Glossary of e-Learning Terms

Glossary of e-Learning Terms


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Accredited: The official recognition by an accrediting agency that an educational institution meets certain standards or requirements with regards to quality.

Audience: The group of people that the eLearning program is intended for.

Audio lecture: An educational audio recording of an academic lecture of the type given at university level which is made available online.

Auditing an online course: Accessing the contents of an online course without doing any of the accompanying activities. No certificate is granted for auditing an online course.

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Big data: Large amounts of data generated from people’s use of the Internet and other digital platforms that may be analysed to reveal patterns, trends, and associations. Online Learning platforms provide huge scope for learning analytics to establish better teaching practices.

Blended learning: A learning model that involves a combination of online and traditional face-to-face learning activities with a view to improving the learning process.

Blog (Abbreviation of "web log"): A regularly updated website or web page with the writers' personal experiences, observations, opinions, etc arranged as “posts” in reverse chronological order. Blogs are usually managed by an individual or small group and are written in an informal style. They can be syndicated to allow subscribers to have the content automatically delivered elsewhere.

Bookmark: Saved shortcuts to selected webpages which enables you to navigate to them quickly by clicking on the link.

Brick-and-Mortar: An institution based in a physical building or campus.

Browser: A software application for interacting with, accessing, and viewing information on the Internet. Examples of browsers are Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera, and Safari.

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Capstone Project: A final assignment students complete at the end of an academic program where they apply what they’ve learned and demonstrate mastery of the material taught during the study program by creating and presenting a final product, for example.

Certificate of Completion: A document issued to students by the course instructor on completion of an online course certifying that the named participant successfully completed the course and met with the requirements. These certificates are usually issued free of charge and can be downloaded.

Certificate program: A series of courses where students can earn a certificate on successful completion of all the course components.

cMOOC: The ‘c’ in cMOOC stands for ‘connectivist.’ The cMOOC differs from the traditional university xMOOCs where the course is delivered by an individual instructor. cMOOCs focus on peer to peer interaction with groups of people learning together via blogs, learning communities, and social media platforms. Interactions with the teacher are limited. (For MOOC, see separate entry).

Coach: A designated person who guides and assists a learner in reaching their specific learning goals via e-mail, instant messaging, message boards or over the phone.

Collaborative learning: A situation in which students learn from each other through social interaction. In an online environment, collaborative learning can take place via social networking platforms, conferencing, instant messaging, email, blogs etc.

Computer-based training (CBT): A type of education in which the student learns from computer-based programs. Contrary to web-based training, CBT does not necessarily require the computer to be connected to the internet.

Content: In an eLearning context, the content is the materials used in an educational program, such as interactive text, graphics, audio, video and animation.

Course Credit: a unit used by academic institutions to assess the qualifications achieved from secondary school to university. The number of course credits reflects the value, level or time requirements of an academic course.

Credential: An attestation of qualification or competence issued to a graduate by a course provider. Examples of a credential include diplomas, academic degrees, certifications and digital badges

Crowdsourced: describes educational content generated by an online community. Crowdsourced online education platforms provide courses and resources created and delivered by the site members, including individuals, institutions or organisations.

Curriculum: A planned series of related courses leading to an instructional goal.

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Dashboard: The user dashboard on an online course platform usually keeps a record of the user’s subscribed and bookmarked courses, their activity on the website, and their progress in a particular course.

Delivery: The form in which educational material and content are delivered to learners, such as text-based workbooks, classroom, video, audio tapes, CD-ROM, and the Internet.

Discussion board: An online discussion site where students and instructors can hold conversations and interact with each other in the form of posted messages. Online courses and course providers often offer this feature as an additional learning tool for students.

Distance Education/Learning: A form of study in which course content is delivered remotely by correspondence, phone or via the internet without the student needing to attend a school or college.

Download: Copy a file from one computer system to another, usually over the Internet.

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eLearning (electronic learning): All types of training, education and instruction that is designed to be delivered over the Internet, enabling people to learn anytime and anywhere. It can also be referred to as Online Learning or Online Training.

Emoticon: A representation of a facial expression in the form of a picture used to communicate feelings and the intended tone in a digital message or text.

ePortfolio: A digital portfoliocontaining electronic records of a person’s learning activities, making it possible for learners to track and share their learning history and experiences with others and potential employers.

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Face-to-Face (F2F): Term used to describe the more traditional classroom-based form of learning as opposed to online learning.

FAQ (Frequently asked questions): A list of answers to typical questions that users might ask with regarding a particular subject, especially one giving basic information for users of a website.

Flipped classroom: A reversed model of learning where students study online before class, usually at home or at work, and are then guided to apply what they’ve learnt by an instructor in class. This is also known as backwards classroom, inverted classroom, reverse teaching, and the Thayer Method.

Forum: An online discussion site where students and instructors can hold conversations and interact with each other in the form of posted messages. Online courses and course providers often offer this feature as an additional learning tool for students.

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Gamification: Gamification in eLearning is the concept of applying game-design thinking to online learning applications to make them more fun and engaging and provide a more meaningful learning experience.

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Honor code certificate of achievement: A free certificate delivered on MOOC Provider platform, Edx, certifying that a student has successfully completed a course, but does not verify the student’s identity.

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Informal learning: Informal learning occurs when people set their own learning objectives and means to acquire knowledge, skills and information outside of a structured learning environment.

Instant messenger (IM): Software that allows website users to see who is online and enables them to send and receive instant short messages.

Instructor-led training (ILT): Traditional method of training where an instructor teaches a course to a group of learners, such as a lecture or classroom format.

Interactive multimedia: Products and services on computer-based systems that allow learners to interact with the content of an online course and receive feedback as a result of the input.

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K-12: A term used to describe education for children generally aged 6 to 18 years (primary school through to high school).

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Learner centric: A term used to describe a teaching method that puts the student’s experience as the main focus of instruction.

Learning pathway or Learning track: A series of courses, academic programs, and learning experiences that are designed to deepen a student’s expertise in a subject or reach an educational goal. Learning pathways are offered by some online course providers, allowing students to earn credentials.

Learning style: The method adopted by a learner to engage with learning material based on personal preferences, for example visual learning, audio learning, text-based learning etc

LMS (Learning Management System): A software application or Web-based technology that allows an instructor to create and deliver educational content online, monitor student participation, grade and track assignments, and assess student performance. Often, learning management systems also offer interactive features such as video conferencing, and discussion forums.

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Mentor: A designated person who guides and assists a learner in reaching their specific learning goals via e-mail, instant messaging, message boards or over the phone.

m-Learning (Mobile learning): A form of e-learning distance education delivered through digital portable devices, such as handheld computers, MP3 players, notebooks, mobile phones and tablets.

MOOC (Massive Open Online Course): A free educational course which is delivered online and is open to anyone wishing to enrol. MOOCs are often delivered by renowned professors from famous universities and typically feature a blend of video content, quizzes, discussion boards, downloadable readings, and peer-to-peer assessment of learning. The goal of MOOCs is to reach a much larger audience than traditional courses can accommodate. Often, MOOCs offer a Statement of Accomplishment for free to all those who complete the course, and in some cases a verified certificate which is a paid for service. MOOCs are mostly accessed via MOOC provider platforms.

MOOC Provider: Online platform offering a range of MOOCs and sometimes other online courses, often providing discussion forums, reviews and various types of certificates.

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Nanodegree: A non-accredited vocational online college degree program created by online course provider, Udacity, in partnership with AT&T and other organizations offering an online certification that would be recognized by the tech industry and far cheaper to obtain. The nanodegree programs focus on entry-level software skills.

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OER (Open educational resources): Freely accessible, usually high-quality online educational materials that are used in teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes. Open educational resources may include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software etc

On demand course: A course that is always open where students can work at their own pace

Online School/University: Academic institution offering online educational programs

Open Badges: A digital reward awarded to students by some online learning providers on completion of a set task. Open badges can be stored within a student's digital portfolio to showcase recognised skills and achievements.

Open Courseware (OCW): Core teaching materials used in graduate and undergraduate classes made available online at no cost. OpenCourseWare may include text-based documents, audio and video files, lecture notes, podcasts etc.

Open education: The practice of making educational materials freely available for others to use, most often via the Web. Students may participate in open courses at no charge and educators may use open educational content for their own teaching.

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Pedagogy: The science and study of education and teaching methods.

Peer assessment: A form of assessment whereby students grade other students’ assignments or tests based on certain criteria. The practice is often used in MOOCs due to the large number of enrolled participants and it is believed to improve students' understanding of course materials.

Peer learning: An educational practice where students interact with other students in order to learn from each other.

Personalised learning: An instructional approach that focuses on the distinct learning needs, interests, aspirations, or cultural backgrounds of individual students in order to improve the overall learning experience.

Post: To write an electronic message or place a file in a public message forum online.

Prerequisite: A basic requirement that is necessary in order to enrol onto a course.

Proctoring: Supervising an exam or test taken online, often with the use of technologies such as webcams.

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Real time: Immediate access to content.

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Scheduled course (also known as a session-based course): A course that has a set start and end date.

Screen reader: Software that turns text on the screen into audible speech.

Self-assessment: A form of assessment where the learner assesses and determines their own skill level.

Self-directed learning: A learning practice where the learner – as opposed to a teacher – takes charge of their learning by choosing what, how and when they learn.

Self-paced course: A course that gives students the flexibility to work at their own pace

Signature Track: A service offered by MOOC Provider, Coursera, which allows students to securely link their coursework to their identity i.e., it proves who did the work. A Verified Certificate is issued by Coursera and the participating university on completion of the course.

Social media learning: The acquisition of knowledge and skills through online social networking platforms that allow people to collaborate, converse, provide input, create content and share it.

Specialization Courses: Group of related courses offered by MOOC Provider, Coursera, designed to help students deepen their expertise in a subject. Students earn a Specialization Certificate when they successfully earn a Verified Certificate for each course in a Specialization.

SPOC (Small Private Online Course): a type of MOOC used locally with a selected group of on-campus students. SPOCs allow for a "blended learning" approach that combines classroom teaching with online learning. (For MOOC, see separate entry).

Statement of Accomplishment: A document issued to students by the course instructor on completion of an online course certifying that the named participant successfully completed the course and met with the requirements. These certificates are usually issued free of charge and can be downloaded.

Streaming media: Audio or video files which can be played as they are being downloaded over the Internet instead of users having to wait for the entire file to download first.

Synchronous learning: A form of learning where students participate in an online learning course at the same time but in different locations, allowing interaction with the instructor and other participants.

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Thread (also known as Topic): A collection of posts on a particular subject by members of a discussion forum.

Tutorial: A computer-based form of teaching with step-by-step instruction designed to teach a specific skill.

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User profile: A visual display of a website user’s personal information. When registering with an online course provider, users often have the option to create a personal profile with their name, age, location preferences etc. Users usually have the option to share their profiles or keep them private.

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Verified Certificate: A digital document certifying that a student successfully completed a given online course, attesting to the student’s confirmed identity by linking the student’s achievements with their verified identity. The certificate does not grant credit toward a degree program, but provides more meaningful proof of credentials.

Video lecture: An educational video of an academic lecture of the type given at university level which is made available online.

Virtual classroom: An online education portal where students and instructors interact.

VLE (Virtual Learning Environment): An educational web-based platform allowing institutions to deliver learning materials to students online. VLEs usually include tools for assessment, student tracking, collaboration and interaction. VLEs are also known as Course Management Systems (CMS) and Learning Management Systems (LMS).

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WBT (Web Based Training): Educational content delivered over the internet or corporate intranet into a web-based browser.

Web conferencing: A form of real-time collaboration where multiple participants all connect to the Internet and see the same screen at the same time in their Web browsers. The term web conferencing can include webcasts, webinars and web meetings.

Webcast: A video broadcast of a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar transmitted over the Internet, in which the data transmission is one way and does not allow interaction between the presenter and the audience.

Webinar (Web-based seminar): An interactive presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web using video conferencing software, allowing participants in different locations to give, receive and discuss information. Contrast with Webcast, in which the data transmission is one way and does not allow interaction between the presenter and the audience.

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xMOOC: xMOOCs are based on traditional instructor-led , lecture-style university courses with a view to creating the learning conditions of a classroom. (For MOOC, see separate entry).

XSeries: A series of courses in a specific subject available on MOOC Provider Platform, EdX, culminating in an XSeries Certificate which is generally obtained on receiving a Verified Certificate of Achievement in each course as outlined by the school.

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