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Louisa Farino

flick learning ltd


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The A-Z glossary of learning terms


If you’ve read any of our earlier blogs, you’ll know that we’re big fans of jargon-busting and it occurred to us that instead of doing this bit by bit, it would be helpful to go through and explain all the key terms we could think of. So here it is – the a to z of learning terms:


Agile learning

Being able to setup individual learning paths for people, ie everyone gets only what they need or, sometimes, it refers to the development of the learning in an agile way.

Asynchronous learning

People being able to learn at different times – like e-learning, you log in whenever convenient and begin learning.


Short for 'application', an app is a piece of software that helps the user perform an action or job better, and even learn and complete training on a tablet or smartphone.


Enabling people of all abilities to access the learning equally. Being awarded the W3C standard shows that you're supporting the Web Accessibility Initiative in this aim.


Recognition that a learning provider has met a high standard of quality in a specific subject or topic.


Blended learning

Using a combination of different methods to teach people, eg using both face-to-face and e-learning to best achieve your learning outcomes.


Classroom learning

Just like being back at school – everyone gets together in the same room to be taught.


Also known as “The Cloud”, this refers to storing information on the Internet as opposed to locally on your own computer.


Collaboration between a group of people or community, through an open call or skype session.

Content Management System (CMS)

A computer application that enables the users to publish, edit and modify content, as well as organizing and deleting all from a central interface. CMS enables the management of workflow in a collaborative environment.


Differentiated learning

Modifying the way you teach someone to suit their learning style. So, in a classroom, this would involve teaching in a way that supported varying needs.

Distance learning

A way of learning or training without being in the same room as the teacher or trainer - so without the face-to-face interaction. This can be achieved in many different ways including online learning and webinars. Distance learning is usually managed by the individual, and can be completed at their own pace.



A digital book.


Electronic learning, typically completed using a computer, tablet or smartphone.


Formal learning

This is when there is a clear time for being taught and receiving instruction, particularly by trained teachers and probably in a learning institution (eg school, college etc.)

Face-to-face learning

Learning (and teaching) that takes places with someone in person. It is often argued that face-to-face learning offers the best interaction for learning.



The process of transforming monotonous activities into fun and engaging ones by incorporating game mechanics. Giving awards, badges, trophies and collecting points are good examples of this.

Guerrilla learning

This is informal learning shared by non-learning professionals, eg posting a video of how to change a tyre on YouTube or doing a make-up contouring tutorial. These come about through responding to trends in a quick, low-budget and timely way.


Hybrid learning

Just like Blended Learning, Hybrid Learning combines face-to-face with digital and online learning. Users have an element of control over time, place, path, or pace.


Informal learning

Often referred to as learning by experience, informal learning is any form of learning that has no set objectives in terms of learning outcome.


Just-in-time learning

Taking the notion from manufacturing and applying it to the learning world: having the right learning in place for just when someone wants to learn.


Kinaesthetic learning

A learning style in which learning takes place by the students carrying out physical activities, rather than listening to a lecture or watching demonstrations.


Learning Management System (LMS)

An online application used to deliver, document, track and report on training courses. Users typically need to log into the LMS to access their training.


Simply, the level of the learning you are completing. This started at school with GCSEs and A-Levels, and still applies to e-learning and any form of training you complete.


Mobile learning (m-learning)

Focusing on the mobility of the user, M-learning allows users to learn and complete training courses using handheld computers, note-books, mobile phones and tablets. The convenience of m-learning is that it’s accessible from almost anywhere.


A method of delivering content to users in small, specific bursts. Users control what and when they learn. At one extreme, imagine the length of a tweet being used to convey a learning point.


MOOC, or 'Massive Open Online Course' is a form of free education through online learning. This growing trend encourages and supports quality education at no cost.


We couldn’t think of any ‘n’ terms. Can you? Share them with us if you can.


Online learning

The alternative term to e-learning – means pretty much the same thing.


What people need to know or need to be doing differently by the time they’ve finished their learning.


Personalised learning

Creating learning content or a learning journey that suits your own needs and style.


A digital audio file which is available on the Internet for downloading, typically available as a series, new instalments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.


We nearly added QR code into here but then we realised that no one uses them.



Taking something and making it your own or giving it a new twist.


Synchronous learning

Synchronous learning refers to a learning event in which a group of students are engaging in learning at the same time. Watching a live web stream of a class whilst taking part in a discussion is an example of this style of learning.

Social learning

Based on the idea that students benefit by studying together, it encourages the use of social platforms to achieve a common goal.



An organization that provides a platform for experts in various areas to give lectures explaining their topics ideas. These videos and known as 'TED Talks' and are shared online.

Total learning

The idea of bringing all aspects of learning (social, formal, informal) together into one system/solution.


Also known as modules, these are the 'chapters' of reading material that build up the online training courses.


User experience (UX)

What it feels like for the user engaging with the learning or system. Good design will be built around how you will use it.

User interface

The parts of the learning/system that you’ll see.


Visual learning

A teaching and learning style in which words, ideas, concepts and other information are associated with images and techniques.

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

Any online 'space' in which students learn and collaborate with one another.

Virtual classroom

This is the online equivalent of a traditional: using your computer, you all gather in a 'classroom' with your teacher. With the classroom being online, everyone can be in different physical locations be still be together in the classroom.


The use of existing social networks to spread a message, video or article that quickly attains a high popularity. Think #dressgate – the whole world is talking about it in a matter of hours.



A visual guide that represents the framework of a website or system. Software such as Mockflow is a good example of this. Wireframes are created to arrange elements to best accomplish a particular purpose.


A source of knowledge (like a modern day encyclopaedia) where you can search and add information to the pages. The collaboration of knowledge is great but the accuracy is not always guaranteed. The best known wiki is Wikipedia.


Web Conferencing between two or more people that allows attendees to interact and share information, documents and applications. Webinars are perfect for remote tutorials or classes.

White label

A product or service produced by one company (the producer) that other companies (the customer) rebrand to make it appear as if they had made it.


A document, article, study or report typically given to a subscriber of a newsletter or website as a free resource.


Still waiting to see what x-learning is ourselves! We'll keep you posted.



A video sharing website where anyone can watch videos, which registered users have uploaded to their channels. The videos can be shared via social media and users can create playlists. YouTube is currently the second largest search engine following Google (or some argue the largest). YouTube is the go-to place for searching out 'how to' videos where explaining 'how to fold a fitted sheet' can rack up over 11,759,000 views.


Generation Z

One of the names for the latest generation born, and raised, in the digital world. The relevance of this term within the learning context is the challenges it brings in matching the learning to the way they use technology.

Any other terms you think we should include? Tweet usfacebook usemail us and tell us what those are! 

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Louisa Farino


Read more from Louisa Farino

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