Accessibility: A characteristic of technology that enables people with disabilities to use it. For example, accessible websites can be navigated by people with visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive impairments. Accessible design also benefits people with older or slower software and hardware. See Section 508.
Activity stream: Communication format used to share activities and actions taken in social web applications and services in a very transparent manner. Typically, this ends up being a listing of activities performed by an individual on a single website. Activities are generally text, but they can also include links to webpages, documents, pictures, audio, or video. Your Facebook News Feed is an example of an activity stream.
Adaptive: Adaptive training programs adapt themselves to the skill level or preferences of the learner.
ADDIE model: Classic model of an instructional system design process that includes the steps Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation from which the acronym is taken.
ADL (Advanced Distributed Learning): Initiative by the U.S. Department of Defense to achieve interoperability across computer and Internet-based learning courseware through the development of a common technical framework, which contains content in the form of reusable learning objects. See also SCORM and the ADL website.
ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line): A type of "ADSL" shape="rect">DSL that uses the majority of the bandwidth to transmit information to the user and a small part of the bandwidth to receive information from the user.
AI: See Artificial Intelligence.
AICC (Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee): An international association of technology-based training professionals that develops training guidelines for the aviation industry. AICC has and is developing standards for interoperability of computer-based and computer-managed training products across multiple industries. See the AICC website.
AJAX: An acronym (Asynchronous Java Script and XML) representing a way to create real-time Web applications.
Alerts: Tool to get a search engine to tell you when a new page is published on the web.
Alternate reality. See Augmented Reality.
Anonoblog: A blog site authored by a person or persons anonomously.
Amplitude: The amount of variety in a signal. Commonly thought of as the height of a wave.
Analog: A signal that's received in the same form in which it is transmitted, although the amplitude and frequency may vary.
Analytics: The discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data.
Andragogy: The opposite of pedagogy. A European term introduced into the English vocabulary by Malcom Knowles, it is the art and science of helping adults learn.
Animation: The rapid sequential presentation of slightly differing graphics to create the illusion of motion. Animation can have greater purpose in illustrating a process than a static visual, but it requires more information to be processed by the computer and thus higher bandwidth. Compare to audio, video, text, and graphic.
AoD (audio on demand): See CoD.
API (application program interface): 1) The set of tools used by a programmer to create a computer program. 2) system or application allowing for requests to be made of it by other programs and allows for data to be exchanged.
App: An application that performs a specific function on your computer or handheld device.
Applet: A small application.
Application: Computer software; also called a program. There are many types of software that fit into the category of application. Application software is distinct from other forms of software, such as operating system and utility software.
Artificial Intelligence: The range of technologies that allow computer systems to perform complex functions mirroring the workings of the human mind. Gathering and structuring knowledge, problem solving, and processing a natural language are activities possible by an artificially intelligent system.
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interexchange): A computer code in which characters such as letters and symbols are converted into numbers that the computer can understand.
ASP (Active Server Pages): A programming environment that combines elements of HTML and scripting. webpages built with ASP can change dynamically based on user input.
ASP (application service provider): A third-party organization that supplies software applications and/or software-related services over the Internet. ASPs allow companies to save money, time, and resources by outsourcing some or all of their information technology needs.
Assessment: The process used to systematically evaluate a learner's skill or knowledge level.
Assessment Item: A question or measurable activity used to determine whether the learner has mastered a learning objective.
Asset: 1) Intellectual property. See knowledge asset. 2) Hardware and software owned by an organization.
Asynchronous Learning: Learning in which interaction between instructors and students occurs intermittently with a time delay. Examples are self-paced courses taken via the Internet or CD-ROM, Q&A mentoring, online discussion groups, and email.
ATM (asynchronous transfer mode): A network technology for high-speed transfer of data. Packets of information are relayed in fixed sizes, enabling smooth transmission. ATM supports real-time voice and video as well as data and can reach speeds of up to 10 Gbps.
Audio bridge: A device used in audioconferencing that connects multiple telephone lines.
Audioconferencing: Voice-only connection of more than two sites using standard telephone lines. Audiographics: Computer-based technology that enables simultaneous transmission of voice, data, and graphic images across local telephone lines for instructor-learner interaction.
Authoring: Similar to "programming," developers assemble discrete media components using a tool called an authoring system.
Authoring tool: A software application or program used by trainers and instructional designers to create e-learning courseware. Types of authoring tools include instructionally focused authoring tools, Web authoring and programming tools, template-focused authoring tools, knowledge capture systems, and text and file creation tools.
Augmented reality (AR): An artificial environment created through the combination of real-world and computer-generated data.
Avatar: In online environments, a virtual digital image representing a person. In e-learning avatars usually represent the learners. The term comes from a Sanskrit word meaning an incarnation in human form.
Backbone: A primary communication path connecting multiple users.
Backchannel: A method for conducting a real-time, online conversation in conjunction with a live presentation. Popular at both public speaking events and in the classroom, the ‘backchannel’ allows people to communicate and share information about a presentation or a lecture while the event is occurring. Common tools used for backchannel communications are Twitter, SMS, and instant messaging programs. Blogs have also been used to curate backchannel content.
Badge: An image, usually squared and displayed on a blog, which signifies the blogger’s participation in an event, contest, or social movement.
Band: A range of frequencies between defined upper and lower limits.
Bandwidth: The information carrying capacity of a communication channel.
Baud: A measure of data transmission speed. At low speeds, baud is equal to the bits transmitted per second (bps). At higher speeds, one baud can represent more than one bit.
BBS (bulletin board system): An online community run on a host computer that users can dial or log into in order to post messages on public discussion boards, send and receive email, chat with other users, and upload and download files. BBSs are text-based and often related to the specific hobbies or interests of their creators.
Beaming: Using wireless communication to exchange data between two devices; see entries for infrared transmission and Bluetooth.
Benchmark: A standard of reference used for comparison.
Beta test: 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.
Big Data: IT-related term to define a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools. Challenges include capture, curation, storage, search, sharing, analysis, and visualization.
Binary code: A coding system made up of numbers expressed in base-2 notation, using only the digits 0 and 1.
Bit: The most basic unit of information on a computer. In accordance with binary code, each bit is designated as either a 1 or a 0; all other information stored on the computer is composed of combinations of bits.
Blended learning: Learning events that combine aspects of online and face-to-face instruction.
Bliki: A blog that can be edited by readers or an agreed group of collaborators – a combination of a blog and a wiki
Blog (weblog): An extension of the personal website consisting of regular journal-like entries posted on a webpage for public viewing. Blogs usually contain links to other websites along with the thoughts, comments, and personality of the blog's creator.
Blog storm: A blog storm occurs when bloggers in the blogosphere write thousands of posts about a subject which then forces the story into the mainstream media.
Blogroll: List of recommended blogs.
Bluetooth: A wireless networking technology using radio waves that enables users to send data and voice signals between electronic devices over short distances.
Bookmark: A webpage link stored in a browser for quick and easy retrieval.
Boardreader: An aggregator of message boards and forum discussions.
Bookmarking: Is saving the address of a website or item of content, either in your brower, or on a social bookmarking site like del.icio.us.
Bps (bits per second): A measurement of data transmission speed in a communications system; the number of bits transmitted or received each second.
Branching: A tutorial structure that progresses through material in a path that depends on the learner's response to questions. Used in building certain simulation models.
Bridge: A device linking two or more sections of a network.
Broadband: 1) In layperson's terms, high speed transmission of data. In this use, the specific speed that defines broadband is subjective; the word often implies any speed above what is commonly used at the time. 2) In technical terms, transmission over a network in which more than one signal is carried at a time. Broadband technology can transmit data, audio, and video all at once over long distances.
Broadcast: (noun) Television or radio signals designed to reach a mass audience. (Some websites offer original or redistributed broadcasts.)
(verb) 1) To transmit television or radio signals. 2) To email or fax a message to multiple recipients simultaneously; to transmit information simultaneously to everyone on a network.
Browser: A software application that displays World Wide Web pages originally written in the text-based HTML language in a user-friendly graphical format.
Business requirements: The conditions an e-learning solution should meet to align with the needs of such stakeholders as the content developer, subject matter expert, learner, manager, and training administrator.
Byte: A combination of 8 bits.
Cable modem: A modem that uses cable television's coaxial cables to transmit data at faster speeds than modems using telephone lines.
CAI (computer-assisted instruction): The use of a computer as a medium of instruction for tutorial, drill and practice, simulation, or games. CAI is used for both initial and remedial training, and typically does not require that a computer be connected to a network or provide links to learning resources outside of the course.
Case study: A scenario used to illustrate the application of a learning concept. May be either factual or hypothetical.
CBL (computer-based learning): See CBT.
CBT (computer-based training): An umbrella term for the use of computers in both instruction and management of the teaching and learning process. CAI (computer-assisted instruction) and CMI (computer-managed instruction) are included under the heading of CBT. Some people use the terms CBT and CAI interchangeably.
CD-ROM (compact disc read-only memory or compact disc read-only media): A computer storage medium similar to the audio CD that can hold more than 600 megabytes of read-only digital information.
Certification: 1) The awarding of a credential acknowledging that an individual has demonstrated proof of a minimum level of knowledge or competence, as defined by a professional standards organization. Professional certification can be used as a screening tool and verification of an individual's skills and knowledge. 2) Program that evaluates products or tools according to predetermined criteria.
Chat: Real-time text-based communication in a virtual environment. Chat can be used in e-learning for student questions, instructor feedback, or even group discussion.
Chat room: A virtual meeting space on the Internet, an intranet, or other network, used for real-time text discussions. Unlike one-to-oneInstant Messenger applications, chat rooms enable conversations among multiple people at once.
Chunk: (noun) A discrete portion of content, often consisting of several learning objects grouped together. (verb) To separate content into discrete portions or aggregate smaller content elements into customized configurations.
CLO (Chief Learning Officer): The executive with primary responsibility for strategic human capital development. The CLO ensures that all learning investments focus on accomplishing the organization's mission, strategy, and goals; provides a single point of accountability for those investments; develops the corporate learning strategy; creates a culture of continuous learning; fosters communities of practice; integrates training functions; drives cultural transformation; and measures the impact on organizational performance. The CLO increasingly reports to either the CEO or senior vice president of HR. He or she is to learning what the CFO and CIO are to finance and information technology.
Classroom training: See instructor-led training.
C-learning: See instructor-led training.
Cloud computing: Capability to access data from anywhere rather than being tied to a particular machine. Also called “the cloud.”
Cluster: Groupings of content with similar tags.
CMI (computer-managed instruction): The use of computer technology to oversee the learning process, including testing and record keeping.
CMS (content management system): A centralized software application or set of applications that facilitates and streamlines the process of designing, testing, approving, and posting e-learning content, usually on webpages.
Coaching: A process in which a more experienced person, the coach, provides a worker or workers with constructive advice and feedback with the goal of improving performance. (See also mentoring, which focuses on career development and advancement).
CoD (Content on demand): Delivery of an offering, packaged in a media format, anywhere, anytime via a network. Variants include audio on demand (AoD) and video on demand (VoD).
Codec (coder/decoder): Device used to convert analog signals to digital signals for transmission, and to reconvert signals upon reception at the remote site, while allowing for the signal to be compressed for less expensive transmission.
Collaboration technology: Software, platforms, or services that enable people at different locations to communicate and work with each other in a secure, self-contained environment. May include capabilities for document management, application sharing, presentation development and delivery, whiteboarding, chat, and more.
Common carrier: A government-regulated private company that furnishes the public with telecommunications services (for example, phone companies).
Community of Practice: See online community.
Competency management: A system used to evaluate skills, knowledge, and performance within an organization; spot gaps; and introduce training, compensation, and recruiting programs based on current or future needs.
Compliant (standards-compliant): E-learning that meets established standards of, and has received official approval from, an accrediting organization. See also conformant.
Compressed file: A computer file that has been reduced in size by a compression software program. The user must decompress these files before they can be viewed or used.
Compressed video: Video signals downsized to allow travel along a smaller carrier.
Conformant (standards-conformant): E-learning that meets the standards of an accrediting organization but that has not gone through the formal application process to be deemed compliant.
Connect time: The amount of time that a terminal or computer has been logged on to a computer or server for a particular session.
Connectivism: A theory of learning based on the premise that knowledge exists in the world rather than in the head of an individual. It uses a network with nodes and connections as a central metaphor for learning.
Content: Information captured digitally and imparted to learners. Formats for e-learning content include text, audio, video, animation, simulation, and more.
Convergence: A result of the digital era in which various types of digital information, such as text, audio, and video, and their delivery mechanisms--television, telecommunications, and consumer electronics--are combined together in new integrated forms. WebTV is an example of convergence between televisions and computer technology.
Cookie: Information stored on a user's computer after he or she visits a website. The cookie tracks data about that user but can be disabled in the browser.
Corporate university: A learning organization with a governance system that aligns all learning with the corporate or agency mission, strategy, and goals. The governance system typically includes a governing board consisting of the CEO and other senior executives and a chief learning officer (CLO) who has overall responsibility for managing the organization's investment in learning. CEOs of best-practice learning organizations leverage their corporate university to achieve performance goals, drive cultural transformation, reform and integrate training departments, and establish and sustain competitive advantage through learning.
Cost-benefit analysis: 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.
Courseware: Any type of instructional or educational course delivered via a software program or over the Internet.
Coursecasting: A form of transmission that enables students and the general public to download and listen to audio and video recordings of class lectures to their computers, iPods, and other MP3 players.
CPU (central processing unit): The part of the computer that contains the microprocessor, power supply, hard drive, and disk drives.
CRM (customer relationship management): Methodologies, software, and Internet capabilities that help a company identify and categorize customers and manage relationships with them.
Creative Commons: Is a not-for-profit organization and licensing system that offers creators the ability to fine-tune their copyright, spelling out the ways in which others may use their works
Crowdsourcing: Outsourcing tasks to a distributed group of people.
CSS (cascading style sheets): An HTML feature that enables webpage developers and users to specify the way a webpage appears when displayed in a browser, by applying a number of different style sheets to the page. Each style sheet controls a different design element or set of design elements.
Customer-focused e-learning: Technology-based learning programs offered by a company and targeted at their current and prospective customers. The intent is to increase brand loyalty among existing customers and attract new business.
Customization: Tailoring a consumer product, electronic or written medium to a user based on personal details or characteristics they provide. More recently, it has especially been applied in the context of the World Wide Web. See Personalization.
Cyberspace: The nebulous "place" where humans interact over computer networks; term coined by William Gibson in Neuromancer.
Dashboard: The administration area on your blog software that allows you to post, check traffic,
upload files, manage comments, and so forth.
Date-based archives: The archives of a blog site, organized by time-stamp. Almost every blog will have some form of time-stamp and many archives are listed along the sidebar. Some list in weekly, but most on a month-by-month basis
De facto standard: An e-learning specification that hasn't been officially established by an accrediting agency but that is accepted and used as a standard by a majority of practitioners.
Default: A setting that the computer system uses automatically, unless it is changed by the user.
Delicious (del.icio.us): A social bookmarking site that users to quickly store, organize (by tags), and share favorite webpages.
Delivery: Any method of transferring content to learners, including instructor-led training, web-based training, CD-ROM, books, and more.
Desktop videoconferencing: Videoconferencing on a personal computer.
Development: 1) Learning or other types of activities that prepare a person for additional job responsibilities and/or enable him to gain knowledge or skills. 2) The creation of training materials or courses, as in content development or e-learning development.
Dial up: To open a connection between a user's computer and another computer via a modem.
Digital: An electrical signal that varies in discrete steps in voltage, frequency, amplitude, locations, and so forth. Digital signals can be transmitted faster and more accurately than analog signals.
Digital Divide: The gap that exists between those who can afford technology and those who cannot.
Digital Natives: A person for whom digital technologies already existed when they were born, and hence has grown up with digital technology such as computers, the Internet, mobile phone.
Digg: A popular social news site that lets people discover and share content from anywhere on the web. Users submit links and stories and the community votes them up or down and comments on them.
Discussion boards: Forums on the Internet or an intranet where users can post messages for others to read.
Disk drive: The part of a computer that reads and writes data onto either a hard disk or an optical disk.
Distance education: Educational situation in which the instructor and students are separated by time, location, or both. Education or training courses are delivered to remote locations via synchronous or asynchronous means of instruction, including written correspondence, text, graphics, audio- and videotape, CD-ROM, online learning, audio- and videoconferencing, interactive TV, and FAX. Distance education does not preclude the use of the traditional classroom. The definition of distance education is broader than and entails the definition of e-learning.
Distance learning: The desired outcome of distance education. The two terms are often used interchangeably.
Download: (noun) A file that's transferred or copied to a user's computer from another connected individual computer, a computer network, a commercial online service, or the Internet. (verb) To transfer or copy a file to a user's computer from another connected individual computer, a computer network, a commercial online service, or the Internet.
Drupal: Is a free, open-source platform and content management system written in php. It is often used as a “back end” system that powers community features on many different types of sites, ranging from personal blogs to large corporate and political sites.
DS (Digital Signal): The rate and format of a digital signal, for example, DS-1 or DS-3. Often used synonymously with T, as in T1 or T3, although the T technically refers to the type of equipment.
DSL (digital subscriber line):
A broadband Internet access method that sends data over standard phone lines at speeds up to 7 Mbps. DSL is available to subscribers who live within a certain distance of the necessary router.
DVD (digital versatile disc): Optical disks that are the same size as CDs but are double-sided and have larger storage capacities.
DVI (digital video interactive): A format for recording digital video onto compact disk, allowing for compression and full-motion video.
eBook: An electronic version of a traditional printed book that can be downloaded from the Internet and read on your computer or handheld device.
Echo cancellation: The process of eliminating the acoustic echo in a videoconferencing room.
Ecosystem: A community and their environment functioning as a whole. The blogosphere can be viewed as an ecosystem
Ecto: A stand-alone publishing application, allowing users to compose posts offline
Edublog: A blog site focused on education.
EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation): The leading civil liberties group defending your rights in the digital world.
E-learning (electronic learning): Term covering a wide set of applications and processes, such as web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration. It includes the delivery of content via Internet, intranet/extranet (LAN/WAN), audio- and videotape, satellite broadcast, interactive TV, CD-ROM, and more.
E-learning 2.0: Refer to new ways of thinking about e-learning inspired by the emergence of Web 2.0.
Email (electronic mail): Messages sent from one computer user to another.
Email list: A form of one-to-many communication using email; a software program for automating mailing lists and discussion groups on a computer network.
Embedding: The act of adding code to a website so that a video or photo can be displayed while it’s being hosed at another site. Many users now watch embedded YouTube videos or see Flickr photos on blogs rather than on the original site.
End-to-end solution: A marketing term used by large e-learning suppliers; meant to imply that their products and services will handle all aspects of e-learning.
End user: The person for whom a particular technology is designed; the individual who uses the technology for its designated purpose. In e-learning, the end user is usually the student.
Enterprise-wide e-learning: E-learning that's intended for all or most employees within a company. It's often part of a strategic change of direction with a very short timeline, but is also used to support a core process such as sales.
EPSS (electronic performance support system): 1) A computer application that's linked directly to another application to train or guide workers through completing a task in the target application. 2) More generally, a computer or other device that gives workers information or resources to help them accomplish a task or achieve performance requirements.
Ergonomics: Design principles relating to the comfort, efficiency, and safety of users.
ERP (enterprise resource planning): A set of activities supported by application software that helps a company manage such core parts of its business as product planning, parts purchasing, inventory management, order tracking, and customer service. Can also include modules for finance and HR activities. The deployment of an ERP system can involve considerable business process analysis, employee retraining, and new work procedures.
EPUB: Free and open e-book standard by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF).
Ethernet: A type of local area network, originally developed at Xerox, in which computers communicate through radio frequency signals sent over coaxial cable.
Evaluation: Any systematic method for gathering information about the impact and effectiveness of a learning offering. Results of the measurements can be used to improve the offering, determine whether the learning objectives have been achieved, and assess the value of the offering to the organization.
Extensibility: The ability to expand and adapt an e-learning application or infrastructure by adding features, components, or services to a core set of capabilities.
Extranet: A local-area network (LAN) or wide-area network (WAN) using TCP/IP, HTML, SMTP, and other open Internet-based standards to transport information. An extranet is only available to people inside and certain people outside an organization, as determined by the organization.
4G: Fourth-generation mobile telephone technology. When implemented, it will feature high-speed mobile wireless access with a very high data transmission speed, of the same order of magnitude as a local area network connection (10 Mbits/s and up).
F2F (face-to-face): Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment.
Facebook: A social networking service in which users create a personal profile, add other users as "friend," and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Users may join common-interest user groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other characteristics, and categorize their friends into lists such as "People From Work" or "Close Friends."
Facilitative tools: Electronic features used to deliver online courses. Examples include mailing lists, chat programs, streaming audio, streaming video, and webpages.
Facilitator: The online course instructor who aids learning in the online, student-centered environment.
False-starter: A person who registers for but does not complete an e-learning course.
FAQ (frequently asked questions): An informational list, in question and answer format, of common inquiries from users about a topic or application and standard responses. FAQs appear on websites and discussion boards and within desktop applications.
Fax (facsimile): (noun) The print-out of information transmitted via text and/or graphic images over standard telephone lines. (verb) To transmit information via text and/or graphic images over standard telephone lines.
Feed: Content served at regular intervals eg. the latest articles from a blog or social actions by your friends
Feed reader: An aggregator of content, subscribed to by the user, so that specific content or search results arrives in their “reader.”
Feedback: Communication between the instructor or system and the learner resulting from an action or process.
Fiber-optic cable: Glass fiber used for laser transmission of video, audio, and/or data. Fiber-optic cable has a much greater bandwidth capacity than conventional cable or copper wire.
File server: A computer on a network with the primary task of storing files that can be shared by network users.
Findability: Refers to being locatable. Though tied closely with Information Architecture on the web, particularly within one site, findability has also become a popular term in creating a findable, locatable and navigable presence on and across the web and social networking
Firewall: A technology that gives users access to the Internet while retaining internal network security.
FireWire: Apple Computer's trademarked name for its high-speed serial bus supporting the IEEE 1394 data transfer standard. FireWire enables the connection of up to 63 devices and transfers data at a speed of up to 400 mbps.
Flash: Software by Adobe that enables designers to use simple vector graphics to create computer animations, which can be viewed by any browser with the correct plug-in. Flash content is displayed through Flash Player, which will be discontinued for mobile devices in order for Adobe to focus its efforts on HTML5.
Flash mob: A group of individuals who gather and disperse with little notice for a specific purpose through text messages, social media, or viral emails.
Flickr: Premier photo sharing and hosting site. Its members have uploaded more than 3 billion photos.
Floppy disk (floppy diskette): "floppydisk" shape="rect">A data storage medium used with a personal computer. Current floppy disks can store up to 1.44 MB of data and are usually 3 1/2 inches in size. Older floppy disks were 5 and ¼ inches. Also spelled as floppy disc.
Footprint: 1) The regions to which a communications satellite can transmit. 2) The floor or desk surface space occupied by a piece of computer equipment.
Formal learning: Traditional learning; class, a seminar, a self-study course.
Freeware: Software that is available for use at no cost or for an optional fee, but usually with one or more restricted usage rights.
Frequency: The space between waves in a signal; the amount of time between waves passing a stationary point.
FP (File Transfer Protocol): A protocol that enables a user to move files from a distant computer to a local computer using a network like the Internet.
Full-motion video: A signal that allows the transmission of the complete action taking place at the origination site.
Fully interactive video (two-way interactive video): Two sites interacting with audio and video as if they were colocated.
GB (gigabyte): Just over one billion bytes. 1,000 megabytes.
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format): The ile format developed by CompuServe to store images. GIFs support 256 colors and are often used for web images because they compress well.
Geotagging: Process of adding location-based metadata to media such as photos, video, or online maps.
Globalization: 1) The tailoring of an offering to include clear, grammatically correct text that eliminates slang, gender references, and cultural or generational idioms. 2) The process of deploying a single system worldwide that meets a variety of needs. 3) Integrating several working systems into one.
GPS (Global Positioning System): A worldwide satellite navigational system generally used for navigation and location determination.
Granularity: The degree of detail something can be broken down into, or the number of discrete components making up any type of system. In e-learning, granularity is defined by the number of content chunks.
Grok: To reach total understanding of a subject. From Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.
Groundswell: A social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations.
Groups: Collections of individuals with some sense of unity through their activities, interests, or values.
GSM: Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), a 2G technology, is the de facto European standard for digital cellular telephone service, and it is also available in the Americas. GSM carriers include: AT&T, T-Mobile, SunCom and Rogers.
GUI (graphical user interface): A computer interface using icons or pictures. For example, Windows.
Handheld device: Small, hand-held computing device, typically having a display screen with touch input and/or a miniature keyboard and weighing less than 2 pounds.
Hard disk: A computer’s main data storage component, usually housed within the CPU.
Hard drive: A disk drive that reads a computer's hard disk.
Hard skills: Technical skills. See also soft skills.
Hashtag: Community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to tweets. Users add them in-line to Twitter posts by prefixing a word with a hash symbol (or number sign).
HDTV (high-definition TV): A television signal that has over five times the resolution of standard television and requires extraordinary bandwidth.
Homepage: A document that has an address (URL) on the World Wide Web, is maintained by a person or an organization, and contains pointers to other pieces of information.
Host: (noun) A computer connected to a network. (verb) To store and manage another company's technology and/or content on your own servers.
Hotspot: A small personal device that creates a small area of Wi-Fi coverage allowing nearby Wi-Fi devices to connect to the Internet. In other words, the device serves as a link between nearby Wi-Fi devices and a cellular data network.
Hotsync: The primary method for transferring data and programs between a mobile device and a PC.
HPI (human performance improvement): A systematic approach to improving individual and organizational performance, which uses a wide range of solutions that are drawn from many other disciplines including, total quality management, process improvement, behavioral psychology, instructional systems design, organizational development, and human resources management.
HRD (human resource development): 1) A term coined by Leonard Nadler to describe the organized learning experiences, such as training, education, and development, offered by employers within a specific timeframe to improve employee performance or personal growth. 2) Another name for the field and profession sometimes called training or training and development.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): The programming language used to create documents for display on the World Wide Web.
HTML5: The latest iteration of that markup language, and includes new features, improvements to existing features, and scripting-based APIs. It is designed to work on just about every platform and has been adopted by most mobile phone browsers.
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): The set of rules and standards that govern how information is transmitted on the World Wide Web.
Hub: A network device that connects communication lines together.
Hypermedia: Applications or documents that contain dynamic links to other media, such as audio, video, or graphics files.
Hypertext: A system for retrieving information from servers on the Internet using World Wide Web client software. Hypertext consists of key words or phrases in a WWW page that are linked electronically to other webpages.
: 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.
IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers): An organization whose learning technology standards committee is working to develop technical standards, recommended practices, and guides for computer implementations of education and training systems.
ILS (integrated learning system): A complete software, hardware, and network system used for instruction. In addition to providing curriculum and lessons organized by level, an ILS usually includes a number of tools such as assessments, record keeping, report writing, and user information files that help to identify learning needs, monitor progress, and maintain student records.
ILT (instructor-led training): Usually refers to traditional classroom training, in which an instructor teaches a course to a room of learners. The term is used synonymously with on-site training and classroom training (c-learning).
IMS (Instructional Management System) Global Learning Consortium: Coalition of government organizations dedicated to defining and distributing open architecture interoperability specifications for e-learning products. See the .
Identity: The general term for ensuring the correct representation of a particular individual on a web application.
Influencer: A person specialized in a specific subject matter and highly recognized in an online community that has the ability to sway others’ thoughts.
Informal learning: Learning that is not formally defined; learning at home, work, and throughout society, such as over the water cooler or online through social media tools.
Information architecture: A description or design specification for how information should be treated and organized. In web design, the term describes the the organization of online content into categories and the creation of an interface for displaying those categories.
Infrastructure: The underlying mechanism or framework of a system. In e-learning, the infrastructure includes the means by which voice, video, and data can be transferred from one site to another and be processed.
Instant messenger (IM): Software that lists users' selected "buddies" (friends, family, co-workers, and so forth) who are online and enables users to send short text messages back and forth to them. Some instant messenger programs also include voice chat, file transfer, and other applications.
Instructional designer (ID): An individual who applies a systematic methodology based on instructional theory to create content for learning.
Integration: Combining hardware, software (and, in e-learning, content) components together to work as an interoperable system. The process of integration may also include front-end planning and strategy.
Intellectual property: An idea, invention, formula, literary work, presentation, or other knowledge assett owned by an organization or individual. Intellectual property can be protected by patents, trademarks, service marks, and/or copyrights.
Interactive media: Allows for a two-way interaction or exchange of information.
Internet: An international network first used to connect education and research networks, begun by the U.S. government. The Internet now provides communication and application services to an international base of businesses, consumers, educational institutions, governments, and research organizations.
Internet-based training: Training delivered primarily by TCP/IP network technologies such as email, newsgroups, proprietary applications, and so forth. Although the term is often used synonymously with web-based training, Internet-based training is not necessarily delivered over the World Wide Web, and may not use the HTTP and HTML technologies that make web-based training possible.
Internet Explorer: Browser software that enables users to view webpages.
Interoperability: The ability of hardware or software components to work together effectively.
Intranet: A LAN or WAN that's owned by a company and is only accessible to people working internally. It is protected from outside intrusion by a combination of firewalls and other security measures.
IP (Internet Protocol): The international standard for addressing and sending data via the Internet.
IP multicast: Using the Internet Protocol, delivery of a learning event over a network from a single source to multiple participants.
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network): A telecommunications standard enabling communications channels to carry voice, video, and data simultaneously.
ISO (International Organization for Standardization): An international federation of national standards bodies. See the .
ISP (Internet service provider): A hosting company that provides end user access to such Internet services as email, the World Wide Web, FTP, newsgroups, and so forth.
IT (information technology): The industry or discipline involving the collection, dissemination, and management of data, typically through the use of computers.
ITFS (Instructional Television Fixed Service): Microwave-based, high-frequency television used in educational program delivery.
IT training: A combination of desktop training and information systems and technical training. Includes training in areas such as system infrastructure software, application software, and application development tools.
Java: An object-oriented programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. Java isn't dependent on specific hardware and can be launched from within an HTML document or stand-alone.
Java applet: A small Java program launched through a browser.
JDBC (Java Database Connectivity): An application program interface used to connect programs written in Java to the data in databases.
Job aid: Any simple tool that helps a worker do his or her job (for example, a flow chart to follow when answering a customer service call). Job aids generally provide quick reference information rather than in-depth training.
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): 1) A format for image compression that enables the user to weigh image quality against file size. JPEG is a lossy compression method, meaning that when the image is compressed, the file is made smaller by discarding some of its information. The more the file is compressed, the more information is discarded, and the more the image quality is degraded. 2) The subgroup of the responsible for setting the standards for the image file format that bears its name.
jQuery Mobile: Spun off from jQuery, the jQuery Mobile framework allows developers to create one Web app that’s accessible across all smartphones and tablets.
Just-in-time: Characteristic of e-learning in which learners are able to access the information they need exactly when they need it.
KB (kilobyte): 1,024 bytes.
Kbps (Kilobits per second): Measurement of data transmission speed in a communication system. The number of kilobits transmitted or received each second.
KMS (knowledge management system): See knowledge management.
Knowledge asset: Intellectual content possessed by an organization. Any piece of information that a worker at a company knows, from customer names to how to fix a piece of machinery, can be considered a knowledge asset. Assets can be codified in a variety of formats, such as PowerPoint slides, Word documents, audio and video files, and so forth.
Knowledge base: A specialized database that stores knowledge assets.
Knowledge management: The process of capturing, organizing, and storing information and experiences of workers and groups within an organization and making it available to others. By collecting those artifacts in a central or distributed electronic environment (often in a database called a knowledge base), KM aims to help a company gain competitive advantage.
LAN (local-area network): A group of personal computers and/or other devices, such as printers or servers, that are located in a relatively limited area, such as an office, and can communicate and share information with each other.
LCMS (learning content management system): A software application (or set of applications) that manages the creation, storage, use, and reuse of learning content. LCMSs often store content in granular forms such as learning objects.
Learncasting: Online educational or instructional content, which may be delivered via a podcast or a syndication feed.
Learning: A cognitive and/or physical process in which a person assimilates information and temporarily or permanently acquires or improves skills, knowledge, behaviors, and/or attitudes.
Learning environment: The physical or virtual setting in which learning takes place.
Learning object: A reusable, media-independent collection of information used as a modular building block for e-learning content. Learning objects are most effective when organized by a meta data classification system and stored in a data repository such as an LCMS.
Learning objective: A statement establishing a measurable behavioral outcome, used as an advanced organizer to indicate how the learner's acquisition of skills and knowledge is being measured.
Learning platforms: Internal or external sites often organized around tightly focused topics, which contain technologies (ranging from chat rooms to groupware) that enable users to submit and retrieve information.
Learning portal: Any website that offers learners or organizations consolidated access to learning and training resources from multiple sources. Operators of learning portals are also called content aggregators, distributors, or hosts.
Learning solution: 1) Any combination of technology and methodology that delivers learning. 2) Software and/or hardware products that suppliers tout as answers to businesses' training needs.
Learning space: An imaginary geography in which the learning enterprise flourishes. Mapped by market analysts and mined by consultants, this territory is a recent annexation to the business landscape.
Lifecasting: Around-the-clock broadcast of events in a person’s life through digital media.
Link: The result of HTML markup signifying to a browser that data within a document will automatically connect with either nested data or an outside source. Used in the design of hypertext.
LinkedIn: Social networking website used for people in professional occupations to network.
LISTSERV: Email list management software developed by L-Soft International. See also email list.
LMS (learning management system): Software that automates the administration of training. The LMS registers users, tracks courses in a catalog, records data from learners; and provides reports to management. An LMS is typically designed to handle courses by multiple publishers and providers. It usually doesn't include its own authoring capabilities; instead, it focuses on managing courses created by a variety of other sources.
Localization: The tailoring of an offering to meet the specific needs of a geographic area, product, or target audience.
Log in/Log on: To establish a connection over a network or modem with a remote computer to retrieve or exchange information.
Log off: To terminate a connection to a computer or network.
LRN: Microsoft's Learning Resource Interchange, a format that gives content creators a standard way to identify, share, update, and create online content and courseware. LRN is the first commercial application of the IMS Content Packaging Specification.
LSP (learning service provider): A specialized ASP offering learning management and training delivery software on a hosted or rental basis.
LTE (or 4G): Long Term Evolution (LTE) could allow data transfer rates to and from mobile devices between 15 and 100 times faster than 3G networks.
Lurking: Reading the postings in a discussion forum or on a listserv but not contributing to the discussion.
M-learning (mobile learning): Learning that takes place via such wireless devices as cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), or laptop computers.
Markup: Text or codes added to a document to convey information about it. Usually used to formulate a document's layout or create links to other documents or information servers. HTML is a common form of markup.
Mashup: Combining two or more web services to create something new, such as combining Twitter posts with Google maps to create TwitterVision.
MB (megabyte): 1,048,576 bytes, often generically applied to 1,000,000 bytes as well.
Mbps (megabits per second): A measurement of data transmission speed in a communication system; the number of megabits transmitted or received each second.
Mentoring: A career development process in which less experienced workers are matched with more experienced colleagues for guidance. Mentoring can occur either through formal programs or informally as required and may be delivered in-person or by using various media.
Metadata: Information about content that enables it to be stored in and retrieved from a database.
Metatag: An HTML tag identifying the contents of a website. Information commonly found in the metatag includes copyright info, key words for search engines, and formatting descriptions of the page.
Metaverse: A fictional virtual world where humans, as avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional space that uses the metaphor of the real world. The word metaverse is a compound of the words "meta" and "universe."
Microblogging: Is the act of broadcasting short messages to other subscribers of a Web service. On Twitter, entries are limited to 140 characters, and applications like Plurk and Jaiku take a similar approach with sharing bite-size media.
Microwave: Electromagnetic waves that travel in a straight line and are used to and from satellites and for short distances up to 30 miles.
MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions): Specification for formatting non-ASCII messages so that they can be sent over the Internet. There are many predefined MIME types, such as GIF graphics files and PostScript files.
MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game): A genre of rol-playing video games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual game world.
MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service): Standard for telephony messaging systems that allows sending messages that include multimedia objects (images, audio, video, rich text).
Mobilecasting: The automatic delivery of podcasts into a mobile device.
Mindmap: A diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing.
Moblogging: Posting to your blog via your mobile phone.
Modem: A device that enables computers to interact with each other via telephone lines by converting digital signals to analog for transmitting and back to digital for receiving.
Modular: E-learning that's made up of standardized units that can be separated from each other and rearranged or reused.
MOO (MUD, object oriented): A MUD created with an object-oriented programming language.
MOOC (massive open online course): A type of online course aimed at large-scale participation and open access via the web. MOOCs are a recent development in the area of distance education, and a progression of the kind of open education ideals suggested by open educational resources. MOOCs typically do not offer credits awarded to paying students at schools, but assessment of learning may be done for certification.
Moodle: A free source e-learning software platform, also known as a learning management system.
MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group): 1) A high-quality video file format that uses compression to keep file sizes relatively small. 2) The subgroup of the responsible for setting the standards for this format.
MP3: A format for music file compression that enables users to download music over the Internet.
MUD (multi-user dimension or multi-user domain): A simulated virtual world in which users interact with each other, often by taking on character identities called avatars. Originally created for game-playing, MUDs are growing in popularity for online learning and virtual community-building.
Multicasting: The transmission of information to more than one recipient. For example, sending an email message to a list of people. Teleconferencing and videoconferencing can also use multicasting. See also broadcasting and unicasting.
Multimedia: Encompasses interactive text, images, sound, and color. Multimedia can be anything from a simple PowerPoint slide slow to a complex interactive simulation.
Narrowband: 1) In data transmission, a limited range of frequencies. 2) More specifically, a network in which data transmission speeds range from 50 Bps to 64 Kbps. See also broadband.
Native app: An application that was written specifically to run on a specific device or operating system versus one written to be delivered via a browser on the web.
Navigation: 1) Moving from webpage to webpage on the World Wide Web. 2) Moving through the pages of an online site that may not be part of the WWW, including an intranet site or an online course.
Nesting: Placing documents within other documents. Allows a user to access material in a nonlinear fashion, the primary requirement for developing hypertext.
Net: Common nickname for the Internet.
Netiquette: Online manners. The rules of conduct for online or Internet users.
Network: Two or more computers that are connected so users can share files and devices (for example, printers, servers, and storage devices).
News reader: Engine that gathers the news from multiple blogs or news sites via RSS feeds selected by the user, allowing them to access all their news from a single site or program.
Newsgroup: An online discussion hosted on the Usenet network. Sometimes also called a forum.
NFC: Near field communication, or NFC, is a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a distance of 4 cm or less. NFC always involves an initiator and a target; the initiator actively generates an RF field that can power a passive target. This enables NFC targets to take very simple form factors such as tags, stickers, key fobs, or cards that do not require batteries. NFC peer-tp-peer communication is also possible.
NoFollow: An HTML attribute instructing search engines to not allow a hyperlink to a web page to be influenced in ranking by that link. Originally implemented to combat certain types of search-engine spam.
Notification: A low importance message either generated automatically or as a result of a friend’s action
Object-oriented programming: A type of computer programming that allows programmers to define the following as objects: data types, data structures, and the functions or operations that are to be applied to the objects. Object-oriented programming languages include Java, Smalltalk, and C++.
Objective-C: A programming language that is a superset of C allowing for Object Oriented Programing (OOP). Objective –C is used to write native applications for iOS devices.
ODBC (Open Database Connectivity): An application program interface to access information from numerous types of databases, including Access, dbase, DB2, and so forth.
Offline: The state in which a computer is in operation while not connected to a network.
Online: The state in which a computer is connected to another computer or server via a network. A computer communicating with another computer.
Online community: A meeting place on the Internet for people who share common interests and needs. Online communities can be open to all or be by membership only and may or may not be moderated.
Online learning: Learning delivered by web-based or Internet-based technologies. See web-based training and Internet-based training.
Online training: Web- or Internet-based training.
OpenID: A single sign-on system that allows Internet users to log on to many different sites using a single digital identity.
Open media: Refers to video, audio, text and other media that can be freely shared.
OpenSocial: A technology for deploying the same application across multiple platforms (MySpace, Friendster, Hi5 but not Facebook or LinkedIn).
Open source software: 1) Generally, software for which the original program instructions, the source code, is made available so that users can access, modify, and redistribute it. The Linux operating system is an example of open source software. 2) Software that meets each of nine requirements listed by the non-profit in its .
Open video: With the release of HTML5, publishers will be able to publish video that can be viewed directly in web browsers rather than through a proprietary player.
Origination site: The location from which a teleconference originates.
OS: An operating system (OS) is software, consisting of programs and data, that runs on computers and manages hardware resources and provides common services for efficient execution of various application software.
Packet: A bundle of data transmitted over a network. Packets have no set size; they can range from one character to hundreds of characters.
Page turner: A derogatory term for e-learning that offers little to no graphics or interaction, instead comprising mainly pages of text.
PDA (personal digital assistant): Handheld computer device used to organize personal information such as contacts, schedules, and so forth. Data can usually be transferred to a desktop computer by cable or wireless transmission.
PDF (portable document format): File format developed by Adobe Systems to enable users of any hardware or software platform to view documents exactly as they were created--with fonts, images, links, and layouts as they were originally designed.
Pedagogy: Opposite of andragogy. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction.
Peer-to-peer network (P2P): A communications network that enables users to connect their computers and share files directly with other users, without having to go through a centralized server. Groove is an example of an application that runs on a peer-to-peer network.
Permalinks: Are the permanent URLs to your individual weblog posts, as well as categories and other lists of weblog postings.
Personalization: Tailoring Web content to an individual user. Can be accomplished by a user entering preferences or by a computer guessing about the user's preferences.
Pixel (Picture Element): Tiny dots that make up a computer image. The more pixels a computer monitor can display, the better the image resolution and quality. On a color monitor, every pixel is composed of a red, a green, and a blue dot that are small enough to appear as a single entity.
Plug-and-play: The ability of a personal computer's operating system to recognize and install--with little to no intervention by the user--new peripheral devices that are added to the computer. Also spelled plug-n-play or plug 'n' play.
Plugfest: A biannual event sponsored by the Advanced Distributed Learning Network that brings together early adopters of the SCORM specifications to validate and document their process in meeting requirements for reuse, adaptability, interoperability, cost-effectiveness, and global access.
Plug-in: An accessory program that adds capabilities to the main program. Used on webpages to display multimedia content.
PNG (Portable Network Graphics): The patent-free graphics compression format developed by Macromedia expected to replace GIF. PNG offers advanced graphics features such as 48-bit color.
Podcast: A series of digital-media files which are distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and computers. The term podcast, like broadcast, can refer either to the series of content itself or to the method by which it is syndicated; the latter is also called podcasting. The term derives from the words "iPod" and "broadcast;" the Apple iPod being the brand of portable media player for which the first podcasting scripts were developed.
Podsafe: A term created in the podcasting community to refer to any work that allows the legal use of the work in podcasting, regardless of restrictions the same work might have in radio, television, or print media.
Point-to-multipoint: Transmission between multiple locations using a bridge.
Point-to-point: Transmission between two locations.
POP (Post Office Protocol): The set of rules and standards that govern the retrieval of email messages from a mail server.
Portal: A website that acts as a doorway to the Internet or a portion of the Internet, targeted towards one particular subject. Also see learning portal.
Post: To place a message in a public message forum. Also, to place an HTML page on the World Wide Web.
Power users: Advanced, sophisticated users of technology (usually a computer application or an operating system) who know more than just the basics needed to operate it.
PPP: A software package that enables a user to connect directly to the Internet over a telephone line.
Practice item: 1) A question or learning activity that serves as an informal validation and reinforcement of instruction. 2) A sample question that precedes a test, designed to ensure that the learner understands the mechanics of the testing system.
Practices: A set of methods or procedures to be followed, as in best practices or standard practices. In e-learning, the methods used to communicate the content to the learner.
Prescriptive learning: A process in which only coursework that matches a learner's identified skill and knowledge gaps is offered to him or her, with the goal of making the learning experience more meaningful, efficient, and cost-effective.
Program: See application.
Projection system: A device for showing video, television, or computer images on a large screen.
Protocol: A formal set of standards, rules, or formats for exchanging data that assures uniformity between computers and applications.
Pull technology: In reference to the Internet or other online services, the technology whereby people use software such as a Web browser to locate and "pull down" information for themselves. See also push technology.
Push technology: In reference to the Internet or other online services, the technology whereby information is sent directly to a user's computer. See also pull technology.
QR (Quick Response): A two-dimensional barcode which a camera phone equipped with the correct reader software can scan to provide information for the user.
Quantcast: Measurement used to quantify the amount of traffic a URL receives, as well as data about the readership (demographics, psychographics, and so forth).
RAM (random-access memory): Temporary storage built into a computer system that functions as a "workspace" for data and program instructions.
Raster graphic: A computer image made up of a collection of dots. Can become ragged or otherwise distorted when the image is enlarged or shrunk. See also vector graphic.
Real-time communication: Communication in which information is received at (or nearly at) the instant it's sent. Real-time communication is a characteristic of synchronous learning.
Receive site: A location that can receive transmissions from another site for distance learning.
Repurpose: To reuse content by revising or restructuring it for a different purpose than it was originally intended or in a different way.
Resolution: The clarity of the image on the video display screen.
Reusable: E-learning content that can be transferred to various infrastructures or delivery mechanisms, usually without changes.
Retention loop: The application dynamic that encourages me to return regularly to an application.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification): A wireless information-transmission technology set to take the place of bar codes. A tag is placed on the object and then read by an antenna and transceiver. The object does not need to be in the same line of sight as the transceiver, as products with bar codes do, and the transceiver can function over greater distances than bar code readers.
RFP (request for proposal): A document produced by a company seeking goods or services and distributed to prospective suppliers. Suppliers then provide proposals based on the criteria specified within the RFP.
RIA (rich internet applications): Web applications delivered via a browser plug-in such as Adobe Flash, Java, or Microsoft Silverlight.
RIO (reusable information object): A collection of content, practice, and assessment items assembled around a single learning objective. RIOs are built from templates based on whether the goal is to communicate a concept, fact, process, principle, or procedure. (Pronounced "REE-O")
RLO (reusable learning object): A collection of RIOs, overview, summary, and assessments that supports a specific learning objective. (Pronounced "R-L-O").
ROI (return on investment): Generally, a ratio of the benefit or profit received from a given investment to the cost of the investment itself. In e-learning, ROI is most often calculated by comparing the tangible results of training (for example, an increase in units produced or a decrease in error rate) to the cost of providing the training.
Role play: (noun) A training technique in which learners act out characters in order to try out behaviors, practice interactions, communicate for a desired outcome, and/or solve a dynamic problem. Role plays can reinforce learning and help people apply new information, skills, and techniques. (verb) To participate in a role play.
RSS: A family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines, and podcasts in a standardized format. An RSS document contains either a summary of content from an associated web site or the full text. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with web sites in an automated manner that can be piped into special programs or filtered displays.
Saas (Software-as-a-Service): A model of software deployment where an application is hosted as a service provided to customers across the Internet. By eliminating the need to install and run the application on the customer's own computer, SaaS alleviates the customer's burden of software maintenance, ongoing operation, and support.
Satellite TV: Video and audio signals relayed via a communication device that orbits around the earth.
Scalability: The degree to which a computer application or component can be expanded in size, volume, or number of users served and continue to function properly.
Scanner: A device that converts a printed page or image into an digital representation that can be viewed and manipulated on a computer.
SDK: A software development kit (SDK or devkit) is typically a set of development tools that allows for the creation of application for a certain software package, software frameworks, hardware platform, computer system video game console, operating system, or similar platform. It may be as simple as an application programming interface (API) in the form of some files to interface to a particular programming language or include sophisticated hardware to communicate with a certain embedded system.
Schema: 1) A relatively simple textual description or representation of the internal structure of a database, including table names, element names, and relationships between elements. 2) One of several new entities that define the structure and content parameters for XML documents.
SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model): A set of specifications that, when applied to course content, produces small, reusable learning objects. A result of the Department of Defense's Advance Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative, SCORM-compliant courseware elements can be easily merged with other compliant elements to produce a highly modular repository of training materials.
Screen reader: Computer software that speaks text on the screen. Often used by individuals who are visually impaired.
Screencast: A video that captures what takes place on a computer screen, usually accompanied by audio narration.
Screenshot: A picture of a computer display that shows the display at a given point in time. Also called a screen capture. Annotated screenshots are often used in software manuals and training programs.
Script: A program or set of instructions not carried out by the computer processor but by another program. Code is interpreted at run time rather than being stored in executable format.
Scripting language: See Script.
Scroll: To move text and images on a computer screen in a constant direction--down, up, right, or left.
Seamless technology: Technology that's easy to use, intuitive in nature, and isn't the focus of the learning experience. Also called transparent technology.
Second Life: An Internet-based virtual world launched in 2003, developed by Linden Research, Inc (commonly referred to as Linden Lab), which came to international attention via mainstream news media in late 2006 and early 2007. A downloadable client program called the Second Life Viewer enables its users, called "Residents", to interact with each other through motional avatars, providing an advanced level of a social network service combined with general aspects of metaverse.
Section 508: The section of the 1998 Rehabilitation Act that states that all electronic and information technology procured, used, or developed by the federal government after June 25, 2001, must be accessible to people with disabilities. Affected technology includes hardware such as copiers, fax machines, telephones, and other electronic devices as well as application software and websites. See .
Self-assessment: The process by which the learner determines his or her personal level of knowledge and skills.
Self-paced learning: An offering in which the learner determines the pace and timing of content delivery.
Semantic Web: A concept proposed by World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee. States that the Web can be made more useful by using methods such as content tags to enable computers to understand what they're displaying and to communicate effectively with each other. That, says Berners-Lee, will increase users' ability to find the information they see.
Serial bus: A channel through which information flows, one bit at a time, between two or more devices in or connected to a computer. A bus typically has multiple points of access through which devices can attach to it.
Serial port: A connection point for peripheral devices to be attached to a computer, through which data transmission occurs one bit at a time.
Serious games: A software application developed with game technology and game design principles for a primary purpose of learning.
Server: A computer with a special service function on a network, generally to receive and connect incoming information traffic.
SharePoint: A web application platform developed by Microsoft associated with intranet content management and document management.
Simulations: Highly interactive applications that allow the learner to model or role-play in a scenario. Simulations enable the learner to practice skills or behaviors in a risk-free environment.
Skill gap analysis: Compares a person's skills to the skills required for the job to which they have been, or will be, assigned. A simple skill gap analysis consists of a list of skills required along with a rating of the employee's level for each skill. Ratings below a predetermined level identify a skill gap.
Skills inventory: A list of skills or competencies that an individual possesses, usually created by self-evaluation.
SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol): A means of allowing a user to connect to the Internet directly over a high-speed modem. SLIP is older and used less frequently than PPP.
Slow scan converter: A transmitter or receiver of still video over narrowband channels. In real time, camera subjects must remain still for highest resolution.
Smartphone: Any handheld device that integrates personal information management and mobile phone capabilities in the same device. Often, this includes adding phone functions to already capable PDAs or putting “smart” capabilities, such as PDA functions, into a mobile phone. The key feature of a smartphone is that one can install additional applications to the device.
SME (subject matter expert): An individual who is recognized as having proficient knowledge about and skills in a particular topic or subject area.
SMS (short message service): Service allowing messages of up to 160 characters to be sent between phones on any network.
Social networking: Uses software to build online communities of people who share interests and activities or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most services are primarily web-based and provide a collection of various ways for users to interact, such as chat, messaging, email, video, chat, file sharing, blogging, and discussion groups.
Soft skills: Business skills such as communication and presentation, leadership and management, human resources, sales and marketing, professional development, project and time management, customer service, team building, administration, accounting and finance, purchasing, and personal development.
Software: A set of instructions that tell a computer what to do; a program.
Source code: Program instructions written by a software developer and later translated (usually by a compiler) into machine language that a computer can understand.
Spam: (noun) Junk email that is sent, unsolicted and in bulk, to advertise products or services or publicize a message. The term may have originated from a Monty Python song. (verb) To send unsolicited bulk email to advertise products or services or publicize a message.
Spambot: Automatic software robots that post spam on a blog.
Specification: A plan, instruction, or protocol for e-learning that's established or agreed upon. Specification is often used interchangeably with standard, but the two terms are not truly synonymous. Specifications become standards only after they've been approved by an accrediting agency.
Splogs (short for spam blogs): Blogs not providing their own or real content.
SQL: Language for accessing information in a database and updating entries.
Stakeholder: A person with a vested interest in the successful completion of a project. Stakeholders in e-learning often include the developer, the facilitator, the learners, the learners’ managers, customers, and so forth.
Standard: An e-learning specification established as a model by a governing authority such as IEEE or ISO to ensure quality, consistency, and interoperability.
Storyboard: (noun) An outline of a multimedia project in which each page represents a screen to be designed and developed. (verb) To create a storyboard.
Streaming media (streaming audio or video): Audio or video files played as they are being downloaded over the Internet instead of users having to wait for the entire file to download first. Requires a media player program.
Studying: The self-directed practice of reviewing instructional material (usually as a follow-up to instruction) to improve retention and understanding. Aims to increase or improve skills or knowledge in the long-term, although some people argue that studying only places information in the short-term memory and mainly serves the goal of improving performance on tests.
Style sheets: In traditional print publishing and on the web, style sheets specify how a document should appear, standardizing such elements as fonts, page layout and line spacing, repeated content, and so forth. Web style sheets help ensure consistency across webpages, but HTML coding can also override the sheets in designated sections of the pages. Also see CSS.
Synchronous learning: A real-time, instructor-led online learning event in which all participants are logged on at the same time and communicate directly with each other. In this virtual classroom setting, the instructor maintains control of the class, with the ability to "call on" participants. In most platforms, students and teachers can use a whiteboard to see work in progress and share knowledge. Interaction may also occur via audio- or videoconferencing, Internet telephony, or two-way live broadcasts.
Synergy: The dynamic energetic atmosphere created in an online class when participants interact and productively communicate with each other.
System requirements: The technological conditions required to run a software application. Includes the operating system, programming language, database, hardware configuration, bandwidth, processing power, and so forth.
3G: Third-generation mobile telephone technology. The services associated with 3G provide the ability to transfer both voice data (such as making a telephone call) and non-voice data (such as downloading information, exchanging e-mail, and instant messaging).
T-1 (DS-1): High-speed digital data channel that is a high-volume carrier of voice and/or data. Often used for compressed video teleconferencing. T-1 has 24 voice channels.
T-3 (DS-3): A digital channel that communicates at a significantly faster rate than T-1.
Tablet: A wireless PC that allows a user to take notes using natural handwriting with a stylus, digital pen, or on a touch screen. It is similar in size and thickness to a paper notepad. There are two formats: a convertible model with an integrated keyboard and display that rotates 180 degrees and can be folded down over the keyboard, or a slate style together with a removable keyboard. The user’s handwritten notes, which can be edited and revised, can also be indexed and searched or shared via e-mail or mobile phone.
Tag cloud: A visual representation of the popularity of the tags or descriptions that people are using on a blog or website. Popular tags are often shown in a large type and less popular tags in smaller type.
Tags: Keywords added to a blog post, photo, or video to help users find related topics or media, either through browsing on the site or as a term to make your entry more relevant to search engines.
Technorati Authority: Used to determine the number of times a keyword or URL are mentioned and linked in blogs.
Trackback: Some blogs provide a facility for other bloggers to leave a calling card automatically, instead of commenting.
TBT (technology-based training): The delivery of content via Internet, LAN or WAN (intranet or extranet), satellite broadcast, audio- or videotape, interactive TV, or CD-ROM. TBT encompasses both CBT and WBT.
TCP (Transmission Control Protocol): A protocol that ensures that packets of data are shipped and received in the intended order.
Teaching: A process that aims to increase or improve knowledge, skills, attitudes, and/or behaviors in a person to accomplish a variety of goals. Teaching is often driven more toward the long-term personal growth of the learner and less toward business drivers such as job tasks that are often the focus of training. Some people characterize teaching as focused on theory and training as focused on practical application.
Telecommunication: The science of information transport using wire, radio, optical, or electromagnetic channels to transmit and receive signals for voice or data communications.
Telecommuting: Working at home but connecting to one's office by way of a computer network.
Teleconferencing: Two-way electronic communication between two or more groups in separate locations via audio, video, and/or computer systems.
Telnet: A utility that enables a user to log onto a computer or server and access its information remotely, for example, from home or a work location in the field.
Template: A predefined set of tools or forms that establishes the structure and settings necessary to quickly create content.
Thin client: 1) A network computer without hard- or diskette drives that accesses programs and data from a server instead of storing them locally.
2) Software that performs the majority of its operations on a server rather than the local computer, thus requiring less memory and fewer plug-ins.
Thread: A series of messages on a particular topic posted in a discussion forum.
Tin Can API: An e-learning software specification that allows learning content and learning systems to speak to each other in a manner that records and tracks all types of learning experiences. Commonly referred to as the Experience API.
Touch screen: An input device used to simplify user input and response. The user touches the screen to control the output, working with menus or multiple-choice decision points. Allows some simulation of hands-on training; for example, pointing to parts on a machine.
Training: A process that aims to improve knowledge, skills, attitudes, and/or behaviors in a person to accomplish a specific job task or goal. Training is often focused on business needs and driven by time-critical business skills and knowledge, and its goal is often to improve performance.
Training management system: See LMS.
Transcoding: The operation of changing data from one format to another, such as an XML to HTML, so the output will be displayed in an appropriate manner for the device.
Transparent technology: Technology that is easy to use, intuitive in nature, and not the focus of the learning experience. Also called seamless technology.
Transponder: Satellite transmitter and receiver that receives and amplifies a signal prior to retransmission to an earth station.
Trojan horse: A malicious computer program that appears legitimate but masks a destructive file or application. Unlike viruses, Trojan horses usually do not replicate themselves but can still cause a great deal of damage, such as creating an entryway into your computer for malevolent users.
Tutorial: Step-by-step instructions presented through computer or web-based technology, designed to teach a user how to complete a particular action.
Tweet: A post on Twitter.
Tweetup: An organized or impromptu gathering of people who use Twitter. Users often include a hashtag, such as #tweetup publicizing event.
Twitter: Popular social network that allows members to post updates of no more than 140 characters.
Twitterverse: Universe of people who use Twitter and the conversations taking place within that sphere.
24/7: Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. In e-learning, used to describe the hours of operation of a virtual classroom or how often technical support should be available for online students and instructors.
UI: The user interface (UI) is the space where interaction between humans and machines occurs. The goal at the user interface is effective operation and control of the machine, and feedback from the machine that aids the operator in making decisions.
Unicasting: Communication between a sender and a single receiver over a network. For example, an email message sent from one person to another.
Uplink: The communication link from a transmitting earth station to a satellite.
Upload: To send a file from one computer or server to another.
URI (uniform resource identifier): Name and address of information--text, graphics, audio, video, and so forth--on the Internet. A URI usually identifies the application used to access the resource, the machine the resource is located on, and the file name of the resource. A webpage address or URL is the most commonly used type of URI.
URL (uniform resource locator): The address of a page on the World Wide Web.
Usability: The measure of how effectively, efficiently, and easily a person can navigate an interface, find information on it, and achieve his or her goals.
UX: User experience (US) design is a subset of the field of experience design that pertains to the creation of the architecture and interaction models that affect user experience of a device or system. The purpose of UX is to positively impact the overall experience a person has with a particular interactive system and its provider. User experience design frequently defines a sequence of interactions between a user and a system, virtual or physical, designed to meet or support user needs and goals.
Value-added services: In the context of the e-learning industry, value-added services include custom training needs assessment and skill-gap analysis, curriculum design and development, pre- and posttraining mentoring and support, training effectiveness analysis, reporting and tracking tools, advisor services and implementation consulting, hosting and management of Internet- or intranet-based learning systems, integration of enterprise training delivery systems, and other services.
Vector graphic: An image created based on mathematical formulas rather than by an array of dots. Vector images look cleaner when they’re enlarged or shrunk because the mathematical formulas on which they’re based redraw the images to scale.
Videoconferencing: Using video and audio signals to link participants at different and remote locations.
Viral:Object that gains high popularity through social networking on the Internet.
Viral loop: The dynamic that encourages me to share a property with my friends.
Viralocity: The number of new users gained for each user.
Virtual: Not concrete or physical. For instance, a completely virtual university does not have actual buildings but instead holds classes over the Internet.
Virtual classroom: The online learning space where students and instructors interact.
Virtual community: See online community.
Virtual world: A computer-based simulated environment intended for its users to inhabit and interact via avatars.
Virus: A destructive type of computer program that attempts to disrupt the normal operation of a computer, rewrite or delete information from storage devices, and in some cases, cause physical damage to the computer.
Virus detection program: A software program to detect, diagnose, and destroy computer viruses.
VoD (video on demand): See CoD.
VoIP (voice over IP): Voice transmitted digitally using the Internet Protocol. Avoids fees charged by telephone companies.
Vortal: Vertical portal; a portal that targets a niche audience.
VPN (virtual private network): A private network configured inside a public network. Offers the security of private networks with the economies of scale and built-in management capabilities of public networks.
W3C: World Wide Web Consortium, an organization developing interoperable specifications, software, and tools for the WWW. See the .
WAN (wide-area network): A computer network that spans a relatively large area. Usually made up of two or more local area networks. The Internet is a WAN.
WAP (wireless application protocol): Specification that allows Internet content to be read by wireless devices.
WBT (web-based training): Delivery of educational content via a Web browser over the public Internet, a private intranet, or an extranet. web-based training often provides links to other learning resources such as references, email, bulletin boards, and discussion groups. WBT also may include a facilitator who can provide course guidelines, manage discussion boards, deliver lectures, and so forth. When used with a facilitator, WBT offers some advantages of instructor-led training while also retaining the advantages of computer-based training.
Web 2.0: The use of Internet technology and web design to enhance information sharing and, most notably, collaboration among users. These concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and hosted services, such as social-networking sites, wikis, blogs.
web-based learning: See web-based training.
Web analytics: Measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of Internet data for the purpose of understanding who your visitors are and optimizing your website.
Web conference: (noun) A meeting of participants from disparate geographic locations that's held in a virtual environment on the World Wide Web, with communication taking place via text, audio, video, or a combination of those methods. (verb) To participate in a Web conference.
Webcast: (Web + broadcast) (noun) A broadcast of video signals that's digitized and streamed on the World Wide Web, and which may also be made available for download. (verb) To digitize and stream a broadcast on the World Wide Web.
Webinar: (Web + seminar) A small synchronous online learning event in which a presenter and audience members communicate via text chat or audio about concepts often illustrated via online slides and/or an electronic whiteboard. Webinars are often archived as well for asynchronous, on-demand access.
Webpage: A document on the World Wide Web that's viewed with a browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator.
Website: A set of files stored on the World Wide Web and viewed with a browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. A website may consist of one or more webpages.
Whiteboard: An electronic version of a dry-erase board that enables learners in a virtual classroom to view what an instructor, presenter, or fellow learner writes or draws. Also called a smartboard or electronic whiteboard.
Widget: A small block of content, typically displayed in a small box, with a specific purpose, such as providing weather forecasts or news, that is constantly updating itself (typically via RSS).
Wi-fi (wireless fidelity): 1) Term developed by the denoting products that can connect to each other without wires, acting as either wireless clients or base stations. Products bearing a “Wi-fi certified” label should always be interoperable; some non-logoed products will interoperate as well. 2) Any network adhering to the IEEE 802.11 standard, including 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and so forth.
Wiki: A collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites.
Wikipedia: A free, multilingual, open content encyclopedia project operated by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. See .
Wireframe: Wireframes are visual representations of the structural elements, navigation, and layout of a webpage or interactive. They help determine scope, user interactions, and content placement without the design elements. Wireframes allow developers to foresee problems before time and energy are spent in the design process."_GoBack" shape="rect">
Wizard: A mini-application that prompts a user through the steps of a particular computer-based action. The user provides necessary information as he or she proceeds through the wizard's screens, while the wizard completes the actual steps behind the scenes.
WML (Wireless Markup Language): XML-based language that allows a reduced version of webpages' text to be displayed on cellular phones and personal digital assistants.
Workstation: 1) A device, often a microcomputer, that serves as an interface between a user and a file server or host computer. 2) More generally, a computer or a computer terminal.
Worm: A computer virus that replicates itself many times over for the purpose of consuming system resources, eventually shutting down a computer or server. This type of virus is most often directed at mail servers such as Microsoft Exchange and is usually unleashed when an unsuspecting user opens an email attachment.
WORM (write once, read many): A type of data storage disk that allows information to be saved to it only once, archiving permanent data. WORM disks must be read by the same kind of drive that wrote them, thus hindering widespread acceptance of this technology.
WWW (World Wide Web): A graphical hypertext-based Internet tool that provides access to webpages created by individuals, businesses, and other organizations.
WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get): Pronounced "wizzy wig," a WYSIWYG program allows designers to see text and graphics on screen exactly as they will appear when printed out or published online, rather than in programming code.
XML (Extensible Markup Language): The next-generation webpage coding language that allows site designers to program their own markup commands, which can then be used as if they were standard HTML commands.
XSL (eXtensible Stylesheet Language or eXtensible Style Language): A webpage design language that creates style sheets for XML pages, which separate style from content so that developers can specify how and where information is displayed on the page.
XHTML: See Extensible Hypertext Markup Language.
YouTube: Video-sharing website where users can upload, view, share and comment on clips from TV, film, and amateur videos.
Zip file: 1) A file that has been compressed, often with the .ZIP format originated by PKWARE. 2) A file on a Zip disk, not necessarily compressed. 3) A compressed file with the .EXE extension that is self-extracting (can be unzipped simply by opening it).
Zip drive: An external data storage device that reads Zip disks.
Zip disk: Portable storage disk that can hold 100 or 250 MB of information, manufactured by the Iomega corporation. Used in a Zip drive, Zip disks can archive or back up large amounts of data.
Barron's Dictionary of Computer and Internet Terms; Barry Willis and the University of Idaho; Brandon-hall.com; Cisco Systems, Internet Learning Solutions Group; click2learn.com; Cnet; The Computer Glossary: The Complete Illustrated Dictionary; Corporate University Xchange; EdWeb; Jane Hart Blog, Illinois Online Network, University of Illinois; The Indiana College Network (ICN); edutools.info; Teach Wisconsin; Tech Encyclopedia; The Trainer's Dictionary; Webopedia; whatis; WR Hambrecht + Co, Learning in the Social Webplace blog, Wikipedia