e-Learning Glossary | Make sense of the jargon
e-Learning Glossary

Our e-learning glossary gives you simple definitions of key terminology used in the industry. If there are any terms you’d like to see added, please let us know.

Authoring tool

Software allowing the user to create and publish items of e-learning content which may incorporate a variety of media and may be interactive.

Asynchronous learning

Model of learning whereby the “teaching” and “learning” happen independently of each other, and at different times. An example would be a teacher recording a lecture on video which is then downloaded and digested later by the learner.

Blended learning

An approach to learning characterised by “blending” traditional classroom based instruction with delivery of content via e-learning, allowing the learner some degree of control over the time, place and pace at which the learning takes place.

Bring your own device (BYOD)

The use of learners’ personal devices to access e-learning, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, rather than devices or equipment provided by the learning institution.

Content

Term used in e-learning to describe any teaching/learning material in any relevant media, for example a set text, a video, an audio clip, or an educational game.

Courseware

A term describing any type of educational software.

e-Learning

An umbrella term for any form of learning which takes place using computer software, and which today generally implies access to learning via the internet, for example via a learning platform/LMS/VLE.

e-Portfolio

A record of an individual’s learning achievements consisting of a collection of files and media stored within a web based platform, or on a website or blog. Can be publicly available or restricted to authorised users, for example instructors and fellow learners.

Flipped classroom

An approach to learning whereby the traditional distinction between classroom and homework is reversed. Home learning consists of the learner accessing initial course content such as a set text or video lecture, reserving classroom or face to face time for discussion and analysis of the material with the instructor, or for working through examples or problems.

Granularity

A term used to describe the level of detail in, for example an e-learning course. The more granular a course is, the smaller the “chunks” or discrete items of content it is broken down into.

Interoperability

Describing the ability of software systems to work together successfully, for example where a VLE is able to communicate and share data with a school’s MIS system the two are said to be interoperable.

Interactive multimedia

Multimedia content, i.e. using video, audio, animation etc which allows the user to interact in some way, for example in the form of a quiz, or game.

Learning platform

An online environment which allows users such as staff, students and/or parents to log in and create, edit, administer or access courses, content, and communication tools, enabling e-learning. Most learning platforms also store data on usage and test results, and allow reports on this data to be generated and exported.

Learning management system (LMS)

See Learning Platform.

Management information system (MIS)

Software used by schools which stores data on students and staff such as personal and contact information, registration and attendance data, achievements and sanctions, examination results and timetabling. Well known examples include SIMS, CMIS, iSAMS, 3Sys and Veracross.

Mobile learning

The use of mobile devices to carry out or facilitate e-learning, such as smartphones or tablet computers.

Online learning

See e-Learning.

SCORM

A suite of technical standards to enable web-based learning platforms and content management systems to import, share, and export learning content in a consistent manner.

Virtual classroom

A web-based learning environment accessed through a VLE or as a standalone system which allows learners and instructors to interact via the web, possibly including sharing of screens, whiteboards, video and/or audio.

Virtual learning environment (VLE)

See Learning Platform.

Webinar

A web based seminar in which the instructor and learners are able to view the same screen from multiple devices and/or locations, as well as sharing video and audio feeds. Often allows some degree or interaction between the participants, either via voice, video or text chat.

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