eLearning Glossary

Access the ultimate glossary of eLearning terms

A - C


ADDIE is a common, waterfall approach to instructional design project management. ADDIE stands for Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate. These describe ADDIE's five stages of project development. Each stage must be completed and signed off before progressing to the next stage.

Active Learning Strategies

Active learning strategies are teaching and training techniques that require learners to actively engage in the learning process through activities such as discussion, problem-solving, reflection, brainstorming, roleplaying or questioning. Active learning strategies typically lead to greater engagement, enjoyment and retention of the learning experience.


Andragogy refers to theories of how adults learn. Andragogy was coined by Malcolm Knowles to distinguish his six principles of adult learning from pedagogical (child learning) theories.

Assessment Tools

Assessment tools are software programs that allow trainers and instructors to assess the level of understanding of their learners. They typically allow users to create interactive quizzes that are marked automatically.

Asynchronous learning

Asynchronous learning refers to learning experiences that can be undertaken without needing individuals to be available at the same time, in the same place. eLearning courses are an excellent example of asynchronous learning as learners can complete their assigned courses at any time that is convenient to them. The opposite of asynchronous learning is synchronous learning, which requires learners to come together at a certain time and place to undertake training.

Blended learning

Blended learning is an approach to training that combines self-directed, online components such as eLearning courses with traditional face-to-face instruction such as classroom learning.


A block is a single page or screen in an eLearning course. A block can consistent of a single element, or a combination of elements including text, media, questions, simulations and more.

CLO (Chief Learning Officer)

Chief Learning Office (CLO) is a C-suite position responsible for managing training and learning opportunities within a business.

Classroom-Based Training

Classroom-based training refers to the traditional teaching practice of an instructor presenting knowledge to a room of learners. Classroom-based training is used in both education and business settings.

Cloud LMS

A Cloud LMS is a Learning Management System that is based entirely online, i.e. in the "cloud". Cloud-based LMSs do not require any software or hardware installations, as all its information is hosted and processed on an internet server, and can be accessed from a web browser.

Collaborative learning

Collaborative learning is a type of social learning in which learners collaborate to solve problems and complete projects. By working together, learners build relationships, encounter new perspectives and learn from each other.

Content Library

A content library (or media library) is a database of digital media pieces that may be used in eLearning courses, such as images, videos, audio snippets, icons, illustrations and characters. eLearning companies may offer content libraries integrated with their course authoring tool for free, or for an additional fee.

Corporate Training

Corporate training describes planned experiences that build skills and knowledge to enable employees to perform better in their roles. Corporate training may be face-to-face (e.g. mentoring, shadowing, lectures) or digital (eLearning courses, videos) and may boost role-based skills, or interpersonal skills.

Course Builder

A course builder is a software application that allows a user to build a complete digital training (eLearning) course. Course builders typically allow users to combine text, media, and quizzes to deliver and assess knowledge and skills to learners.

Course authoring

Course authoring is the process of designing, developing and delivering a complete digital training course using course authoring software. Course authoring may be done by individuals, teams or agencies within companies seeking to train their employees.

Course template

A course template is a framework of learning activities designed to meet a learning outcome. Course templates allow creators save time by inserting their learning content into a pre-built storyboard.

D - F

Face-to-Face learning

Face-to-face learning is the experience of training individuals in mutual physical location, such as a classroom or meeting room. Face-to-face learning typically involves an instructor or teaching lecturing and/or leading learners in learning activities to achieve a learning outcome.

Flipped classroom

The flipped classroom is an educational practice in which learners receive the bulk of information in self-directed format, such as digital courses. This is done prior to dedicated face-to-face with an instructor, such as at home. The face-to-face time is spent working through problems and answering questions.


eLearning is the delivery of a learning or training experience delivered in a digital format, usually online. eLearning typically takes place as a digital course with a sequence of pages combining text, media, interactive elements and assessments based on one or more learning objectives.

eLearning Storyboard

An eLearning storyboard is a visual map of an eLearning course that outlines the flow the sequence. Storyboards may also include information such as key content, activities and assessments.

G - I


Gamification is the process of adding elements common to traditional or online games to a learning experience, such as rewards, leader boards and badges. Gamification can improve engagement and motivation in learners.

Instructional design

Instructional design is the methodology of designing, developing and delivering learning and training experiences, typically in corporate environments. Instructional designers analyse training needs, determine learning outcomes, and design and deliver a training solution.

Instructor-led training

Instructor-led training (ILT) is training that is closely guided by an instructor. Instructors may deliver lectures, facilitate discussions, direct learners to complete activities and conduct demonstrations to impart knowledge and skills. It may be delivered face-to-face or online via video conferencing technology.

J - L


A learning management system (LMS) is a web-based application that supports the learning and training of a school or corporate cohort. An LMS stores learner records, host learning experiences and documents, and tracks and reports on learning completion data.

Learning Designer

A learning designer is responsible for using information content to design and deliver digital learning and training courses. Learning designers focus on creating storyboards and sequences to map the flow of learning, as well as activities, interactions and media content throughout the course.

Learning content

Learning content refers to the information and activities that are combined to create a cohesive and effective learning experience. Learning content may be visual, auditory or text-based, and may be gathered from existing materials, research or subject matter experts.

Learning object

A learning object is a collection of information, activities and assessment pieces in a sequence that produces an engaging learning experiences to produce a learning outcome for participants. Learning objects often take the form of digital courses or modules.

M - O


Microlearning is the practice of breaking down larger learning experiences into short, bite-sized sequences, often just five to ten minutes in length. Microlearning is popular for boosting engagement, retention and the ability to learn in the flow of work.

Mobile learning

Mobile learning refers to learning that can be launched and completed on a smart mobile device. Mobile learning may be designed as mobile-only, or may adapt to different screen sizes. Mobile learning allows individuals to complete learning on-the-go, but may exclude individuals without smartphones.

Offline Learning

Offline learning typically refers to traditional, face-to-face styles of learning and training that does not involve software applications. Offline learning may also refer to digital learning that does not require a constant internet connection.

P - R

Rapid authoring

Rapid authoring is the process of creating online training courses in just a few hours or days. Traditional content authoring takes weeks or months to produce due to the extremely complicated nature of many authoring tools to create courses. Rapid authoring are rapidly replacing traditional authoring tools as a result.

Ready-to-go course

A ready-to-go course is a purchasable off-the-shelf learning experience, complete with content including videos, audio, activities and assessments.

S - U


SCORM is set of technical standards that defines a file type for eLearning courses. It can be used to transfer a course from an authoring tool to a Learning Management System (LMS). SCORM is the most common and enduring file type used in eLearning course technology.

Self-paced learning

Self-paced learning allows the learner to proceed through the learning experience at their own pace. Also known as self-directed learning, it allows the learner greater control over their experience, leading to better engagement and retention of the learning.

Skill Gap Analysis

A skills gap analysis is a process of internal analysis to identify the gap between the skills currently held by your workforce, and those desired by your organization to evolve and anticipate future needs. Skills gap analyses can be used to plan training and upskilling programs and make critical business decisions.

Social learning

Social learning is a style of learning that involves boosting the acquisition of knowledge through learners interacting with each other. Through activities such as discussion, debate, mentoring, and collaboration, learners can extend and improve the learning experience.

Successive Approximation Model

The Successive Approximation Model (SAM) is an agile approach to instructional design project development. It is known for it's "Savvy start" stage, in which all team members gather to quickly produce several prototypes that are then evaluated and improved upon in multiple cycles until a final solution is reached.

Talent management system

A talent management system (TMS) is a software platform that integrates multiple technologies for supporting Human Resources management and process. TMSs can enable recruitment, onboarding, performing management, learning and training, compensation management and succession planning.

V - X

xAPI (Experience API / Tin Can)

xAPI (also known as Tincan) is a system for capturing data about learning experiences, no matter where learners are, what device they’re using, or what experience they’re having. In xAPI, an Activity Provider sends Activity Statements to a Learning Record Store, which may be integrated with an LMS or other technology to produce learning reports.

Y - Z


508 compliance

Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act (1973) requires that all branches of the US federal government ensure that it's digital technology and software is accessible for people with disabilities. These accessibility requirements are regularly updated by the US Access board.

70:20:10 learning

The 70-20-10 learning model asserts that the ideal proportions for adult learning methods should be 70% experiential learning, 20% social learning and 10% formal learning. That is, training should be mostly on-the-job learning, partly interactions with others, and only a small amount of structured training events.