Do You Speak “ELearning”?

As is true in any industry, the elearning industry includes an entire world of jargon and acronyms that take some time to learn.

If you are completely new or unfamiliar with the nuances within the industry then it can be difficult to fully understand what people are talking about when they are discussing elearning.

To help bring you up to speed, SHIFT ELearning has created the infographic below that calls out some of the more common terms you’re likely to come across.

However, the graphic does not provide a definition for these terms. As such, below it I have included a high-level explanation. Feel free to research any of these items even further if you want to learn more about them.

The Process

Instructional Design Model – The methodology you use to guide the development of your courses. There are many, but the most popular is ADDIE.

Storyboards – The outline or structure of your course that is usually created prior to development.

Prototype – An example of how the course will look and behave. Content isn’t finalized.

QA Testing – The testing procedures you have in place for ensure consistency and that the functionality behaves as expected.

The Design

User Interface & Navigation – The mechanisms in place that allow a learner to move within and between courses, lessons, and quizzes.

Media – Videos, images, graphics, infographics, simulations, charts, etc. that supplement your course content.

Typography – The font classes and sizes used throughout the course.

White Space – The amount of distance between objects and text in the course.

Consistency – How course elements are used across the course when delivering the content.

The Team

SME – The subject matter expert that often influences the content.

Instructional Designer – The person (or people) who create the overall direction for the program. This includes the program as a whole and the general structure of courses.

ELearning Developer – Those responsible for building out the courses. Often a shared role with Instructional Designer.

Technical Terms

SCORM – The old elearning protocol for recording and tracking learning.

Tin Can API (xAPI) – The latest elearning protocol that effectively replaced SCORM.

LMS – Short for learning management system. This is the central “hub” for the elearning program where users, course content, and the curriculum are managed.

SAAS – Short for “software-as-a-service”. Many learning management systems are hosted and managed by third-party on a monthly basis. Thus, they are providing their software as a service more than a product.

Categories

About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

5 Comments
  1. Hi Justin,
    I loved your explanation of the role of the instructional designer. Also, thank you for introducing me to the concept of TIN CAN API. What are your thoughts on “LMSs” vs. “LEs” (or VLEs)?

    • Thanks for the comment Georgianna… quite honestly, a VLE is more or less an LMS, at least most people I know in the field would describe it as such.

      A VLE essentially manages users and course content (primary part of learning management), but often has the ability for content creation as well – among other things.

  2. Steve Kaplan

    Justin,
    You may also want to include AICC (Aviation Industry CBT [Computer-Based Training] Committee) in your technical terms. AICC standards still apply to the development, delivery, and evaluation of training courses that are delivered via technology today. In fact some LMS systems are more tolerant to AICC published content vs. SCORM published content in terms less technical difficulties in the delivery of the training.

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