Educational Technology Glossary

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ADDIE (Analysis Design Development Implementation Evaluation)

  • Design model/guideline used by instructional designers and training developers for building effective training and performance support tools. ADDIE is a five-step process that is intended to ensure accuracy and relevance of content, popular in academics and traditional training.

Agile Learning

  • A design model that contrasts the ADDIE model, instead focusing on speed, flexibility, and collaboration to reduce cost and time as well as keep content fresh and relevant.

Augmented Reality (AR)

  • An interactive experience of a real-world environment where objects are augmented with overlaid sensory information generated by a computer. In instructional design, AR is useful in presenting engaging, interactive content within a user’s physical location (e.g., overlaying information about a museum exhibit that’s accessible when physically viewing the exhibit).


  • A measureable way of identifying a learner’s knowledge and skills in regards to certain course content.

Asynchronous Learning

  • A learner-centered learning method based on the constructivist theory of education where online resources allow the learner to engage with materials at their own time and place. Opposite of Synchronous Learning.
  • Also known as: Location Independent Learning (LIT)


Blended Learning

  • Combines classroom (or face-to-face learning) learning with online learning to increase interactivity while still providing purpose and structure.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

  • Encouraging students or employees to bring their own personally owned devices to school or the workplace to facilitate learning and performance on official work/school projects.
  • Also known as: Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT)


Continual Education Unit (CEU)

  • A unit of measure in continuing education programs equal to 10 hours of participation in an accredited program used to help someone maintain their professional license.


  • A short piece of content within a larger unit designed to combat content overload and help increase retention.

Content Management System (CMS)

  • Software that helps create, edit, organize, and publish content.

Content on Demand (COD)

  • Providing content that can be consumed anytime and anywhere. As opposed to a webinar or traditional class session, Content on Demand allows a learner to engage at the time and place of their choosing.

Cognitive Load

  • The effort associated with working memory, often broken into three types:
    • Intrinsic—the effort associated with a specific topic
    • Extraneous—the way information or tasks are presented
    • Germane—the effort associated with creating a permanent store of knowledge
  • The goal of instructional design is to reduce a learner’s cognitive load to facilitate learning and retention.

Continuing Professional Development

  • Programs designed to help professionals keep abreast of developments in the field and continue to learn and develop skills pertaining to their work.

Computer-Based Training (CBT)

  • An interactive instructional approach where education and training are done on a computer. Traditionally, CBT predates eLearning and Web-Based Training and refers to non-web-based programs.


Distance Education/Learning

  • Distance Learning represents education away from the traditional classroom. Distance Learning predates eLearning with correspondence courses where the student would correspond with the school through the mail, however, online course have taken over and the two terms have become essentially synonymous, with eLearning used more often.



  • EdTech stands for Educational Technology and is the study of creating, using, and managing technology to facilitate learning and improve performance.


  • eLearning stands for Electronic Learning—learning utilizing electronic technology outside of the traditional classroom. eLearning is currently used as a sort of umbrella term for learning outside the classroom, but it is traditionally viewed as a form of distance learning or online classroom that is more structured and formal than other forms of electronic learning, like mLearning.

Extended Enterprise (EE)

  • Extended Enterprise relates to the fact that modern businesses are more of an interconnected network of partnerships. eLearning can be useful in an EE for training your partners and consumers to improve product adoption and support resources.


Face-to-Face Training (F2F)

  • Traditional, instructor-led training.

Flipped Model

  • A form of blended learning that “flips” the classroom by delivering content outside the classroom (often online) for learners to study and discuss, while the classroom is reserved for exploring topics in greater depth under the guidance of the instructor.



  • Applying game-design elements and game principles to education to improve engagement, learning, and ease of use while adding a sense of accomplishment with rewards like badges or points.


Hybrid Learning

  • Similar to Blended Learning, except Hybrid Learning incorporates any combination of learning methods that best suits the individual learner (rather than only classroom and online).


Informal Learning

  • Any learning that is not formal or non-formal, such as learning from experience or self-directed learning. Informal learning takes place outside the classroom, doesn’t follow a curriculum, and occurs directly through observing and participating in social activities.

Instructional Design (ID)

  • The process of analyzing learning needs and designing and developing instructional programs to best facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills.

Instructor-Led Training (ILT)

  • Similar to Face-to-Face Learning, Instructor-Led Training is a learning model that occurs between an instructor and an individual or group of learners.


Just-In-Time Training (JITT)

  • The process of providing training materials to the learner at just the right time and at just the right location.
  • Also known as Just in Time Learning and Learning On-Demand.


Learning Experience Platform (LXP)

  • A personalized learning platform offered instead of or in addition to a traditional LMS for Learning & Development. Utilizing mobile- and Microlearning techniques, an LXP is able to focus on a less formal, more personal training method that enhances engagement, collaboration, and knowledge retention.

Learning Management System (LMS)

  • A software application designed for creating and delivering educational courses and training programs.


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

  • An eLearning model that emphasizes open-access with online courses designed for unlimited participation for learners across the web.


  • A learner-centered model that delivers information in bite-sized chunks to reduce cognitive load, combat information overload, and improve retention. Often used in training—especially JITT—and made available for consumption and engagement from anywhere at any time through mobile learning.


  • Derivative of eLearning, mLearning—or mobile learning—utilizes mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets to provide educational instruction. Often utilizes Microlearning do to limitations in screen size, storage, and bandwidth.

Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment (MOODLE)

  • An open-source learning management system used as a template for educators and trainers to create online courses and training programs.


On-the-Job Training (OJT)

  • Training that occurs on the job rather than in a classroom. Can include hands-on training, instructor-led training, or electronic training and is effective because of the documents, tools, and specialists that already exist within the workplace.


  • The process of bringing a new employee, customer, or client “onboard” with the company’s standards, products, or services.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

  • Open-sourced, freely accessible resources—such as text, images, and other digital media assets—that are meant to aid in teaching, learning, and research.

Open Source Software (OSS)

  • Software created with the source code openly accessible for anyone to study, modify, and distribute to anyone and for any purpose.



  • The study of education and how knowledge and skills are exchanged in an educational context.

Personalized Learning

  • An educational approach that focuses on individual learners and customizes learning plans based on the strengths, needs, skills, and interests of each learner.

Problem-Based Learning (PBL)

  • Originally developed for medical education, Problem-Based Learning is a learning model that emphasizes solving open-ended problems without a defined solution to promote other desirable skills and attributes such as knowledge acquisition, group collaboration, and communication.

Professional Learning Community (PLC)

  • An organized community of colleagues and professionals within a work setting that promotes continued professional learning through collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Personal/Professional Learning Network (PLN)

  • A network of individuals whose goal is a mutual enhancement of learning. This network can be either personal or professional or both, but the main element is a reciprocity of valuable information for mutual learning and development.


Rapid Content Development (RCD)

  • An agile learning design that prioritizes speed and cost-effectiveness by using template-based reusable components and eLearning tools.


Software as a Service (SaaS)

  • As opposed to purchasing software, Software as a Service is the practice of licensing software on a subscription basis, which is centrally hosted.


  • A learning model in which an instructor supports learning new concepts and skills by providing sufficient support for development (resources, tasks, guidance) before slowly removing the support as the learner gains proficiency. Similar to the use of scaffolds in construction.

Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)

  • Standards and specifications for web-based eLearning specified by the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative from the Office of the United States Secretary of Defense.

Self-Paced Learning

  • A learner-centered approach where the pace of instruction is dictated by the learner, who chooses when to engage in the material and proceeds through a course at their own pace based on completion of previous topics.

Social Media Learning

  • A form of collaborative learning based on the use of social media tools and technology.

Synchronous Learning

  • A form of education where learners engage with material at the same time. In addition to the traditional classroom, improved technology has allowed for synchronous learning to occur online through the use of web/video conferencing, live chat, and webinars. Opposite of Asynchronous Learning.


Virtual Classroom

  • In contrast to traditional online courses where users learn the same materials on their own, a virtual classroom allows learners to work in groups to interact and engage with resources in a collaborative, virtual way.

Virtual Reality (VR)

  • An interactive, simulated environment. In EdTech, VR is useful for training simulations and learning that would be dangerous or difficult in non-virtual settings.



  • A portmanteau of “web” and “seminar,” a webinar allows point-to-point communication in real-time and can be used for training sessions, lectures, and other educational opportunities for learners in multiple different locations.

Web-Based Training (WBT)

  • Somewhat synonymous with Computer-Based Training, Web-Based Training is training delivered via the internet.

Know of any terms we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

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