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A characteristic of technology that enables people with disabilities to use it. 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 also Section 508.

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.

AoD (Audio on Demand)
See CoD.

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.

Associate's Degree
Awarded to a student upon the successful completion of a two-year program of study. Usually, it requires that the student pass courses totaling 60 credit hours, with a minimum number of courses being in a particular field. In most cases it takes a student two years of full-time enrollment to complete an Associate's degree.

Asynchronous Learning
Learning type where 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 e-mail.

Audio Bridge
A device used in audio conferencing that connects multiple telephone lines.

Audio Conferencing
Voice-only connection of three or more sides through standard telephone lines.

Audio Graphics
Computer-based technology that enables simultaneous transmission of voice, data, and graphic images across local telephone lines for instructor-learner interaction.

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.

In online environments, a virtual digital image representing a person. In online education avatars usually represent the learners. The term comes from a Sanskrit word meaning an incarnation in human form.

Baccalaureate or Bachelor's Degree
Usually requires from a student to successfully complete at least 120 credit hours of coursework. Typically, 60 credit hours of the 120 must be upper division courses related to the student's major. It usually takes a student four or five years of full-time enrollment to complete a Bachelor's degree.

BBS (Bulletin Board System)
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.

Blended Learning
Learning events that combine aspects of online and face-to-face instruction.

See Instructor-Led Training.

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. See also CBT.

A document validating that a student has completed particular courses of student in his/her field of expertise.

(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.

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-one instant messenger applications, chat rooms enable conversations among multiple people at once.

Classroom Training
See Instructor-Led Training.

CMI (Computer-Managed Instruction)
The use of computer technology to oversee learning process, including testing and record keeping.

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).

See Online Community.

Compliant (Standards-Compliant)
E-learning that meets established standards of, and has received official approval from, an accrediting organization. See also Conformant.

Computer-Based Learning (CBL)
See Computer-Based Training (CBT).

Computer-Based Training (CBT)
Broader term for the use of computers in both instruction and management of the teaching and learning processes. 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.

Conformant (Standards-Conformant)
Online distance learning course that meets the standards of an accrediting organization but that has not gone through the formal application process to be deemed compliant.

Continuing Education Unit (CEO)
Standard measurement for a student's participation in a continuing education program. Usually, these programs apply to fields that require certification or licensure. One unit is equal to ten contact hours of participation in a qualified course.

Any type of instructional or educational course delivered via a software program or over the Internet.

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.

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.

Desktop Video Conferencing
Video conferencing on a personal computer.

Discussion Boards
Forums on the Internet or an intranet where users can post messages for others to read.

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 video tape, CD-ROM, online learning, audio and video conferencing, interactive TV, and fax.

Distance Learning
The desired outcome of distance education. The two terms are often used interchangeably.

Doctorate or Doctoral Degree
The highest degree awarded by colleges and universities in the United States. The requirements for the degree vary depending on the institution and field of study. Usually, it requires a dissertation or a comprehensive examination during the final phases of the program. It usually takes around four years to complete.

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, etc.

Enterprise-Wide E-Learning
E-learning that is intended for all or most employees within a company. It is 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.

See TBT.

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.

F2F (Face-to-Face)
Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment. Also see ILT.

Facilitative Tools
Electronic features used to deliver online courses. Examples include mailing lists, chat programs, streaming audio, streaming video, and web pages.

The online course instructor who aids learning in the online, student-centered environment.

A person who registers for but does not complete an e-learning course.

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).

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)
Individual who applies systematic methodology based on instructional theory in order to create content for learning.

Interactive Media
Allows for a two-way interaction or exchange of information.

Internet-Based Training
Training delivered primarily by TCP/IP network technologies such as e-mail, newsgroups, proprietary applications, etc. 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.

LCMS (Learning Content Management System)
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.

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.

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.

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.

LSP (Learning Service Provider)
A specialized ASP offering learning management and training delivery software on a hosted or rental basis.

M-learning (Mobile Learning)
Learning that takes place via such wireless devices as cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), or laptop computers.

Master's Degree
A graduate degree awarded to a student upon successful completion of a post-baccalaureate program. The number of credits or units that a student must complete, and the amount of time that it takes, depends entirely upon the graduate program.

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.

E-learning that is made up of standardized units that can be separated from each other and rearranged or reused.

Includes interactive text, images, sound, and color. Multimedia can be anything from a simple PowerPoint slide show to a complex interactive simulation.

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.

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.

Content that can be transferred to various infrastructures or delivery mechanisms, usually without changes.

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")

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

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.

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.

A plan, instruction, or protocol for e-learning that is 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 have been approved by an accrediting agency.

An e-learning specification established as a model by a governing authority such as IEEE or ISO to ensure quality, consistency, and interoperability.

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.

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.

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.

TBT (Technology-Based Training)
The delivery of content via Internet, LAN or WAN (intranet or extranet), satellite broadcast, audio or video tape, interactive TV, or CD-ROM. TBT includes both CBT and WBT.

Two-way electronic communication between two or more groups in separate locations via audio, video, and/or computer systems.

Step-by-step instructions presented through computer or web-based technology, designed to teach a user how to complete a particular action.

Using video and audio signals to link participants at different and remote locations.

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.

VoD (Video on Demand)
See CoD.

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-Based Learning
See Web-Based Training.

Webcast (Web + Broadcast)
A broadcast of video signals that's digitized and streamed on the World Wide Web, and which may also be made available for download; To digitize and stream a broadcast on the World Wide Web.

Web Conference
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; To participate in a web conference.

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.

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