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Dozens of eLearning terms may seem too technical. Just like any other industry, eLearning has its own jargon.

The comprehensive glossary of eLearning terminology

There are dozens of eLearning terms that may seem too technical. Just like any other industry, eLearning has its own jargon. Businesses need to understand these terminologies to make the most of their training efforts. This guide will help you make sense of most of these terms.


This is used to describe the availability of online learning and support. 24/7 means you can access these services all day, every day regardless of your location.


Technology should be accessed by people with disabilities. People with different abilities and disabilities should have no problem-consuming eLearning content. Hence, learning material should be clear and easy to understand for everyone. 

The platform in use should also be user-friendly to assist even those users with hearing, visual, cognitive, and other motor impairments. Even those with earlier versions of software and hardware should be allowed access.

Accessibility is guided by Section 508 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act which states that Federal Agencies should make all electronic and information technology available to people with disabilities.

Active Learning

Active learning encourages the participation of learners. It proposes activities such as reading, discussing, practical exercises, and solving problems for a better understanding of learning content. Examples include group discussions and practical tasks by groups of learners.


The five stages of development are described by this acronym; analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation. This framework is used by online course creators to develop effective training material.

Analysis entails analyzing the scenario in terms of training and the gaps to be filled. Design deals with assessing the strategy for deploying content, timeline, and feedback. Development involves the creation of courses. Implementation entails sharing with the learners. Lastly, evaluation is the process of reflecting on the training’s progress to improve future courses.

ADL (Advanced Distributed Learning)

ADL originated from the US Department of Defense (DoD) and seeks to promote interoperability, collaboration, and other best learning practices with the aim of providing the highest-quality education and training in a cost-effective manner.

The initiative also seeks to standardize content and technologies for all organizations. SCORM and xAPI are some examples of this initiative.

Agile Learning

Also known as agile instructional design, this approach emphasizes speed, collaboration, and flexibility. The term was adopted from software development and involves the use of techniques aimed at pivoting businesses against market changes.

Agile learning is usually compared to the ADDIE framework. However, the design focuses on the creation of smaller bits of content whose outcome is refined over time.


AICC (Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee) is a learning standard that ensures content is designed, developed, and delivered to learners across multiple computer platforms.

It was introduced in 1993 as a CD-ROM-based program. Notably, it was the predecessor to SCORM and required following many steps before content based on the standard could be formatted to run on learning management systems.


These are the principles and methods of adult learning. It is defined as the art and science of adult learning. Malcolm Shepherd Knowles, an American educator, came up with this theory.

The model is learner-centric and not teacher-centric and focuses on collaboration between learners, peers, and teachers. Knowles proposed that as human beings mature, they become more self-driven and autonomous. Hence, they can take charge of their learning, unlike children.


Application Programming Interface is a programming function that allows application programs to interact and share data. When a user connects to the Internet, the application used sends data to a server, retrieves other data, interprets the information, and sends it back to the user.

All these functions are performed by the API. API also includes keys, similar to usernames and passwords, used by administrators and developers. API keys give access to LMS data and automate tedious tasks such as updates, deletion, and lists exports. Essentially, API is an intermediary that allows pushing and pulling of data.

ARCS (Attention Relevance Confidence Satisfaction)

ARCS is an abbreviation that stands for Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction. ARCS Model of Motivational Design is a learning theory by John Keller that states that these four elements are the stages of promoting and retaining motivation.

This theory focuses on the motivational factors taking place in the learning environment.


This is the process of evaluating a learner’s knowledge and skills. Mostly, it is in the form of a test taken at the end of a learning milestone and is usually based on a set of objectives.


Introducing new concepts, ideas, and experiences into an existing model of learning is known as assimilation. The rate of assimilation is dependent on factors such as learner motivation levels, traits, and distractions.

Asynchronous Learning

This concept derives from learners participating in online learning at different times. It allows users to take courses at their own time, pace, and convenience.

Audio Conferencing

This refers to an audio-only connection between users in different locations. It can take place over the phone or via connected computers. Mostly, audio conferencing happens through VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). It can be used to supplement other modes of online learning.

Authoring Tool

This is a software program used by content creators to develop eLearning courses. It is mostly paired with LMS programs and creates content using SCORM or xAPI learning standards.

Authoring tools can be template-focused, instruction-focused, web-creation and programming tools, knowledge-capturing systems, and text-based file authoring tools. A notable example is Adobe Captivate.


This is the image associated with a learner’s online profile. It can either be a graphical representation or a real image of the user, such as those used in online chat applications. Avatars create a friendly online environment.


Measured in bits per second (bps or bit/sec), bandwidth measures the amount of data being sent and received over a network in a given timeframe.

Bespoke Content

This is content created specifically for the buyer. It is not off-the-shelf and takes into consideration factors such as an organization’s IT systems, branding, and working practices.

Bitesize Learning

Bitesize learning emphasizes a single, specific result. In fact, studies report that such an approach leads to greater retention of knowledge for different disciplines. Learning sessions of up to 20 minutes are recommended for maximum retention.

Blended Learning

This is a combination of traditional face-to-face learning methods with modern technology-based learning methods. It is also the product of combining classroom training with self-paced online learning.


Blog is the short form of ‘web log.’ This is a website specifically developed to share logs of events with specific online audiences. It is a cheap form of sharing knowledge and information online.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

It is a policy that allows learners to use their devices - computer, phone, or tablet -  during online class sessions. Most LMS platforms are responsive and can be accessed from a variety of gadgets.

Branching Navigation

This learning technique involves adaptation which gives learners control of their learning outcomes. Learners are presented with different solutions for varying outcomes. They are also presented with outcomes for challenges that they encounter while learning.

CBT (Computer-Based Training)

CBT is a course running on a computer, either on a disc drive or via the Internet. It presents a difference from the traditional learning model by eliminating a physically-present instructor. Other terms for the same include Web-Based Training (WBT), eLearning, and online learning.

CDN (Content Delivery Network)

A network of proxy servers in different data locations meant to accelerate content accessibility.


This is a document that confirms that a learner has completed training in a certain discipline and has passed all assessments based on predefined standards.

Chief Learning Officer

This is the highest-ranking official in a learning organization. A CLO is usually experienced in instructional design, education, and corporate training. He/She leads an organization’s learning and development.


A chunk is a small unit of larger content created to enhance assimilation for learners. It also addresses learner fatigue.

Classroom-Based Training

The traditional model of learning led by an instructor in a physical environment such as a classroom or meeting room.

Cloud-Based LMS

This is a web platform that helps in delivering, tracking, and delivering eLearning content. Data is stored in a cloud and can be accessed by users anywhere at any time. A cloud-based LMS is less expensive and quicker to install than a self-hosted LMS. Also, little technical expertise is required to run such a platform.

CMI5 (Computer Managed Instruction)

CMI5 is an eLearning standard that uses the xAPI/Tin Can framework. It focuses on interoperability, extensibility (allowing extensions to track data), and mobile support. It was developed to overcome challenges associated with SCORM and AICC.

CMS (Content Management System)

CMS is a system that supports the creation, editing, and management of online content, mostly for publishing. Compared to an LMS, a CMS cannot track and report a user’s progress.

Content on Demand

This is a content delivery mode that allows users to access eLearning material anywhere at any time, to suit their preferences.

Cognitive Load

The extent to which mental capacity is being used in working memory. Borrowing from the Cognitive Load Theory by John Sweller, this concept proposes an instructional design that reduces mental strain on learners.

Cognitive Overload

This happens when an instructor delivers too much information than the learners can digest all at once. When this happens, the learner’s processing capacity is overwhelmed resulting in stress and anxiety. The end result is a negative learning experience.

Compliance Training

Training that educates employees on the rules, regulations, laws, and policies governing an organization or work industry.

Content Library

It is the central location that stores online learning content - text, audio, video, images, presentations, and more. Most LMS platforms come with this feature.

Continual Education Unit (CEU)

A unit of measure in continuing education programs where a learner has to complete a number of required units to remain a licensed professional in a given field.

Continuing Professional Development/Education (CPD/CPE)

These are programs developed to strengthen the training of professionals long after they have completed their tertiary, graduate, post-graduate, and professional courses. CPD/CPE aims at maintaining a professional’s knowledge and skills throughout his/her career. It can be formal or informal, structured, or self-directed.

Corporate Training

This is a learning strategy aimed at equipping employees in an organization with the knowledge and skills needed to perform their duties and excel.

Course Builder

This is a function of the LMS that allows a content creator to develop learning material. The content developed includes text, video, images, and presentations. Additionally, course builders allow the creator to combine different content types and incorporate tests, quizzes, and assignments.

Course Catalog

An exhaustive list of courses available for access to learners at a given time. There are public course catalogs that are available to everyone. Private course catalogs are available to a specific audience. For instance, a learning institution may create one specifically for its students.


This is instructional material delivered via an LMS platform.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

This is markup language that dictates a web page’s design. HTML controls a web page’s structure while CSS takes care of how it looks. 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

This is a system that tracks and manages an organization’s current and future interactions with its customers. It is vital for profitability and customer retention. Integrating your LMS with your CRM helps your organization to realize an extended learning program.

Customer Service Training

This is training aimed at educating employees in customer service departments on how to competently deliver quality service to customers. The goal is to equip these employees with knowledge of company products and services and how to handle inquiries, questions, and complaints in accordance with company standards.

Customer Training

This is different from customer service training and entails teaching a company’s customers how to reap maximum benefit from its products and services.

Customer User Data

The information that is usually filled-in by users of your LMS as they are registering for your services. Examples of such data include ‘Department,’ ‘Academic Discipline,’ and ‘Location.’ Customer user data helps in the grouping of learners in different segments based on their learning paths.

Distance Education/Learning

Such training takes place online in cases where the instructors and learners are in different geographical locations. It can take place in a synchronous mode, where all the learners are present during a live session, or in an asynchronous mode, where users log in at their own convenience.

EE (Extended Enterprise)

It entails training customers and partners on how to enhance the use of a company’s products, customer retention, and maximize customer service. Consequently, EE reduces the number of tickets raised by customers by educating them on how to use an LMS.


This term is short for electronic learning. It simply means any form of learning that can be accessed via an electronic device, mostly a computer, smartphone, or tablet. The advantage of eLearning is that you can access information anytime anywhere as long as there is an Internet connection. 

E-Learning Standards

These are the guidelines and principles that eLearning adheres to. SCORM and xAPI or Experience API are good examples of such standards. These standards ensure interoperability between your LMS and your content.

Employee Training

Also known and workforce training is the delivery of work-related soft skills, compliance, and product knowledge to employees of an organization. It forms part of the L&D (learning and development) of an organization and most businesses will require an LMS to facilitate this process.


This stands for Electronic Performance Support System and is computer software designed to give more information or guidance to users on how to use other computer applications.


This is the systematic process of assessing or gathering information on whether learning is having any impact. The results of such evaluation will help instructors identify the gaps, areas to keep, and those which need to be totally redone.

Face-to-Face Training (F2F)

This involves the instructor and the learners engaging one-on-one in a physical set-up, for instance, in a classroom.


This is the lead course instructor.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

This is a list of the most common questions students might be having and might need to be addressed. Mostly, LMS vendors and instructors have a section dedicated to answering some of the most recurring and burning questions.


Feedback is that response given to the learner while taking a quiz, test, exam, or basic assignment. The instructor can tell the learner if the answer was right or wrong, and if wrong, he/she gives the correct answer.


Adobe Flash has supported loads of multimedia content for years and the LMS platform is no exception. In perspective, SCORM and xAPI rely on this technology. Sadly, support for Adobe Flash will cease its support for end-users on December 31, 2020 However, LMS developers can still provide support in the form of HTML content delivery.


Gamification does not mean introducing games into LMS platforms. No! It simply introduces elements meant to make learning fun. For instance, the introduction of badges, points, and leaderboards are all meant to motivate and encourage other learners.

By seeing how other learners are performing, it encourages one to do even more. Gamification is known to increase and retain knowledge in an entertaining way. It keeps motivation levels up thereby keeping overall learner performance at an all-time high.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)

This technology was originally intended to compress image files; at least according to its developer Steve Wilhite in 1987. It was designed to provide low color image downloading. It is a lossless encoding technology for static images and animations.


This is a student-centered learning strategy, also known as self-determined learning which emphasizes self-capability, autonomy, and capacity. It derives from andragogy but puts the learner in the driver’s seat, without necessarily needing an instructor.

HRIS (Human Resource Information System)

A system that integrates human resources and information technology. All human resources activities - records and processes - are held in an IT environment. Integrating the two makes functions such as onboarding, record-keeping, and maintenance easy.


HTML5 is a markup language; simply put, it is the interface that helps to structure and present content on the world wide web. It is taking over the soon-to-be defunct Flash and can do amazing things such as play video directly on the web. Another advantage it has over Flash is that it uses less computing power.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)

These are the building blocks of communication for the worldwide web. Basically, it is a series of structured text that utilizes logical links, called hyperlinks, between nodes that contain text.


This is a global standard for sending and receiving meeting requests. It allows users to exchange and store calendar information, upcoming meetings, to-dos, journal entries, and other information.

ILT (Instructor Led Training)

In this scenario, an instructor leads a group of learners in classroom sessions. These can take place in a physical venue or through a webinar.

Instructional Design

Also known as eLearning design, this involves analyzing learner and organizational needs to tailor-make a product that meets those needs. Mostly, these developers will use authoring tools and LMSs to create course content that fits a particular client.

Interactive Content

Interactive content is important since it makes learners actively participate in the process. For instance, interactive features such as quizzes, memory games, and image pairing physically engage users in the learning process, making it fun and increasing knowledge retention. 

Also, content creators can include actions such as mandatory completing of sessions so that one can move to the next. That way, the learner’s attention is captured thereby accomplishing the whole learning objective.


This is the extent to which hardware and software can work together without any hitches. In perspective, eLearning standards like SCORM and xAPI were developed to ensure that eLearning content and technologies had no interoperability issues.


JavaScript is the most popular programming language. It is one of the main components of the World Wide Web (www). It allows commands to be executed when a user is using a browser. It also manages communications between LMS learning standards like SCORM and xAPI.

JITL (Just-in-time Learning)

This entails having learning material available to the learner at the time it is needed. It comes in bite-size components that can be consumed by the learner whenever they are available to do so. Mostly, JIT is mobile-friendly since most learners who make this concept possible are mobile device owners. They even have a term for it; mLearning.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

This technology is used for digital photography and is a standard used to contain lossy and compressed image files. The degree of image compression is quite high yet, the quality remains almost the same as the original.

This makes the technology quite common for file sharing for digital devices. File sharing is also fast and efficient. Also, the amount of space occupied by JPEG files is quite minimal.

Kirkpatrick Model

This is a widely-used model of analyzing results of training initiatives. It works for all training models; formal or informal. This model adopts four levels namely reaction, learning, behavior, and results.

Knowledge Base

Knowledge and information are stored in a special repository called a knowledge base. Most LMSs have knowledge bases and give access to such repositories to their users.

Knowledge Construction

This involves making learners aware of how their background, experiences, and belief systems influence their learning. It is beneficial for learners to use their current knowledge and combine it with new information.

Learning Analytics

These are web analytics used to segment and profile learners during their study period. Such information is presented as charts, graphs and data tables. Some LMSs also have a feature where learners can download their progress reports. Examples of data generated include quiz scores and transcripts.

LCMS (Learning Content Management System)

Although confused with LMS, LCMS organizes and manages learning content; the creation, delivery, and storage of such content.

Learning and Development

Organizations use this strategy to teach or enhance their workforce’s knowledge and skills. Learning and development professionals assess an organization’s needs in terms of gaps or areas of improvement. Then they come up with appropriate learning strategies that will be taught to employees.

Learning Experience

Any interaction, program or course where learning takes place. For eLearning, this interaction usually takes place online via LMS platforms.

Learning Objectives

These are statements that outline what is expected of the learners after finishing a particular course. These are usually actionable and outline to the learners what they should do and what they will be able to do once they complete their courses.

Learning Path

A structured guide for a learner to follow. Learning paths allow instructors to assess the progress of the learners and monitor their completion timeframes. Every learner has his/her own learning path depending on the time taken to complete a module.

Learning Portal

This is a mini-version of an LMS designed to manage the delivery of training material to learners. They enable you as the instructor to create unique content for different learners in various locations.

Learning Styles

A learning style is a specific person’s unique way of reading, understanding and consuming of content. Every learner has his/her own learning style.

LETSI (Learning Environmental Training Systems Interoperability)

LETSI is a not-for-profit organization whose role is to advocate and improve individual and corporate learning and performance.

Lifelong Learning

This is continuous learning to update one’s knowledge and skills and also to add in new information as age progresses. Some learners choose to continually engage in learning (in class or online) throughout their lives.

LMS (Learning Management system)

This is software used in the designing, delivering, and management of online training. LMSs allow content creators to design course material that they deliver to different learners who can either be in one locality or in different areas. 

Users create their own unique profiles (more like how users create profiles on social networks). Think of an LMS as an online school where you can access your learning material as long as you’re connected to the Internet.

LMS Administrator

A person mandated with the task of training users how to use an LMS, offer technical support and troubleshoot whenever issues arise. He/she also trains others on how to be administrators of the LMS.

LMS Integration

This enables the LMS system to connect flawlessly with other systems. For instance, integrating your LMS with your CRM (customer relationship management) system.

LMS integration can also allow embedding content from other systems so that users of those systems can log in to your LMS using their system’s credentials.


To adapt and translate learning content by using elements such as video captions and text to suit a certain language.

LRS (Learning Record Score)

This is the central system that receives, stores, and retrieves xAPI statements. It is the heart of the xAPI system. In order to use xAPI, you will need an LRS. Every tool that sends or retrieves educational content will interact with the LRS as the central store.

Learning Tools Interoperability

LTI was created by the IMS Global Learning Consortium. The core function of LTI is to ensure that learning systems such as LMSs connect with other services. LTI provides a plug-and-play feature that ensures that new innovative products, such as LMSs, actively and seamlessly work together.


LXP/LEP or learning experience platform is a new phenomenon in eLearning. LMS seems to be centered around an administrator setup who oversees everything from content creation, delivery, and tracking. It mirrors an employer-employee relationship.

LXP/LEP, however, is learner-centric. The learners are allowed to be in charge of everything. These include sourcing content from where they want and how they should be assessed. 

They want to be given the freedom to decide what the organization’s training needs are. Based on such assessment, then they can source the content they deem fit.

Manifest File

This is an important part of SCORM. A SCORM package is a file containing all the contents of a course such as shareable content objects (SCOs), flash files, and HTML. The SCORM package also comes with a manifest file that determines how the course content will be structured. It also contains the course content.

Mastery Score

This is the SCORM module pass mark for a learner. However, it is not a must since some SCORM modules don’t require a mastery score. Those with a pass mask usually have quizzes. Still, there are those with quizzes but have no pass mark. Also, those SCORM modules with practice quizzes and knowledge checks do not have a mastery score.


This is a means of delivering course content in small bits that can be easily delivered, tested, and marked.

mLearning (Mobile Learning)

This type of learning takes place on a mobile device such as a smartphone or a tablet. The development of microchips has enabled the development of these gadgets making portability a reality.

Especially, those learners who are always on the move do not miss out on their classes due to the evolution of these gadgets. Developers of LMSs and content creators have also adapted to this trend and are making products that can be used on these devices.


A module is a basic form from which a course is built. It can take many forms such as video, SCORM form, document, or a survey.

MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)

MOOC is an online open course that can be accessed by anyone. Mostly, it is used for educational training purposes.

Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)

This is an open-source learning platform mostly used for educational purposes. Moodle can be highly customized but expensive to maintain over time. Despite that, it is cheaper to acquire one compared to other LMSs.

Multiple Intelligences

There are eight types of intelligence according to Howard Gardner. These include linguistic, logical-mathematical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, body/kinesthetic, spatial and naturalist intelligences.

Howard’s theory suggests that intelligence is not the ability to have all these eight attributes. Instead, individuals can excel in one area and be seen as intelligent in that field.

Multimedia Learning

This is based on the cognitive theory that multimedia is hinged on three assumptions. First, there are two distinct channels (audio and visual) for the processing of information. Second, these channels are limited in capacity. Lastly, learning involves filtering, organizing, selecting, and integrating information.


This describes the process of going through a course, document, module or website. Content creators should keep this in mind while developing these products to make it easier for the user to consume their content.

OJT (On the Job Training)

This is training that takes place at the workplace. The learners are employees and may be guided by a lead trainer who could also be an employee.


This is the process of admitting and introducing a new student, employee, or partner in an organization. It also involves inducting these individuals with the policies and teaching them about the organization’s products and services.

Online Assessment

This is an evaluation that can take the form of an assignment, test, quiz, survey, or questionnaire.

Online Courses

This is a series of class sessions delivered online via an LMS. They can also be delivered through webinars and other live online sessions.

Online Learning

Any form of learning that takes place over the Internet is termed as online learning. It could be through an LMS, webinar or any other online media.

Open Source Software

Software whose source code is publicly available to anyone without any charges. An example is Moodle which is used by many educational institutions.

Open source software is a collaborative effort of many developers who improve and make changes to its source code then share it widely with the general public.


Outcomes are the skills and knowledge that learners should display or exhibit after completion of their courses. Learning outcomes define what the learner will be able to do after learning, while outcomes define the actual skills and knowledge learned being demonstrated by the learner.

Partner Training

Also known as reseller training, partner training equips partners with the tools needed for them to be successful. It can take the form of support training, sales and product training, and market advice.

PCI (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

This is a set of standards enforced to ensure that companies that store, transmit or process credit card information do so in a safe environment. LMSs vendors are required to be PCI compliant. A good LMS should be integrated with a PCI compliant transaction engine.


This is an instructor-led approach to teaching. It is the most common form of learning. Since some forms of eLearning are instructor-led, they also qualify to be termed as pedagogic forms of learning.

PLE (Personal Learning Environment)

This is a system where learners manage and take control of their studies. They set their own goals and communicate with each other to decide on their learning objectives.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

A lossless image compression technology which is a non-patented but improved replacement of GIF (graphics interchange format). It is the most common lossless image compression format in use on the Internet today. PNG supports grayscale and  palette-based images.


A series of audio, mostly spoken words, converted into digital format for users to download and listen on their devices. There are also live podcasts where listeners can tune in and listen to the various issues being discussed. There are a wide range of topics that are discussed through these podcasts touching on many aspects of life.

Problem Based Learning

This is a learner-centered type of learning where learners are presented with a problem. By solving the problem at hand, the learners get new insights and knowledge.

Question Pool

This is a repository of questions where instructors or examiners can store questions and reuse them in the future. This helps them not to set new questions every time assignments or exams need to be given out.


All learning materials stored in an LMS system are known as resources. These can be used by content creators, instructors and the learners.

Responsive Design

This is a design feature that allows a website to fit on the screen of any device, including smartphones and tablets. Developers are keen on this especially because most people are using mobile devices. Hence, they develop websites that fit on any screen and still display all the information.

REST (Representational State Transfer)

This is a programming architectural design that sets constraints to be followed when designing web services. Web services that follow this rule are called RESTful web services and provide interoperability between computer systems. For instance, interoperability between your LMS and CRM system.

RFP (Request for Proposal)

This is a document prepared by an organization when assessing LMS vendors.

ROI (Return on Investment)

This is the ratio between the net profit and the cost of investment. In eLearning ROI is calculated by comparing the cost of training to the tangible results of the training. The return on investment for an LMS is calculated by comparing the subsidized costs of training compared to the costs of conventional face-to-face training.

SaaS (Software as a Service)

This is a software delivery and licensing model where software is centrally hosted in a cloud. Softwares in this category are licensed on a subscription basis. The model is also known as “on-demand software.”

LMSs in this category save the client the burden of installing software locally and also eliminate in-house maintenance. It also eliminates the burden of purchasing hardware needed to install an LMS.

Sales Training

This is training meant to equip employees with the skills and knowledge needed to close deals relating to a company’s products and services.


It involves allocating resources to learners to help them achieve certain milestones. An example is dividing tasks into bite-sized portions or giving guidance to the learners so that they can accomplish a task.

Eventually, the resources are withdrawn as the learners become more confident. The aim of this strategy is to enable the learners to do tasks on their own without any assistance.


This refers to the ability of an LMS to handle more courses and users while improving response times at the same time. It is important to have an LMS that is flexible enough to handle the rising number of users, admins and courses. Luckily most LMSs have the capability to handle such flexibility.

Scenario Based Training

This is an exercises framework where learning revolves around a real situation. For instance, learners are invited to imagine a real situation then focus on it. It is also referred to as immersive learning.

SCO (Shareable Content Object)

It refers to a set of specifications and standards for eLearning. SCO allows SCORM package elements to be used by a variety of tools and platforms. Content can only be understood by all learning platforms if all elements of a learning package are SCORM compliant.

SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model)

SCORM is a product of ADL (Advanced Distributed Learning) and is a standard widely-used when creating LMS content. SCORM dictates the creation of online training material that can be used across different LMSs.

SCORM dictates the creation of SCOs(shareable content objects) that can be reused by multiple systems.

SCORM Package

This is a zip file containing content that is ready for upload to a SCORM compliant system. This package is created when exporting content to a SCORM compliant LMS using an authoring tool.

Text, images, videos, quizzes, and navigation settings are all used to create a SCORM package. The package has been developed to understand the SCORM protocol and can be reused or imported to multiple SCORM compliant LMS systems.

Self-Paced Learning

In this model, the learner chooses their preferred times of learning and goes through their courses at their own speed. It is not structured.


This is an element of self-paced learning where the learner thinks and acts on his/her own without relying on the opinion of others. A lot of discipline and determination is required since there are challenges to be met. If done the right way, the learner will achieve his/her learning objectives.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

SLA is a record of the expectations of a product or service. In eLearning SLA is the agreement that is signed between the vendor and the organization purchasing an LMS. The details include expectations about hosting, performance, maintenance and support for the LMS.


A sophisticated and highly-interactive computer application that allows users to play roles in a virtual environment. Simulations are meant to train users in a risk-free environment.

Skill Gap Analysis

It’s a model that compares a person’s ability and skills to those required for the specific job or task that has been or will be assigned to them.

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)

A messaging protocol for information exchange among computers based on XML (extensible markup language).

Social Learning

This model is based on Albert Bandura’s social learning theory. It states that our process of learning is affected by the environment we live in and the relationships/interactions that we create. Mostly, learning happens through observing and imitating the actions of others.

In eLearning social learning refers to the technologies and strategies that follow this theory. For instance, a discussion forum facilitated by an LMS demonstrates social learning aided by technology.


A protocol between two entities. In eLearning a protocol is a structured approach to the creation of content or development of software. If the specification is approved by an official body it becomes a standard such as SCORM or xAPI.

SSL (Secure Socket Layer)

A cryptographic protocol developed to provide security over a computer network. This ensures that the data that passes between servers and browsers is private and secure.

SSO (Single Sign-On)

An authentication standard that lets users use one set of credentials to access multiple and related software systems. This means you can access your LMS using credentials that also allow you access to other systems such as your CRM.


When an eLearning specification has been approved by an official body such as the ISO (international organization for standardization), it becomes a standard. Examples of recognized standards are SCORM, AICC, and xAPI.

Story-Based Learning

An exercise framework where learning is accompanied by a story to help the learners visualize the information presented and understand it better. It is similar to scenario-based training, but this model focuses on mapping a journey in the minds of the learners as opposed to just imagining a situation.


It is a stage in the development of courseware and is very effective for content creators. It is more of a draft that needs approval from stakeholders before the final courseware is developed. Storyboards are mapped using tools like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.

Subject Matter Expert (SME)

This is an individual with specialist knowledge in a given field or discipline. Content creators collaborate with SMEs to develop engaging, informative, and accurate learning content.

Successive Approximation Model

This model was developed by Michael Allen (Allen Interactions) and was a response to ADDIE (analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate). SAM has minute repeated steps designed to address issues such as budgeting and scheduling.

Summative Evaluation

This is the assessment of the value gained by learners for a specific program. It is usually conducted at the end of the ADDIE process. The purpose is to establish if the learning program is effective or needs some adjustments.

Synchronous Learning

This is a scenario where all learners are being trained at the same time. The instructor guides the whole process and is present to answer any questions or comments that may arise. The learners also get to collaborate and share ideas.

Talent Management System

It is a software suite that is used by organizations to assist in recruitment, performance evaluation, and learning and development.

Training Needs Analysis

The process of evaluating employee needs and the training offered. It is usually the first step in training and guides instructors on the type of courseware to develop and how to deliver it.

xAPI (Tin Can)

This eLearning standard was developed as a successor to SCORM. Specifically, it was designed to address the inefficiencies of SCORM and introduced some fundamental tracking functionalities. 

A significant difference between SCORM and xAPI is that the latter can track any online or offline activity outside the LMS environment; the former can only track online activity within the LMS environment.

xAPI can track events such as reading webpages, playing games, borrowing library books, team-based learning, and blended learning.

UI (User Interface)

The means of interaction between the computer and the user. Specifically, it is the usage of input devices and software. It is also the medium that guides the user while using a computer system. Windows is the most common UI.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

It is also known as the web address. It is the mechanism for retrieving a web resource and specifies its location over a computer network. https://www.google.com is an example of a URL. 

UX (User Experience)

This is the user’s reaction to a product or service. It is the emotion felt by the user regarding the quality of the product or service and/or ease of use of the product or service.

VLE (Virtual Learning Environment)

A web-based interface where learning content is delivered to end-users. LMS is a good example of VLE.

VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol)

This is also referred to as IP telephony. It is a means of communication where voice and video data is delivered over the Internet. In eLearning models such as webinars, VOIP is the primary tool of data delivery.

VR (Virtual Reality)

VR is a simulated experience that can be similar or different from the real world. The user is immersed in an environment complete with sounds and stimuli. It gives the user the experience of being in a ‘real’ world which is actually computer-generated.

Instructional designers are incorporating more of this technology in eLearning to make learning more engaging and fun.

Web-Based Training (WBT)

Any type of instructor-led session or digital instructions facilitated by the Internet.


A seminar conducted via the internet. VOIP is the main tool of data delivery for webinars. Webinars are conducted live but users who can’t make it to log in on time can access recordings via downloads.

Webinars enable real-time debates, sharing of presentations, images, audio, and discussions.


White-labelling enables you to rename your LMS from that of the vendor, change the logo, and do other customization to make your system look and feel as created and developed by your organization. Most LMS vendors develop platforms that can be customized to the clients’ preferences.


Formerly known as Tin Can, experience API (xAPI) is an eLearning standard that collects data and tracks activities of learners both offline and online. It was developed as a replacement for SCORM.

XML (Extensible Markup Language)

XML is a type of programming language that dictates how online media should be encoded in a format readable both by man and machines. It also allows the user to create tags that dictate the transfer of data between two computer systems.

ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development)

A theory developed by Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky. It is interpreted as the distance between what a learner can do without an instructor, and what the same learner can do with the support of someone with more experience.

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