scenario.

Classroom training

A type of synchronous learning, classroom training refers to a traditional method of face-to-face training in a classroom or meeting room. An instructor leads the delegates through a set of learning materials and activities in a physical place and at a specific time.

Cloud-based LMS

A learning management system that delivers its content and reporting capabilities in the cloud, rather than hosted internally within an organisation's network. Cloud LMSs are generally quick to install and place less demand on internal IT professionals as they require less in-house technical expertise and support.

Channel partner training

Training that is directed at partners who are representing your company or product (eg. retailers, third-party sales representatives, vendors, consultants, distributors). Channel partner training aims to equip partners with the skills and knowledge they need to effectively represent your product in the marketplace and with customers. A channel partner learning management system can be an effective mode of reaching and communicating with channel partners.

Content

Refers to the elements that make up a course, for example SCORM or xAPI e-learning modules, bespoke videos, podcasts, question banks, PDF documents, one-the-job observation sign-offs, discussions, and more.

Course catalog

A browsable and searchable list of courses available for self-selection on the learning management system. Some courses in the catalog may require approval from a manager or member of the central learning and development function.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

CPD is self-directed learning (driven by you, not your employer) with the goal of maintaining and growing your professional skills and knowledge beyond those acquired through formal education. The focus is on learning from experience, reflective learning and review, includes both formal and informal learning, and usually involves setting development goals and objectives.

Customer training

Training that is directed at customers to help them use the products and services of the organisation. A customer training learning management system can provide customer support and self-directed learning to allow customers to get the most out of a product or service and can increase post-purchase satisfaction.

Communities of practice

Communities of practice are groups of individuals who share a common interest and come together to share and discuss problems, tell stories, discuss best approaches and share lessons learned.

Employee training

Employee training, or colleague training, is training directed at the in-house workforce and involves induction, onboarding, compliance training, management and leadership training, product knowledge, soft skills and other categories of training within the organisation. An employee learning management system can be a useful tool for delivering the training and keeping important compliance and CPD records.

E-learning

Self-paced, self-study solutions delivered digitally, with varying levels of interactivity; eg interactive PDF, eBook, interactive e-learning module, digital activities and games, video etc. Can be delivered online (requiring internet connection) or offline (downloadable or app, not requiring internet connection).

Exploration

One of the training strategies described by Clark and Whittrock (2001), exploration frees the learner to determine their own learning process and build their own knowledge by taking advantage of resources provided by trainers and others.

Exposition

One of the training strategies described by Clark and Whittrock (2001), Exposition is training by telling. It might include prescribed reading, watching or listening to recorded material, or a group lecture or presentation. The learner is a spectator in this one-way training method.

Face-to-face training

Face-to-face training is a type of synchronous learning during which an instructor leads the delegates through a set of learning materials and activities at a specific time. Face-to-face training does not have to be delivered in one physical location, but could be delivered online. This might be called 'Virtual face-to-face' or 'Virtual classroom' training.

Feedback

Feedback refers to a message displayed to a user or learner after an interaction with the e-learning course or LMS. Feedback might occur after answering a question in an e-learning module, completing a quiz, or sending an e-mail to delegates.

Flash

Flash is software by Adobe that has been used extensively within the e-learning industry to create multi-media courses, delivered in Flash format within the web browser. Because of security concerns, major internet browsers have begun to block Flash content.

Guided discovery

One of the training strategies described by Clark and Whittrock (2001), guided discovery seeks to make the learner a problem solver. Learners engage in task designed to help them experiment. Individual or group activities and projects, work experience, branching scenarios, games and simulations are all useful methods of guided discovery.

Gamification

Gamification refers to the use of game elements within a system or process that is not usually considered a game. For example, points and badges may be awarded within a learning management system to engage and encourage colleagues to complete certain tasks or adopt desired behaviours.

HTML5

Hypertext Mark-up Language (HTML) version 5 is the modern approach to developing multi-media websites for desktops, laptops and smartphones. Many e-learning courses originally designed in Flash are being re-built in HTML5 and CSS (see Flash entry).

Instructional design

Instructional design is the process of creating learning content and instructional materials. Instructional designers draw on research in psychology, graphic design, and learning theory to develop content that efficiently and effectively achieves learning objectives, for example to develop an awareness, attitude or action in the learner. Instructional designers often use an authoring tool and learning management system to create e-learning content programmes efficiently.

Just-in-time learning

Just-in-time learning aims to have learning resources available when and where it is needed by the learner on-the-job. Performance support resources and short, mobile-friendly learning modules are examples of just-in-time learning.

JPEG

The Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) is a common format of graphic and photo files. JPEG files can be compressed to be smaller in file size and therefore faster to load on a web page, but doing so also reduces the image quality.

Kirkpatrick Model

The Kirkpatrick Model (1959) was designed by Donald Kirkpatrick as a set of techniques for evaluating learning processes. The model has four steps or levels which a learning intervention may be judged against: reaction (step 1), learning (step 2), behaviour (step 3) and results (step 4).

Knowledge management

Knowledge management is the process of capturing, distributing, and using knowledge within an organisation. For example, knowledge may be "captured" through interviews, documentation or voluntary contributions, then "distributed" via knowledge portals, learning management systems, or personal networks, and finally "used" to make decisions or create new products.

Structured instruction

One of the training strategies described by Clark and Whittrock (2001), Structured instruction is more interactive than the 'exposition' model and involves the trainer adapting to the needs of the audience. Learners are encouraged to build their own associations through carefully planned activities. This might include group instruction, but it would also involve facilitated group discussion, individual assessment and practice, and performance support.

Learning management system (LMS)

A learning management system (LMS) is software to create, collate, deliver, track and analyse learning and development. Learning management systems may be used to train an internal corporate audience, customers, partners, or students. Learning management systems should ideally adhere to standards like SCORM and xAPI to ensure interoperability with e-learning content. An LMS can be used to engage and communicate with an audience, manage face-to-face events, deliver a blend of digital learning resources and learning pathways, and report on activity, retaining records for compliance and continuing professional development.

Learning Record Store (LRS)

A learning record store is online software that works within the xAPI (Tin Can) standard to collect learning experience statements. Another piece of software is needed to provide the 'experience', for example an e-learning course or interactive video, and then a further element is generally needed to interrogate the LRS and analyse the data stored there.

Manifest file

The manifest file is part of the SCORM zip package and describes the component parts of the course to the receiving LMS. In short, it says, "I am a course about trees, I have ten screens, the components of this course include ‘picture_of_maple.jpg". The manifest file is always names imsmanifest.xml and it must be located at the top level (root) of the zipped SCORM package. This is where the LMS will look when the SCORM package is uploaded to the learning management system.

Mobile learning

Mobile learning is conducted on a mobile device, for example on a phone or iPad. When developing instructional content, it is important to consider the experience on a phone screen, as increasingly learners engage with content on mobile devices. This means content must be developed to 'respond' to the device (see Responsive e-learning), with the layout and content changing to fit the available space.

Nudge theory

Nudge theory comes from behavioural science and describes how providing simple, positive, timely and socially meaningful prompts can help people make better choices of action. The idea is crystallised and exemplified in the book “Nudge” by the American academics Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler. Examples of nudges are speed-sensitive signs that show a happy face or a frown depending on your speed. At Acteon, we’re using this approach to help build competent compliance for clients as diverse as care home operators and national supermarket chains and to produce consistent positive behaviour change. Read more about that here.

Responsive e-learning

Responsive design refers to the development of software and websites to respond to the user's browser and device, usually by re-sizing and showing or hiding certain content items. The page may 're-flow' into a different configuration to make it more usable on a mobile phone, for example. In addition to the e-learning content, a good LMS should be responsive so that users can access the system and its contents via their device of choice.

SCORM

SCORM stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model and is the most popular interoperability standard. SCORM conformance aims to guarantee that learning management systems and e-learning courseware can speak to one another. The course says to the LMS, in slightly more complex language, "I'm a course with User X on page 5 with a current score of 90%." The LMS takes that information and stores it in the database so that when User X returns, they can pick up where they left off. In the perfect SCORM world, when everyone is working to the same standard, every piece of courseware works with every LMS. SCORM was developed by the US Government’s initiative in Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL).

Virtual classroom

Smaller live online session focused on learning needs and outcomes. Essentially mirroring face-to-face learning but delivered virtually/remotely in tools like Zoom or WebEx.

Webinar

Usually a one-way online presentation or session for larger audience numbers, often with facilitated Q&A. You may have a chat window open, but the presenter is generally the only one speaking. It can be delivered live online or recorded and accessed as needed.

Synchronous learning

Synchronous learning is real-time, instructor-led learning, such as face-to-face classroom events or virtual classroom sessions. The opposite of asynchronous, which allows learners to access learning when they want and at the pace they want, synchronous learning requires learners to be present at the same time and place, even if the place is a virtual classroom.

Learning System Suites

Learning System Suites are platforms that integrate the features of the traditional learning management system with heightened learner experience, video, social, gamification, artificial intelligence (AI) and other 'next generation' features. Breeio by Acteon is an example of a Learning System Suite that offers the full capability of a learning management system as well as 'one stop shop' modern learning features.

MOOC

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. It refers to an online corse that is open to the public and has no limits on attendance. Many MOOCs are free but may charge a fee to obtain a certificate.

Learning analytics

Learning analytics refers to web-based tracking data on how learners are engaging with online learning programmes and resources. Learning analytics may analyse the record of completions, time, individual answers, re-takes, critical paths and more. Learning analytics may be displayed on a dashboard and via downloadable reports. Breeio uses learning analytics to allow managers to analyse learner progress and performance, as well as the performance of learning materials.

Content curation

Content curation refers to the process of gathering relevant resources for learners with the intention of increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of learning time. Breeio allows course designers and learning and development professionals to 'curate' content for colleagues through the assembly of blended bundles of modules and resources that can be assigned or made available as optional content.