The Only eLearning Glossary You Need: All Industry Jargon Explained!

Knowledge managementLMS, LCMS, LRS… There’s enough lingo in the world of online learning to give even the most weathered ID a headache!

But don’t fret! We’ve put together a handy glossary to help ease you into our wonderful world. It’s worth bookmarking so that you can check back on it whenever you stumble upon the latest buzzword that’s floating around.

eLearning Online Learning Glossary

Agile Learning

Agile learning is the process of adapting quickly to industry changes. This is particularly true in L&D as technology moves faster and faster!

AI and ML

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is what we have all been waiting for since the first Terminator film came out (without all the violence, obviously). From Facebook to YouTube, to Spotify and Netflix, all these programmes use Machine Learning to push content your way. From smart learning to AI analysing on reporting; we’ve only just begun!

API – This acronym stands for ‘Application Program Interface’. Essentially, it allows two different types of software to communicate with each other. Take our Academy LMS for example. Our API allows you to integrate the Academy with your HR system so that you can upload all of your learners in one go rather than doing it manually.

Blended Learning

Online learning doesn’t always completely replace traditional classroom-based learning. Blended learning describes programmes which blend together online and face-to-face learning.

Brain Science

In L&D, Brain Science is an umbrella term that covers educational psychology, neuroscience and pioneering cognitive research.

Cloud-Based Learning

This means that all of the software and resources involved in the learning is stored in the enigmatic cloud. This is a good thing because it means you don’t have to download or install anything to access your learning, and you can access it using any device.

Content Authoring Tool

Learning is great, but you need content to be able to do it! A learning content authoring tool will generally create SCORM-compliant content which can be hosted on most LMSs. Our recently launched Genie is an example of such a tool.

Discovery Method

You might hear us banging on about this from time to time, because this is our unique approach to content creation, designed to engage the learner. It gets the learner to plug in their own experiences as they work through the content, and then recalls it later on so that they can think about their new-found knowledge in context. It also tracks any inputs and automatically builds a personalised study plan to be downloaded at the end of the unit.

Our Genie content authoring tool lets you utilise the Discovery Method in your own content.


Short for ‘electronic commerce’, it is the process of buying things online. So if you enable eCommerce on our Academy LMS, you can create a catalogue page and charge for courses and curricula.


This is our area of expertise! Gamification is the process of applying gaming mechanics to non-gaming situations in an effort to inject excitement and engagement into dull online learning. So on our Academy LMS your learners will earn badges and levels, and compete against each other to climb leaderboards as they learn.


HTML5 is the the latest version of Hypertext Markup Language, which dictates the structure of web pages. It lets you deliver all sorts of multimedia via the web page, without having to download additional plugins like Flash Player. It’s also supported by all the main desktop and mobile browsers, so systems designed with HTML5 in mind should work properly on any device.


An ‘Instructional Designer’ designs and develops not just the learning content, but the learning experience. They work with subject matter experts to design the content, design the assessment methods and create all the multimedia and additional materials to accompany everything.

Instructor-Led Training

This is more akin to traditional classroom-based training, where an instructor will teach a group of learners in a physical location. This could be one stage of a blended learning process.

Interactive Classroom

This is a method of blending online learning with classroom-based learning. So with our Academy LMS, an instructor leading a classroom can push assignments to the learners during the session and get instant feedback to check they’re keeping up.


A ‘Learning Content Management System’ is focused on creating online learning content. They let developers interact and share assets and materials used when creating content, but place far less emphasis on managing the learner experience than you find in an LMS.


A ‘Learning Management System’, such as our Academy LMS, is all about managing the people. They come jam-packed full of features and host libraries of learning content. They let you design the learning path you want people to take, manage online and offline training, and run robust reports to track everyone’s progress.


A ‘Learning Record Store’ works with Tin Can API to keep track of a learner’s data. It allows for robust reporting, and could potentially follow a learner around between jobs.


Microlearning is the process of learning but on a small scale. This includes condensed learning units which usually take between 2-5 minutes to complete. Microlearning has come to prominence with the wide use of mobile learning in L&D. Which brings us onto our next topic…


Meaning ‘mobile learning’, this enables online learning to be accessed from portable devices, such as their mobile phones. It basically means that you can learn on the go!


A ‘Massive Open Online Course’ is one which takes place over the web and lets a huge number of people sign up and learn free of charge.


No, this isn’t anything to do with written exams! This actually stands for ‘Package Exchange Notification Services’. It allows one-click publishing from and authoring tool directly to an LMS.


Nowadays, everything can be personalised. From shoe designs, to cushions to wooden cheeseboards. It’s only right then that learners can now expect their training to be personalised too. Personalisation in terms of L&D can be used as a tool to engage learners. Our powerful learning products allows admins to push and pull content to certain learners, as well as filtering reports by country, region, division or their own predefined categories.


No, we’re not giving you any sass, this actually means ‘Software as a Service’. It means that the software is centrally hosted and licensed out to clients. Our Academy LMS is an example, and it means that you get automatic updates and easy administration.


This stands for ‘Sharable Content Object Reference Model’ and is the current standard in eLearning content. Basically, if your content complies with SCORM, then it should be able to run on most LMSs.

Skills Gap Analysis

This generally takes the form of a short test which assesses a learner’s existing competencies. Specific areas for improvement are highlighted and relevant learning content is pushed to them to help them target their learning.


This doesn’t mean ‘Small and Medium-sized Enterprises’, but rather ‘Subject Matter Expert’. These are experts in particular topics, who often assist Instructional Designers in building learning content. On our Academy LMS, learners can also ask questions to SMEs, and the answers are recorded as FAQs to help everyone in the future.

Social and Collaborative Learning

This learning methodology follows the viewpoint that two heads really are better than one.

By discussing their learning together, groups of learners can really boost their collective knowledge of a subject. This social method of learning also engages them much more with the topic, meaning the learning is absorbed and stored more effectively.

Our Academy LMS features a whole suite of social features to enable the 90% of learning which happens outside of formal training. From a Facebook-style newsfeed of comments to real-time live chat functionality, no learner can ever feel lonely!

Tin Can API/xAPI

Known as both the Tin Can API and Experience API, this is an up and coming way of allowing communication between learning content and learning systems. It records learning experiences and stores them in an LRS, allowing for robust reporting.

Final Word

The world of eLearning is fast-paced, as is Learning and Development. Wacky new terms and kooky buzzwords are therefore being introduced to the eLearning glossary every year.

Now that you’re an eLearning expert, you just need to get ready for your LMS launch! Click here to download our free guide: 28 Tips for a Successful LMS Launch.’

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