A measure of the amount of information that can flow through an information channel. Commonly measured in bits per second. Modem connection to an internet server is a typical example of a low-bandwidth connection; an Ethernet connection within a LAN is an example of a high-bandwidth connection.
A measure of the quantity of information transmitted on a communication line; largely replaced by the use of bits-per-second.
A standard of reference used for comparison. The performance of a learner is measured against a benchmark such as the performance of an expert. The performance of a technology-based training product is measured against a benchmark such as the training procedures it replaces.
An important function of quality control and one of the last steps before release of a software product. Beta testing involves the use of a product by selected users to create a formal documentation of content errors, software bugs, usability, level of engagement, and other factors.
The elementary constituent of digital information, the value of which can take only the forms 0 or 1. Bits are often measured by adding prefixes to signify a value. One kilobit contains approximately 1,000 bits; one megabit contains approximately a million bits; one gigabit contains approximately one billion bits.
A measure of the speed of the information transmission over a communication line; often confused with baud.
A training curriculum that combines multiple types of media. Typically, blended learning refers to a combination of classroom-based training with self-paced e-learning.
Blog / Weblog
"Blog" is short for "Web Log" and refers to short messages that are posted onto a web site by an author. Blogs are typically informal and personal messages, almost like daily diary entries. Blogging has caught on as a cheap form of knowledge sharing and expert communication.
Digital signals delivered (along with analog signals) over copper medium to businesses and households. Typically refers to an internet connection via a cable modem or DSL line with speeds 1 Mb/s to 10 Mb/s.
Also called a Web Browser. A program used to access the text, graphic, audio, video and animation elements of the Internet and Intranets. Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer are the most commonly used browsers.
Bulletin Board System
Also known as BBS. The computer equivalent of a public notice board, messages can be posted to a BBS for viewing by other users and other computers. A BBS is often called a threaded discussion.
A word made up of eight bits of information. One byte is the amount of information required to represent one character.
A device that connects a computer to the Internet through a Cable TV coaxial cable. Cable modems are considered to be a high bandwidth, or high speed connection.
Compact Disc Read Only Memory. An optical disc, recorded on and read by a laser, used to store large quantities of information. One CD-ROM has 650 Mb of storage capacity.
A formal evaluation process conducted by a neutral third party on a fee-basis, typically using a rigorous, accurate, reliable, validated software test suite and evaluation methodology. Certification is for a specific version only of the product being tested. Certification may lapse after a specific duration. Certification can be lost or revoked. Certifying body stands behind its evaluation of the product or service.
Chat or Chat Room
Text-based group communication on the Internet. Multiple users can type their questions and answers for everyone to see. This form of group communication occurs in real-time.
The process of separating learning materials into brief sections in order to improve learner comprehension and retention.
Any training conducted where the students and facilitator interact in a real, physical classroom. Unlike "Instructor-led Training (ILT)" which, although there is an instructor, could still take place over an Internet connection.
Pre-existing pictures, audio files, videos clips that can be "clipped" out and pasted directly into a computer program. Also known as "stock media".
The process of placing elements into a person's short-term memory.
Learning through the exchange and sharing of information and opinions among a peer group. Computers excel in mediating collaborative learning for geographically dispersed groups.
Competencies / Competency Model
A structured list of knowledge, skills and attitudes that is required for job performance. Competencies are used as the foundation to guide needs analyses and evaluations. They are powerful drivers of assessment and training.
A technique used to encode information so that it fits in a smaller package for easy storage or transmission.
Computer Based Education
A generic term for a computer program used by a learner to acquire knowledge or skills.
Computer Based Learning
A generic term for a computer program used by a learner to acquire knowledge or skills.
Computer Based Training
A generic term for a computer program used by a learner to acquire knowledge or skills.
Computer Managed Instruction
The components of e-learning that provide assessment, student tracking and personalized lesson plans.
Computer Supported Learning Resources (CSLR)
The parts of an e-learning product other than those that instruct, test, or track progress. These include glossaries, bulletin boards and chats, bibliographies, databases, etc.
A small file placed on a user's computer by a visited web page. Many e-learning programs will store the student's name, history, and score information in a cookie file.
Component of analyzing competing business alternatives based on reducing or eliminating costs, such as student travel and instructor fees. Return-on-investment studies take account of cost avoidance in calculating final returns.
Method of analyzing competing business alternatives based on comparing total costs to total benefits. A proper cost-benefit analysis takes into account all benefits, including productivity, savings, and motivation, and weighs them against all costs, including expenditures, overheads, and lost opportunities.
Term used to describe the collection of elements that make up training on a given subject. Usually a course is broken up into lessons, sections, or modules but course is sometimes used interchangeably with these terms.
Usually a flow-chart or other illustration, a course map details all of the component elements of a course. Course maps often illustrate the recommended order that students should complete the training.
Software designed specifically for use in a classroom or other educational setting, containing instructional material, educational software, or audiovisual materials. "Courseware" is a term used to describe software resources which are used for Computer-Assisted Learning (CAL) to mediate or support a course or module.
One of the three required parts of a properly composed learning objective. The performance level that must be achieved by the student along with a concrete measurement for the performance level are described in the criterion statement.
Criterion Referenced Instruction
A system of instruction developed by Bob Mager. Synonym for performance based instruction; instruction whose value is measured by the ability of the end-user to meet specified criterion after completion.
A series of related courses.
Jargon referring to the Internet, or the World Wide Web.
Term describing the way in which training is distributed to learners. Print-based workbooks, classroom, video, audio tapes, CD-ROM, and Internet are all sample delivery methods.
The second step in the classic A-D-D-I-E model of Instructional System Design. The design phase builds on the analysis information and includes the formulation of a detailed plan for the instruction, known as the Design Document. Sometimes Design is broken into "high level design" for the design doc and "low level design" which culminates in a script or storyboard.
Used to describe any member of a training project team, usually referring to creators such as writers, graphic artists, and programmers. Technically, this term should refer only to instructional designers, but it is often used synonymously with the term developer.
Used to describe a member of a training project team involved in development activities or the project team as a whole. Could refer to an instructional designer, graphic designer, writer, etc.
The third step in the classic A-D-D-I-E model of Instructional System Design. The development phase follows the plans created in the design phase to create materials ready for several iterations of testing and refinement.
Opposite of analog. Computer signals, the information manipulated by a computer and transferred on the Internet, are digital. A digital signal varies by discrete values only; that is any point defined within a digital signal will have the value of either 1 or 0.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
Refers to high speed Internet connections obtained through a special service of the phone company, using their standard telephone line.
Domains of Learning
Three divisions used to classify types of learning: psychomotor (physical), cognitive (mental), and affective (emotional).
Drill and Practice
An interactive exercise used to develop basic skills like keyboard operation. Involves the repetition of short sequences of practice, chained together to make up more complex processes.
Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)
Digital Versatile Disc Read Only Memory. Like a CD-ROM, an optical disc recorded on and read by a laser, but used to store even larger quantities of information, specifically 8.5 gigabytes
Broad definition of the field of using technology to deliver learning and training programs. Typically used to describe media such as CD-ROM, Internet, Intranet, wireless and mobile learning. Some include Knowledge Management as a form of e-learning.
Electronic Performance Support System
A program that provides on demand assistance on a discrete task. Considered to be a support tool or job aid. A good example of an EPSS is the built in help functions of many software programs.
Short for electronic mail. The process of one user employing a computer to send a text message to an electronic mailbox to be retrieved and viewed by another user. Also means the message itself. Also pertains to the most popular form of Knowledge Management.
Term used by e-Learning companies to describe a complete set of products and services, typically including learning management systems, off-the-shelf content, and custom services.
The prior knowledge, skill or attitude that is a pre-requisite to a given course, or that is assumed to be present by course designers.
A means of connecting computers in a local area network with high-bandwidth coaxial or optical cable connections.
The final step in the classic A-D-D-I-E model of Instructional System Design. The evaluation phase involves formative evaluations, evaluations of the product during development, and a summative evaluation, the final evaluation of the effectiveness of the training in solving the instructional problem.
Events of Instruction
The nine steps outlined by Robert Gagne that correlate to and address the conditions for effective adult learning. In brief, each lesson should (1) capture attention, (2) inform the learner of the objective, (3) stimulate recall of prior learning, (4) present material, (5) provide guidance, (6) elicit performance, (7) provide feedback, (8) assess performance, (9) enhance retention and transfer.
An artificial intelligence program in which a decision tree is created based on an experts decision criteria.
An internal, private website that has restricted access to certain outside users as well. For example, an organization may create a parts Inventory web site to support their internal manufacturing efforts, while giving read-only access to their outside vendors who need to know when to re-supply their parts.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
Generally called FTP. One method of transferring files over intranets or the Internet.
An application that isolates part of a network, like a company's private intranet, from access to or by other parts of the network, like the public Internet.
An evaluation performed at a late development stage, used to revise and improve an training program before launch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Also known as FAQ. A web document made up of questions commonly asked about a particular subject or in a particular forum and the associated answers.
See File Transfer Protocol.
Generic (off-the-shelf) Courseware
e-Learning products developed for a broad audience, not for a specific organization.
A file format, and filename extension, for graphics files for display on web pages. Popular format as it provides the best picture quality to file size tradeoff.
Graphical User Interface
A way of representing the functions, features and contents of a program to a user by way of visual elements, such as icons, as opposed to textual elements, such as words and character strings. The Microsoft Windows operating system is the classic example of a program with a GUI.
As opposed to "soft skills", this term relates to technical or IT related skills.
Physical equipment like computers, printers, and scanners. Compare to software.
HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) is the study of how people interact with computers and to what extent computers are or are not developed for successful interaction with human beings. A significant number of major corporations and academic institutions now study HCI.
A team that can be contacted by end-users for assistance with hardware and software problems.
A high-bandwidth connection, like a cable modem, will allow transmission rates in the range of Gigabits per second and allow the use of data intensive information like video, audio and complex animation.
The verb describing the physical storage of a Web page or other Internet content. As in, "we are hosting our program on our in-house computers."
Hypermedia links text, graphics, video, audio, and animation and leaves the control of navigation through its elements in the hands of the user.
Text elements within multimedia documents, classically underlined and in colored font, that can be clicked on by the user to follow a path to a new location in a document, supplemental material like a graphic or another page on the net.
Hypertext Markup Language
More commonly referred to as HTML. The standard programming language for web documents meant to be accessed by browsers.
A simple symbol representing a complex object, process, or function. Icon-based user interfaces have the user click on onscreen buttons instead of typing commands.
The fourth step in the classic A-D-D-I-E model of Instructional System Design. The implementation phase involves the delivery of the training to the intended audience and the use by that audience.
The organization and categorization of online content. The rules and structure of where and how to store content. Especially relevant for knowledge management programs and corporate intranets where users must be able to quickly find desired information.
The person who applies instructional learning theory to the organization and design of learning programs.
Instructional Systems Design
Term describing the systematic use of principles of instruction to ensure that learners acquire the skills and knowledge essential for successful completion of overtly specified performance goals.
Instructor Led Training (ILT)
Training mediated by a live instructor, such as classroom training or live classes delivered over a web-based conference system.
A program feature that requires the learner to do something. Should help to maintain learner interest, provide a means of practice and reinforcement.
The modern network of tens of thousands of interlinked computers, evolved from the US government's ARPANET project of the 1960's. The public Internet encompasses the world wide web, the popular multimedia portion, as well as the e-mail, FTP, gopher, and other services.
The term most commonly used in the mid 1990's to describe web-based learning programs.
Internet Explorer (IE)
The Internet Web browser developed by Microsoft, which is also the most commonly used browser today. Typically called just "IE".
Internet Service Provider (ISP)
A company that providers Internet access and hosting services.
A network owned by an organization that functions like the public Internet but is secure from outsider access and regulated by representatives of the organization often called system administrators.
A programming language invented by Sun Microsystems that is intended to be operational on any hardware/software system.
A small program (i.e., application) written in Java. Java applets are sent from the host computer to the end user's computer (known as the client) and is then run (or "executed").
A tool which can exist in paper form or on the computer which provides on-the-job instruction for a specific task.
A popular file format for photographs intended for display on web pages. The file extension is JPG.
Just In Time
Popular term to described the benefit of e-learning's accessibility. As in, "Our sales force can access our online, just-in-time training whenever they have a question about a product; no longer do they have to enroll in, and wait for, a classroom training program."
Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model refers to the four step training evaluation methodology developed by Donald Kirkpatrick in 1975. Level 1 refers to the students to reaction to the training (derisively called "smile sheets"). Level 2 refers to the measurement of actual learning (ie, knowledge transfer). Level 3 measures behavior change. Level 4 measures business results.
Learning Content Management System (LCMS)
A web-based administration program that facilitates the creation, storage and delivery of unique learning objects, as well the management of students, rosters, and assessments.
Learning Management System
A program that manages the administration of training. Typically includes functionality for course catalogs, launching courses, registering students, tracking student progress and assessments.
The clear and measurable statement of the behavior that must be observed after training is concluded in order to consider the training a success. According to Robert Mager's work, a learning objective contains a condition statement, a performance statement, and a criterion statement.
Learning Service Provider (LSP)
A third party company that hosts e-learning programs/content on it's own servers. Clients pay to access, or to "lease", these programs.
An individual's unique approach to learning based on strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. Though experts do not agree how to categorize learning styles, an example of a categorization system is one that separates learners into auditory learners, visual learners, and kinesthetic learners.
A unit of learning concerned with a specific skill. This term is sometimes interchanged with the terms section or module.
Local Area Network
A network of computers in a confined area, such as a room or a building. A LAN accessed with internet technologies can be considered an intranet. Typically LAN's operate at what is considered to be a high bandwidth speed.
Procedure performed by a user to declare that a specific system or application is going to be used. Log-in information is used by the computer to mark and track information specific to the user. It can also be used to declare to other users that an individual is presently active on a network.
A low-bandwidth connection, like a telephone line, will allow transmission rates in the range of kilobits per second and restrict the use of data intensive information like video and photo quality graphics.
Stands for "mobile learning" and refers to the usage of training programs on wireless devices like cell phones, PDAs, or other such devices.
Information that provides macro-level details about a course object, such as author, title, subject, date created, etc. Typically meta data is recorded in XML files and are read by LMS and LCMS systems.
The combination of different delivery media like books, audiotapes, videotapes and computer programs in one curriculum. Not to be confused with multimedia, where different media are integrated into one product.
A representation of an object, process, behavior or attitude used by a learner for comparison/contrast and duplication/avoidance. Both positive and negative examples can serve as models.
The activity of recreating the functions and aspects of a model. When a novice sales person watches an expert make a sales call, and then mimics the expert's tone and wording, he or she is exhibiting a modeling process.
A piece of hardware used by computers to transfer and receive information. The term is taken from the full title MOdulator-DEModulator.
A file format digitized video. Largely being replaced "RealVideo" and the Microsoft Media Player.
The integration of different media, including text, graphics, audio, video and animation, in one program. Also referred to as newmedia.
Stands for "Internet etiquette". Refers to the commonly accepted rules of behavior and communication in e-mails, chat rooms, bulletin boards, etc. For example, proper netiquette is to not use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS in messages because this is the equivalent of shouting.
The brand of Internet browser developed by Netscape. The second most popular browser after Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
A collection of computers that can exchange information and share resources.
An electronic bulletin board reserved for discussion of a specific topic.
Operation of a computer while not connected to a network.
Operation of a computer while connected to a network.
Synonym for e-learning.
A computer program that controls the components of a computer system and facilitates the operation of applications. Windows Me, Windows XP, Linux, and MacOS are common operating systems.
Refers to the Adobe Acrobat file format for online documents.
Opposite of andragogy. The art and science of how children learn.
One of the three required parts of a properly composed learning objective. Observable and measurable actions that should be demonstrated by the learner after the completion of training are detailed in the performance statement.
The performance capability the learner should acquire by completing a given training course. Synonymous with learning objective.
Learning activities centered on the acquisition of skills more fundamentally than knowledge. Performance-based instruction, also called criterion-referenced instruction, relies on learning objectives to communicate what is expected to be achieved and evaluation of task completion to determine success.
Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
A small, handheld computer currently limited in functionality (e.g., calendar, rolodex, to do list). PDA's are expanding in their capabilities to include wireless e-mail and Internet access, thus opening opportunities for mobile learning and support (m-learning).
Also known as an Alpha test or formative evaluation. A version of the training program is delivered to a sub-set of the target audience for an evaluation of its instructional effectiveness.
Term created by joining the words picture and cell, a pixel is the basic unit of measurement for picture displays. Computer screen size is often measured in pixels, with 640x480 and 800x600 being common measurements.
A small piece of software that works in conjunction with a web browsers to add additional functionality, like streaming audio or video.
The chip or chip set that performs the operations central to a computer's functioning.
A detailed set of instructions that make a computer able to perform some function. A program can be written by the user but the term is commonly used to refer to a specific pre-created software package, such as a word processor or spreadsheet.
Programmer Ready Materials
The individual components that are ready for assembly by a programmer or multimedia developer. Typically, PRMs include scripts, graphics, audio and video files.
A working model created to demonstrate crucial aspects of a program without creating a fully detailed program. Adding details and content incrementally to advancing stages of prototypes is one process for creating successful applications.
Instantaneous response to external events. A real time simulation, like a driving simulator, follows the pace of events in reality.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
The official document produced by an organization that requests vendor bids for specific products and services.
Reusable Learning Object (RLO)
A specific chunk of content and code that represents an assessment, exercise, instructional content, etc. In theory, RLO's can be used in many different courses.
Acronym for Sharable Content Object Reference Model. SCORM is a series of e-learning standards that specify ways to catalog, launch and track course objects.
The two types of search engines, the catalog and the crawler, both locate requested information on a web site or on the whole of the World Wide Web. A catalog engine compares the user request with a collection of data that it contains concerning web sites. A crawler engine scours the contents of sites themselves to find a match to a word or string of words.
A division of training concerned with one topic. Several sections commonly make up a lesson, but the term is sometimes used interchangeably with the term lesson or module.
A networked computer that is shared by many other computers on the network. Intranets use servers to hold, or "host", web pages.
A mode of instruction that relies on a representation in realistic form of the relevant aspects of a device, process, or situation.
Programs that allow a user to complete tasks with computers, such as word processing and graphics programs.
The informal term for non-IT related business skills. Examples include leadership, listening, negotiation, conflict management, etc.
A collection of frames created by a developer that details the sequence of scenes that will be represented to the user; a visual script.
Subject Matter Expert (SME)
The member of a project team who is most knowledgeable about the content being instructed upon. Frequently, the SME is an expert contracted or assigned by an organization to consult on the training being created.
An task or objective that must first be mastered in order to complete a terminal objective.
An evaluation performed after development used to measure the efficacy and return-on-investment of a training program.
A training program in which the student and instructor participate at the same time. For example, an instructor-led chat session is a form of synchronous training.
The audience defined in age, background, ability, and preferences, among other things, for which a given course of instruction is intended.
A process of examining a given job to define the discrete steps (tasks) that insure effective and efficient performance of the job's requirements.
Acronym for Technology-based Learning. Synonymous with TBT, or Technology-based Training.
Transmission control protocol/ Internet protocol. The set of rules and formats used when transmitting data between servers and clients over the Internet.
Technology-based Training (TBT)
The term encompassing all uses of a computer in support of learning, including but not limited to tutorials, simulations, collaborative learning environments, and performance support tools. Synonyms include CBL (computer-based learning), TBL (technology-based learning), CBE (computer-based education), CBT (computer-based training), e-learning, and any number of other variations.
A learning objective the student should be able to master after completing a specific lesson or part of a lesson.
The medium of delivering information via words to be read and interpreted by the learner. Compare to audio, video, graphic, and animation.
A mode of instruction that presents content, checks understanding or performance, and continues on to the next relevant selection of content. Tutorials may be linear or branched.
Uniform Resource Locator
More commonly referred to as URL. The standard address for a web page on the Internet or on an intranet.
An evaluation and measurement of a computer program's overall ease-of-use.
The components of a computer system employed by a user to communicate with the computer. These include the equipment, such as a keyboard or mouse, and the software environment, such as the desktop of Windows or the program lines of DOS.
A program prototype that includes the development of one section, usually a complete lesson, for the course.
The medium of delivering information created from the recording of real events to be processed simultaneously by a learner's eyes and ears. Compare to audio, text, graphics, and animation.
Weblog / Blog
"Blog" is short for "Web Log" and refers to short messages that are posted onto a web site by an author. Blogs are typically informal and personal messages, almost like daily diary entries.
Wireless Application Protocol
The technical specifications required to communicate and display content on wireless devices, such as WAP-enabled cell phones. Relevant for m-learning.
World Wide Web
The most popular component of the Internet which can be accessed with browser software. Offers interconnected screens containing text, graphics and occasionally other types of media.