As in any industry, e-learning has an array of specific jargon, acronyms, and abbreviations used by the experts. Quite often the users of e-learning products are faced with a certain term that they have difficulties understanding.
Some company managers who want to organize their next corporate training also come across unfamiliar terminology when they negotiate the type of e-learning that their business needs.
In order to avoid that confusion, it is good to get familiar with the most popular terms specific to the e-learning industry. It may be a good idea to keep a more detailed glossary handy so that you can check a term in case you need it. Below you will find definitions of the most popular terms and a few useful links to online glossaries that you can use in times of need.
Basic E-Learning Terms
It is not necessary to become an expert in e-learning terminology if you are dealing with online courses. It is important though, to get familiar with some of the basic terms, such as:
- Authoring tool
The authoring tool is a software application or program that facilitates the creation of e-learning courses. You do not need specific programming skills in order to be able to operate it. All good authoring tools contain a range of functionalities and tools that help design interactive and attractive modules. You can use a gallery of multimedia elements such as images, videos, text, etc. There are different types of authoring tools – web authoring and programming tools, instructional-focused authoring tools, text and file creation tools and others.
- Learning management system (LMS)
The LMS is basically a program that manages the creation and delivery of e-learning courses. The authoring tools are usually part of the LMS. You need to select an LMS that will facilitate your work, help you communicate with the learners, track their performance, launch courses and register new students. The LMS can be installed at client’s websites and hosted in the cloud.
- Blended learning
Blended learning is often referred to as hybrid learning as well. It aims to combine the best of both traditional instructor-led learning and online courses. Learners have access to e-learning modules on various devices and at the same time can benefit from the in-person approach of a facilitator or mentor. Blended learning has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, especially in corporate training. Many companies find that this is the best approach to providing their employees with new knowledge and skills.
- E-learning localization
In our globalized world, it is very important to create training that meets the specific needs of the target audience. One course might be very successful in the USA but not so much in Spain, for example, as it is not so relevant to the local learners. In order to improve that, course designers opt for e-learning localization. This means that the content of the course will not simply be translated into a given language but localized so that it is really relevant to the audience. This includes using appropriate images, examples, references, legal framework. Localization is widely used for corporate training in companies that have offices worldwide. It ensures coherent training for all employees in a language that they truly understand.
- Instructional design
Instructional design involves the analysis, compilation, and delivery of learning materials, which can be both in a traditional or online setting. The instructional designers usually identify the knowledge gap in the potential learners and provide a learning experience that can fill this gap. The decision about the new course is based on the best practices, instructional theory, and cognitive psychology. The instructional design makes sure that the learning material answers the needs of the learners, while also being attractive and engaging.
- (MOOCs) Massive Open Online Courses
MOOCs are free online courses that allow anyone to study regardless of their location or income. MOOCs are offered by many colleges and universities but are also very suitable for corporate training. MOOCs also facilitate discussions between learners and instructors. At the end of the course, a fee may be applied only if the learner wants to receive a certificate.
- HTML5 (Hypertext Markup Language)
This is one of the important terms to know even if you are not dealing with the e-learning design. This is a markup language that allows designing courses accessible on mobile devices. Since most learners prefer to be able to use their tablet or smartphone to learn something new, the presence of HTML5 makes it possible to happen.
Useful E-Learning Glossaries
With the help of the internet, you can easily find a definition and explanation of any term that you are unfamiliar with or browse through a range of glossaries that offer a list of useful terms. Here are a few trusted sites that provide a compilation of e-learning terminology that can be of use to anyone – from company managers preparing their next corporate training to the general learner who is curious what stands behind a given jargon.
- The eLearning Coach presents a Glossary of Online Learning Terms on their website, which gives an insight of a great number of popular terms used in the industry. You will also find links to the Instructional Design Guru App, which gives access to 473 terms related to instructional design, divided into several categories.
- E-learning Council has published an eLearning Terms Glossary that helps the learner decode some of the most common abbreviations and acronyms used in the industry along with most of the popular terminology.
- HT2 Labs claim to have compiled The Complete Glossary of both technical and conceptual terms that can help anyone become an expert in e-learning terminology.
Getting familiar with the jargon in any industry that you are working with is of great help. Since e-learning is present in the life of almost everyone these days – from little kids to elderly people, it is good to know the basic terms. They can help you choose the right e-learning course for you and make your learning experience even better and more rewarding.