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The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative: a collaborative effort to utilize information technologies to modernize structured learning. Its ultimate goal is to provide access to the highest quality education and training that can be tailored to individual needs and delivered cost-effectively, whenever and wherever it is required. ADL sets the standards for SCORM courses.

A-B-C Summarize: a form of review where students in a class are assigned a different letter of the alphabet. They then must select a word starting with that letter that is related to the topic being studied.

Abstracting: summarizing and converting real-world events or ideas into true models.

Accessibility: the degree to which information on the web is made available to people with disabilities. For instance, people with disabilities such as visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive have the ability to access information from the web.

Accreditation: the recognition of an institution that meets specific measures of quality after being reviewed by a standards body.

Acronym Memory Method: a technique that combines the first letter of each word into a smaller word or phrase that makes information easier to remember. For example, to help remember the colors of the rainbow, ROY G. BIV stands for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet.

Action Projects: when ideas learned through research are tested and related through real-world situations.

Activating Prior Knowledge: a tool that helps learners connect to concepts about to be taught by using activities that relate to the current level of their knowledge. Active Learning: any method, including hands-on activities, that engages learners by matching the training to the learner’s understanding, interests and developmental level.

ADA: The Americans with Disabilities Act is a U.S. law passed in 1990 that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. This Act gives civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities and impacts businesses and organizations as both service providers and employers.

ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation) Model: an instructional design model that represents a flexible guideline for constructing effective training support tools.

Adaptive Learning Environments Model (ALEM): a method to integrate students with special needs into the classroom through a combination of individual and whole class instruction.

Adaptive Technology: technology used to adapt a computer device or piece of software for use by a person with a disability.

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder): a disorder in which a student may exhibit poor concentration, plus impulsivity and hyperactivity.

ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line): a type of DSL that uses the majority of the bandwidth to transmit information to the user, and a small part of the bandwidth to receive information from the user.

Adult Learning Theory: a theory pioneered by Malcolm Knowles, which describes learning motivators and how they differ in adults and children. Adults are more self-directed and autonomous in their learning, and bring more life experience to the learning process than children.

Advance Organizer: guidelines for an abstract introduction developed by David Ausubel. They were designed to activate prior knowledge and help students respond better to the training that is about to occur.

Affinity: a brainstorming approach that encourages less verbal members of a group to participate. All members of the group write responses to the problem or question on separate cards. The cards are then silently grouped by each member while the others observe. After a discussion, the agreed upon arrangement is recorded as an outline or diagram.

Affirmations: a motivation technique for students that involves boosting morale through positive comments.

AGO (Aims, Goals, Objectives): a strategy proposed by Edward de Bono to help students analyze the reasons behind their actions.

Agree/Disagree Matrix: a method for discussing and researching issues by polling students for agreement or disagreement with a statement. Their responses as a group are recorded in a matrix. Students then research the topic and record their responses. Lastly, small groups meet to discuss the results.

Agreement Circles: a tactic used to explore different opinions from students by placing them in a circle, facing toward the center. The teacher then makes a statement, and students who agree with it step toward the center of the circle.

AIAP (Alternative Interface Access Protocols): Used in assistive technology, it allows a user to get web pages in the form they choose for the device they choose. AIAP is under development by the V2 committee of the National Committee on Information Technology.

AICC: standards that apply to the development, delivery, and evaluation of training courses that are delivered via technology. The Aviation Industry CBT (computer-based training) Committee (AICC) is an international association of technology-based training professionals that develop training guidelines for the aviation industry.

Alt Text: an attribute that allows descriptive text to be inserted into HTML, to describe objects (usually images) on a web page. It also provides a text description that can be read out by a screen reader, so that a person with visual impairment can understand the nature, purpose and content of on-screen objects.

Alternative Assessments: allows teachers to evaluate their students’ understanding of a specific subject, or of their overall performance. Examples include: performance assessments, journals and portfolios.

Alternative to Recitation: similar to recitation, but the questions are generated by students. Students prepare by reading, so that they can generate questions, review, quiz, and evaluate.

Amblyopia: a condition, also known as “lazy eye,” that normally develops in early childhood, where a person does not fully use one eye.

Amendment: a revision or addition to an existing law.

Amplitude: the spread between the lowest and highest points in an analog wave.

Analog: a signal used for storing and transferring data that is received in the same form in which it is transmitted, although the amplitude and frequency may vary. Analog signals may be transmitted slower than digital signals, depending on the signal source and the medium through which the signal travels.

Analogies: a thinking skill that is demonstrated when a student gives examples that are similar, but not identical, to a target example.

Andragogy: a term coined by Malcolm Knowles to describe the way in which adults learn. The main points include: What’s in it for me? Let me decide how I’ll learn it. Where does this fit in relation to the other stuff I know? Sell me on learning this. Remove the obstacles from my path, please.

Anecdotes: a short account of an interesting or humorous incident used to encourage creativity or empathy from students. Anecdotes can help students make real-world connections to unfamiliar topics.

Anticipation Guide: a checklist written by the instructor to trigger existing knowledge.

AoD (audio on demand): see CoD.

API (application program interface): a language and message format built-in to an application that provides a way for operating systems or other computer programs to work together, speak to each other and share data.

Applet: a small Java program or application that runs on a browser and can be embedded in the HTML of a webpage. Applets are more secure than Java applications because they cannot access certain resources on the local computer, such as hard drives.

Application: software that allows a user to perform specific tasks or functions, like word processing, email, accounting, database management, creation of spreadsheets, generation of graphics, etc.

Application Cards: at the end of instruction, students write a real-world application of their new knowledge on a small card, and submit it to the teacher.

Applied Behavior Analysis: used to modify student or class behaviors.

Applied Imagination: a technique for simulating creativity, such as the use of questions as prompts to enable people to consider unrelated options.

Apraxia: a severe disorder characterized by the inability to speak or the struggle to speak clearly. This occurs when the muscles of the mouth cannot obey commands from the brain or when the brain cannot send those commands.

ARCS: acronym for Keller’s Theory of Motivation (attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction).

Articulation disorders: difficulty with the pronunciation of speech sounds due to imprecise placement, timing, speed or pressure of the throat, lips or tongue.

Artifact Strategy: the teacher presents carefully selected objects (artifacts) to the students, poses a problem, and allows students to conduct research on the object. Afterwards, the students are allowed to formulate answers to the problem.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange): a code that converts characters (letters, numerals and symbols) into numbers that computers can process.

ASP (Active Server Pages): a technology promoted by Microsoft that allows web developers to embed Visual Basic code into HTML documents, to make web applications more interactive.

ASP (Application Service Provider): a company that supplies software applications and/or software-related services over the Internet. ASPs allow companies to save money, time and resources by outsourcing some or all of their information technology needs.

Assessment: a measure or means to evaluate an individual’s knowledge level for various purposes, including a determination of readiness for learning, monitoring progress, and measuring the knowledge acquired after instruction.

Assessment item: a question or assessable activity used to determine whether the student truly understands and can apply the learning objective.

Asset: 1) Intellectual property (see Knowledge Asset). 2) Hardware and software owned by an organization.

Assistive Technology: equipment or software that enables people with disabilities to accomplish daily living tasks, assist them in communication, education, work or recreation activities. Some examples include screen readers and voice input software.

Associations: a mental connection or relation between thoughts, feelings, ideas or sensations.

Assumption Smashing: list the assumptions of the problem, and then explore what happens as you drop each of these assumptions individually or in combination.

Astigmatism: blurred vision caused by uneven curvature of lens or cornea.

Asynchronous Learning: a type of learning where interactions between instructors and students occurs with a time delay. Some examples are self-paced courses taken via the Internet or CD-ROM, Q&A mentoring, online discussion groups, and email.

ATM (asynchronous transfer mode): a network technology based on transferring information in packets of fixed sizes, enabling smooth transmission. ATM supports real-time voice and video as well as data, and can reach speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

Attitude: an internal state that influences an individual’s choices or the manner in which they behave. Attitudes represent a state of mind or disposition of an individual.

Audio bridge: a device used in audio conferencing that connects multiple telephone lines.

Audioconferencing: voice-only connection between more than two locations using standard telephone lines.

Audio-Visuals (A/V): educational equipment and applications that deal with sound and sight including: posters, paintings, slides, videos, films, audio tapes, videotapes, DVDs and (more recently) WAV and Flash files.

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

Augmentative Communication: special equipment that provides an alternative for spoken language.

Authentic Instruction: instruction that focuses on higher order thinking, depth of knowledge, real-world applications, and social interactions, and that is meaningful to students.

Authentic Questions: questions generated and prompted spontaneously by learners, not by instructors, in response to natural curiosity about the content of study.

Authoring tool: a software application used by teachers and instructional designers to create e-Learning courseware. Some examples of authoring tools include instructionally focused authoring tools, web-authoring and programming tools, knowledge-capture systems, and text- and file-creation tools.

Avatar: a virtual digital image representing a person in an online environment. In e-Learning applications, avatars usually represent students and instructors.


Backbone: a primary communication path that connects multiple users. Band: a range of frequencies, for example very low frequencies (VHF) or extremely high frequencies (EHF). A band has an upper and lower frequency limit.

Balanced Scorecard: using linked performance measures (financial, customer, internal process, and employee learning) to describe organizational strategies.

Bandwidth: the capacity of a communication channel to carry data. The greater the bandwidth, the faster the data transfer. Bandwidth can also limit the amount of information that is sent or received in a given time.

Basadur Simplex: a problem-solving approach whose steps include: problem finding, fact finding, problem defining, idea finding, evaluating and selecting, action planning, gaining acceptance and taking action.

Baud: an older measure of data-transmission speed, which was popular before BPS (bits per second). Baud refers to the number of changes in signaling events (such as changes in sound levels from an analog modem) that occur over a transmission medium per second. Older, slower technologies used one signaling event to transmit each bit, and in this case, a 300-baud modem also transmitted at 300 bps. But modern, faster technologies can transmit multiple bits in one signaling event, so a 9600-bps modem that can send 3 bits per signaling event, actually transmits at 3200 baud.

BBS (Bulletin Board System): an online community maintained by a host computer for posting information, carrying on discussions, uploading and downloading files, chatting, and other online services. BBSs are text-based and often relate to the specific hobbies or interests of their creators.

Be Here Now: a method created by David B. Ellis that helps to focus student attention in the beginning and to keep attention from wandering during training.

Before, During, and After: a metacognitive approach to reading that leads learners to activate prior knowledge ‘B’efore reading text, observe comprehension ‘D’uring reading, and review the subject matter ‘A’fter reading.

Behavior: a clear and explicit manner in which one acts. Behaviorist Models: training models based on the philosophy that learning alters behavior. Student behaviors that are rewarded will be repeated. Behaviors that are punished or ignored will decrease.

Benchmarking: the process of comparing curricula and other organizational information with best-practice programs.

Best Practices: a technique that results in a greater number of positive outcomes than negative outcomes, as compared to alternative procedures.

Binary Code: a computer code that expresses numbers, letters, and symbols in base-2 notation, using only the digits 0 and 1. Electronic components that are based on this code can exist only in two states: 0 or 1, off or on, inactive or active.

Biometrics: technologies that automatically identify people through bodily characteristics, such as fingerprints, eye retinas and voice patterns.

Bit: stands for Binary Digit. A bit is an electronic signal that is either on (1) or off (0). It is the smallest unit of information that computers use. All other information stored on the computer is composed of combinations of bits.

Blended Learning: a combination of learning methods, such as e-Learning, face-to-face instruction, group and individual study, and coaching.

Blog (Weblog): an extension of a personal web site, where users post informal journals of their thoughts and comments, updated frequently and normally reflecting the views of the blog’s creator.

Bloom’s Taxonomy: a model that organizes thinking processes into six levels of complexity: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

Bluetooth: a wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to send data and voice signals between electronic devices over short distances.

Bobby: a tool used to assess web pages for accessibility. This validation tool was developed by CAST.

Bookmark: a web-page link stored in a browser for quick and easy retrieval. Bookmarks eliminate the redundant process of typing an Internet address each time you visit a favorite web site.

BPS (Bits Per Second): a standard measure of data-transmission speed in a communications system; the number of bits transmitted or received each second.

Braille: a system of touch reading for the blind, using raised dots evenly arranged in specific patterns.

Brain Dominance: the use of one hemisphere of the brain more than the other.

BrainWriting: a problem-solving technique similar to brainstorming, except that individuals write their ideas separately.

Brain-based Learning: an instructional-design model based on the idea that learning activities are more effective if they occur in an atmosphere that is compatible with the way the brain learns.

Brainstorming: a group process where all ideas are accepted and evaluated without judgment.

Branching: progressing through a path of tutorial subject matter based on the learner’s responses to a series of questions.

Bridge: a device that connects two or more sections of a network, but does not handle routing between network users.

Broadband: a wide transmission channel that allows information to be sent at many different frequencies or frequency bands.

Broadcast: (noun) television or radio signals transmitted over public airways, to reach mass audiences. The term is also applied to emails (or other types of message distribution) that are sent over communication networks to all members, rather than to specific members, of a group or department.

Browser: a software application that displays web pages originally written in the text-based HTML language in a user-friendly and accessible format. The two most widely used browsers are Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.

Buddy System: a method of pairing students during the beginning of a class, to create pairs who are responsible for notifying one another about assignments that are missed due to an absence.

Business Requirements: the conditions an e-Learning solution should meet to align with the needs of such stakeholders as content developers, subject matter experts, learners, managers, and training administrators.

Business Process Re-engineering: a management technique used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a process within an organization.

Buzz Sessions: group discussions that are small and informal.

Byte: traditionally, an 8-bit unit of information, with each bit being either 0 or 1. In formal ASCII code, byte contents are standardized to mean something to computers. For example, the byte “01000001” means capital A. But software applications and computerized equipment often add their own proprietary byte definitions. Some applications (such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean computer displays) need more than 8 bits to represent each individual character or symbol, and are said to be “double-byte” applications.


C-4 Yourself: the four components of a project strategy: challenge, choice, collaboration, and creation.

Cable Modem: designed to operate over cable TV lines. Used to achieve fast access to the web, since its coaxial cable provides much greater bandwidth than telephone lines.

CAI (Computer-Assisted Instruction): the use of a computer to provide educational tutorials, practice, simulations, or games. CAI is used for both preliminary and remedial training, and normally does not require that a computer be connected to a network or that it link with learning resources outside the course.

Calculated Intangible Value: a technique for assigning a dollar value to intangible assets by measuring the organization’s ability to outperform a comparable competitor, and quantifying this as the value of the firm’s intangible assets.

Capsule Vocabulary: a teaching strategy in which a student explores a few vocabulary words related to a specific subject, to practice using the words.

Career Exploration: assisting students in making decisions about their future professions, and about how to get jobs in their chosen fields through counseling and related activities.

Carousel Brainstorming: topics or questions are posted throughout the room about a specific subject. Student groups then brainstorm as they visit each of the topics around the room. This is a good method to get the students talking and interacting about the subject.

Cascade: a series of networks, where the output of each network serves as the input for the next.

Cascading Style Sheet (CSS): an HTML feature that allows web page users and developers to control the way a web page appears when displayed in a browser, by applying specific HTML style sheets. Each style sheet controls a single different design element of the web page.

Case Studies: a real-life scenario or problem used to illustrate a learning concept that students must analyze, discuss and solve. The scenario used may be hypothetical or factual.

CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology): a nonprofit organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals, especially those with disabilities, through the research and development of innovative, technology-based educational resources and strategies.

Categorization: a cognitive process of arranging or sorting concepts into categories according to a variety of criteria.

Causal Mapping: a form of concept mapping, where the causes and effects of a situation are clearly identified.

Cause and Effect: showing the relationship between two actions or occurrences; explaining why something happened or what happened as a result of something else.

CBT (Computer-Based Training): training conducted using computers for both instruction and management of the teaching and learning process. CAI (Computer-Assisted Instruction) and CMI (Computer-Managed Instruction) are part of CBT, though the terms CBT and CAI are often used interchangeably.

CC/PP (Composite Capability/Preference Profile): a description of device capabilities and user preferences that will be delivered to a web site, so that content can be adapted. It also enables an application server to retrieve profile information from a client’s handheld device or from a device vendor.

CD-ROM: a data storage medium similar to an audio CD, but which can hold more than 600 megabytes of read-only digital information. It uses optical technology for storing and playing back audio, video, text, and other information in digital form.

Cerebral Palsy: a disorder of the central nervous system that affects body movements and muscle coordination. It usually develops during the fetal stage or infancy, and is caused by damage to one or more areas of the brain.

Certification: awarding of a credential in a field after an individual has demonstrated levels of knowledge or skill that are defined by organizational or professional criteria.

Characterization: a form of analysis describing the distinctive features of an object or concept.

Chaining: using reinforcement to encourage individual responses to occur in a sequential order, to facilitate the achievement of a complex behavior or skill.

Chat: a form of interactive online communication in a virtual environment. Members engage in text-message “chat rooms” through a real-time computer network where their messages are not stored. Chat can be used in e-Learning for student questions, instructor feedback, or even group discussions.

Chat Room: a virtual room on the Internet, an intranet, or other network, where real-time text discussions occur. Chat rooms support conversations among multiple people at once, unlike one-on-one instant messaging.

Cheat Notes: a summarization technique where students prepare a single note card of information they believe will be on a test. Students are allowed to bring these cards to the test, but as students gain confidence during the exam, the cards are taken away.

Checklist: a tool that lists items to be remembered. They can also be used directly as assessments or as a way to prepare and review for assessments. Chronological Sequencing: an instructional approach in which objectives are presented one after another, in chronological order.

Chunk: (noun) a distinct portion of content that often consists of several learning topics grouped together. (verb) to divide content into separate portions or combine smaller content elements into groups.

CIRC (Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition): a cooperative approach to reading in which students practice in pairs, to prepare for a teacher-assessment quiz, exam, paper, etc. These assessments are not administered until the student’s teammates decide they are prepared for it.

Circles of Knowledge: a method of learning that prompts students to answer: 1) 3 Facts I Know, 2) 3 Questions I Want Answered and 3) Answers to My Questions.

Circles of Learning: a learning method devised by Roger and David Johnson, based on the idea that “two heads are better than one.” It builds whole-class learning through several small groups. Learning methods such as these also foster interaction among students.


Daily Outline: a posted, written overview of what will be done during the day, to allow students to prepare. These outlines typically list all work that should be done before the class, work that will be done during the day, and work to be done after the class, along with a brief description of the concepts to be covered and the resources needed (including books, handouts, and other tools).

Dashboard: a visual collection of information that is usually tailored to accommodate the needs of a specific role or topic. The dashboard is typically arranged on one screen so that it can be reviewed quickly and conveniently.

Data Analysis: connecting students to real-world problems and improving their critical thinking skills, by having them gather and analyze information.

Data Gathering: collecting information in a rigorous way, for use in statistical analysis, scientific research, or to support arguments in a field of study.

DDA (Disability Discrimination Act): prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities, during job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and all other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

De-facto Standard: a specification that has not been officially recognized by an accredited agency, but which is accepted and used as a standard by a majority of practitioners.

Debate: a discussion or argument involving opposing points of view, carried out according to specific rules and used in the classroom to engage students. These discussions help students build mental connections to the curriculum’s subject matter.

Debriefing: a form of reflection that immediately follows an activity.

Decision Making: helping students understand how to make better decisions and improve their problem-solving skills, which also helps them confront challenges outside the classroom.

Deduction: a process of reasoning, in which a conclusion follows from stated premises. Also known as an inference acquired by reasoning from the general to the specific.

Deductive Inquiry: a form of investigation with four basic components: presentation of a generalization, discussion of core elements of the generalization, student exploration of the elements, and student presentation of examples of the generalized concept.

Default: a setting that a computer system or software program uses automatically, until it is changed by the user.

Defining: an individual, whether a student or a teacher, states the meaning of a word or phrase.

Delivery: the method of transferring content and information to learners and instructors via CD-ROM, books, personal instruction, or other media.

Delivery System: the way of organizing, presenting and distributing instruction, typically using a variety of media, methods and materials.

Demonstration: an activity that shows students how things work or happen.

Description: describing something. When done by teachers, descriptions are often used to introduce new information. When done by students, descriptions are often used to demonstrate knowledge of a concept.

Design Evaluation Chart: a method of organizing design information to facilitate its evaluation. The chart relates skills, objectives, and associated test items, allowing easy comparisons of all components in the instructional design.

Designing: a form of planning or developing.

Desktop Videoconferencing: Videoconferencing via personal computer.

Development: 1) Learning or other types of activities that prepare a person for additional job responsibilities or enable them to gain knowledge or skills. 2) The creation of training materials or courses, as in content development or e-Learning development.

Developmental Disability: a condition that prevents a child from developing normally and that may result in mental retardation or autism.

Dialectical Approaches: a discussion or argument in which a thesis and its antithesis are broken down into related core ideas, so that participants can evaluate or challenge the assumptions.

Dialectical Journal: a two-column note-taking or journaling method that features quotes or ideas from the text in one column, and ideas from the reader in the other column.

Dial-Up: a low-speed Internet connection that is opened over telephone lines using a digital-to-analog modem.

Didactic Instruction: teacher-centered instruction, in which the teacher tells the student what to think about a topic. Used for the delivery of factual (not debated) information.

Didactic Questions: questions that tend to have a single answer and allow students to demonstrate lower-order thinking (such as, recall).

Digital: a bistate (0-1, on-off) electronic signal for storing and transferring data. The non-continuous nature of digital signals makes them relatively easy to store, manipulate, and transmit. Using advanced signal processing, digital signals can also be transmitted much faster than analog signals.

Digital Divide: a popular term for the gap between those who can and cannot afford (or access) computers and related technologies.

Digital Signal (DS): the rate and format of a broadband digital signal, such as DS-1 or DS-3. Often used synonymously with T, as in T1 or T3, although the T technically refers to the type of equipment.

Direct Instruction: teacher-centered instruction that includes lectures, presentations and student recitation.

Direct-Interactive Teaching Model: direct instruction cycles that typically include checking previous work, presenting new material, student practice with new material, feedback from the teacher, independent practice, and regular reviews.

Directed Paraphrasing: students are asked to summarize or explain a concept or theory to a specific (imaginary) audience. For example, a medical student might be asked to explain what neurotransmitters are, and phrase the explanation so it would make sense to a hospitalized patient.

Directed Reading Thinking Activity (DRTA): throughout reading, questions are used to activate students’ existing knowledge, and students are encouraged to make their own predictions.

Directions: instructions given by the teacher to the students, describing what they should be doing.

Directive Model: teacher-centered training model that focuses on student activities, with teacher guidance and coordinated transmission of information.

Disability: a physical or mental impairment that renders tasks performed by an individual more difficult or impossible to achieve. The result of a physical or mental condition that prevents one from developing, achieving or functioning in an educational setting at a normal pace.

Disability Rights Commission (DRC): the Disability Rights Commission’s goal is to eliminate discrimination against disabled people. It started operations on 25th April 2000.

Disc/Disk: see floppy disk, hard disk, or CD-ROM.

Disk Drive: the part of a computer that reads and writes data to a floppy disk, hard disk, or optical disk (CD, CD-ROM, DVD, DVD-ROM, etc.)

Discrimination: distinguishing one stimulus from another and responding differently to the various stimuli. Failing to make reasonable adjustments, where physical arrangements or features place a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage.

Discussion: classroom discussions typically begin with the teacher describing the goal or purpose of the discussion. A discussion may be initiated by posing an open-ended question. Teachers then employ techniques to encourage students to participate in the discussion, including calling on specific individuals, or assigning individuals to pose as “experts” or leaders during the discussion. Many cooperative activities include small- group discussions, as teams work together.

Discussion Board: an Internet or intranet forum where users can post messages for others to read.

Discussion Forum: a place where people can exchange messages of common interest.

Discussion Group: in the classroom, a discussion group is formed when a discussion is carried out by a portion of the class. Outside the classroom, discussion groups are composed of individuals with similar interests. These groups meet regularly to discuss issues of interest.

Discussion Web: a form of discussion that starts with individual students formulating a response to a question, then students pair up to reformulate their response, and the pairs combine into groups of four, to reformulate again. These larger groups then share their final answers with the entire class.

Distance Education: a training 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 learning or asynchronous learning, through one-on-one or one-on-many channels, plus written correspondence, text/graphic/CD-ROM exchanges, audio/video conferencing, online learning, interactive TV, and FAX. Distance Education does not preclude the use of the traditional classrooms. Distance Education is broader than, and includes, e-Learning.

Distance Learning: often used synonymously with Distance Education, but which is actually Distance Education’s desired outcome.

Distributed Learning: often used synonymously with Distance Learning, but which is actually Distance Learning’s desired outcome, from both online and traditional training-delivery methods.

D-LINK: an accessibility link in the form of a capital “D” near an image. It provides a longer description of the image or its purpose than is feasible using alt text.

DO IT: Define problem, Open self to new ideas, Identify best solution, Transform idea to action.

Domain: a cluster of related competencies. Also a subject-matter area.

Domain of Learning: a type of learning outcome that is distinguished by the type of learning performance required, the type of mental processing required, and the relevant conditions of learning.

Double Cell Diagram: a form of graphic organizer linking two items.

Download: (noun) A file that’s transferred or copied to a user’s computer from a connected computer, network, commercial online service, or Internet/intranet site. (verb) To transfer or copy a file to a user’s computer from connected computer, network, commercial online service, or Internet/intranet site.

Down’s Syndrome: a congenital condition in which chromosomal abnormalities result in a specific kind of mental retardation.

Drafts: students complete writing or creative work in stages, to facilitate progress from early idea capture, through increasingly detailed revisions and edits. (See Quintillion Progression).

Drill: practice by repetition, often used to reinforce grammar and basic math skills.

Drive Reduction: a theory of learning developed by Clark Hull that describes the drives (needs) individuals have, and says that learning occurs because individuals strive to reduce their drives (to satisfy their needs).

DRTA (Directed Reading Thinking Activity): throughout reading, questions are used to activate students’ existing knowledge. Students are then encouraged to make predictions.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line): a broadband Internet access method for high-speed data transfer over copper telephone lines. DSL is available to subscribers within a certain distance of their telephone company’s Central Office.

DTD: a file that defines how applications that are interpreting a document should display its content. It is used in HTML, XML, and other markup languages.

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative: an open forum engaged in the development of interoperable online metadata standards that support a broad range of purposes and business models.

DVD: Digital Video Disk (also sometimes referred to as Digital Versatile Disk). A storage medium that uses optical technology to write and play back audio, video, text, and other information in digital form. Offers far greater capacity than CDs.

DVI (Digital Video Interactive): a format for recording digital-video onto compact disk, with both compression and full-motion images.

Dyads: a group of two students.

Dynamic Capabilities: an organization’s ability to integrate, build, and reconfigure its competencies (both internal and external) to keep up with rapidly changing business environments.

Dyscalculia: a learning disability that impairs a child’s ability to do math problems.

Dysfluency: a break in the smooth flow of speech; stuttering.

Dysgraphia: a learning disability that impairs a child’s ability to write.

Dyslexia: a learning disability that impairs a child’s ability to read.


Echo Cancellation: the process of removing acoustic echoes from a videoconferencing room.

Education: the learning process by which knowledge and skills are obtained through teaching concepts and perspectives.

Effectiveness: a measure of whether a procedure or action produces its desired effect.

Efficiency: a measure of the timeliness, suitability, and affordability of an action.

EIT: a number of devices, device types or technologies that use electronic means to transmit and present information to users. Examples include computers, cell/mobile phones, PDAs, televisions, and many other devices.

Elaboration: a thinking skill that involves expressing and developing an idea or process in greater length and detail.

E-Learning (Electronic Learning): a broad term for computer instruction and courseware provided via Internet, LAN/WAN intranet/extranet, audio/videotape, satellite broadcast, interactive TV, CD-ROM, and more.

E-mail (Electronic Mail): a system for sending and receiving messages electronically between personal computers; a means of connecting students to people around the world for distance learning purposes or to collaborate on projects.

Email List: a software program for automating mailing lists and discussion groups on a computer network.

Emergent Literacy: the idea that learning to read or write does not occur quickly but is developed through many small steps that take place during early childhood. The process begins naturally, through in-home activities such as talking with and reading with the child, then continues to improve in the classroom with more formal strategies.

End User: the individual for whom a particular technology or application is designed and who uses the technology for its purpose. In e-Learning, the end user is usually the student.

End-to-End Solution: a marketing term, used by large e-Learning suppliers, that implies that their products and services will handle all facets of e-Learning.

Enterprise-Wide e-Learning: electronic learning for all, or most, employees in a company. It often facilitates a strategic change of direction within a very short timeline. It can also be used to support a core department, such as sales, finance or marketing.

EPSS (Electronic Performance Support System): a computer or other device that provides workers with information and resources to help them achieve a task or accomplish performance requirements.

Ergonomics: the applied science of equipment-design principles relating to the comfort, efficiency and safety of users, and intended to maximize productivity.

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning): the use of packaged, rather than proprietary, software that helps a company manage and serve all departments within an enterprise.

Error Analysis: teachers analyzing the errors students make in areas such as mathematical computation, grammar, language, literature interpretation, etc. and using that analysis to guide further instruction.

Essay: a short, concise literary composition on a single subject that usually presents the author’s views.

Estimating: to propose an approximate answer to a problem or question.

Estimation Lineup: an activity intended to trigger students’ prior knowledge before new material is presented.

Ethernet: a set of local-area network (LAN) standards, in which computers communicate over twisted-pair cables at either 10 or 100 mbps.

E-Training: See TBT.

Evaluation: any efficient method for collecting information about the impact and effectiveness of a learning plan. The results can be used to improve the plan, determine whether the learning objectives have been accomplished, and assess the value of the plan to the organization.

Exaggeration: a method used by teachers to emphasize key points in a lesson.

Example: an instance, model, or paradigm that represents a group of ideas.

Expectation Outline: a pre-reading activity in which students skim the assigned reading, then immediately write key concepts that they expect to learn, when completing the assigned reading.

Experiential Learning: Carl Roger’s theory that there are two types of learning: cognitive, in which the individual is studying or memorizing simply because the work is assigned; and experiential, in which the individual is learning to satisfy their needs and wants, because they want to do so.

Experiment: a test conducted under controlled conditions, to demonstrate something known or discover something new.

Experimental Inquiry: generating and testing hypotheses to explain phenomena.

Explanation: a means to justify and answer a question that should take into account prior knowledge and learning. In the classroom, explanations are given by both students and teachers. Students are often asked to assess their knowledge by explaining different concepts. Teachers are asked for explanations during all phases of instruction, to clarify a situation.

Explicit Knowledge: knowledge that can be described and stored in specific media.

Extensibility: adding new features, components, or services to a core set of capabilities, to expand and adapt an e-Learning application or infrastructure.

Extension Teaching: outreach programs where educators travel to the student’s location to teach topics of professional or personal interest.

Extranet: a local-area network (LAN) or wide-area network (WAN) that uses TCP/IP, HTML, SMTP and other open Internet-based standards to transport information to people inside (and some people outside) an organization, under the organization’s control.

Extrapolation of Data: an exercise in which students are asked to predict what would occur outside the range of a given set of data.


F2F (Face-to-Face): a term used to describe traditional classroom environments. Facilitative Questioning: an approach whereby a teacher or counselor poses open-ended questions to students, to allow them to explore ideas that may be complex or emotionally difficult. There are no right or wrong answers in this approach.

Facilitative Tools: electronic features, such as Web-pages, mailing lists, chat programs, and streaming audio and video, that are used to deliver online courses.

Facilitator: an online instructor who assists, directs, and stimulates learning during an online course.

Fading: a technique of cognitive apprenticeship whereby the instructor transfers full control of a performance to the learner and gradually withdraws support.

False Starter: a person who registers for, but does not complete, an e-Learning course.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions): an informational list of questions and answers about a topic, product, or service, directed primarily to new users. FAQs appear on Websites and discussion boards and within desktop applications.

Fax (Facsimile): (noun) printed text and graphic information transmitted over standard telephone lines. (verb) to transmit text and graphic information over standard telephone lines.

Feedback: any means by which a teacher communicates with a student about the quality or correctness of the student’s work or actions.

Fiber-Optic Cable: glass fiber used for laser transmission of data, audio, and video. Fiber-optic cable has a much greater bandwidth capacity than coaxial cable or copper wire.

Field Observation: students leave the classroom to observe events, organisms, and objects in their natural surroundings. Usually includes the collection and recording of data in a field journal.

Field Trial: the third stage of “formative evaluation,” where a product or program is evaluated I use, in the actual setting for which it is intended. Also, the second phase of “summative evaluation,” where a product or program is tested for its ability to do what it was designed to do.

Field Trip: an activity that occurs outside the classroom, for providing hands-on experience with objects or people that only exist in specific places. Target locations for field trips can include museums, zoos, places of business, farms, colleges, theaters, historical monuments or buildings, forests, wetlands, nature parks, or the grounds of the school itself.

File Server: a computer that stores and manages data files and software on a computer network, giving users the capability of sharing information and other resources.

Films: motion pictures can be used to enhance learning of literature, language, or historical events.

Filmstrips: a form of presentation in which a series of still images are projected onto a screen. To accompany the images, an audio tape is usually played, which contains cues that advance the film in synchrony with the audio. This format is still used in a few places, but has largely been superseded by videotapes and interactive web pages.

Find Your Partner: a method for assigning students to groups and at the same time reviewing previous concepts. Equations, sentences, or questions and answers are written on pieces of paper, which are cut into sections. The sections are distributed to students, who compare their sections until they find matches.

Finding and Investigating Problems: a key element of scientific research is finding and investigating problems. Exposing children to real-life data, and asking them to “create” problems from this data, can result in more meaningful problem-solving and a deeper understanding of “what science is.”

Firewall: specialized hardware or software designed to secure a computer or network from unauthorized access.

FireWire: Apple Computer’s trademarked name for its high-speed serial bus supporting the IEEE 1394 data-transfer standard. FireWire enables the connection of up to 63 devices, at transfer speeds up to 400 and 800 mbps.

First Important Priorities (FIP): Edward de Bono’s process for listing and then prioritizing options. The technique is useful in decision-making and in strengthening critical thinking skills.

Fishbone: an organizing tool to help students visualize how many events can be tied to, or contribute to, a result.

Fishbowl: discussion format where students are selected from the class. They sit in front of the class as a panel, to discuss topics while the class observes. Then discussion is opened to the entire class.

Five Whys?: asking a chain of “why questions,” with each question deeper into the root cause of a problem.

Flash: authoring software by Adobe (formerly Macromedia) that allows designers to use simple “vector graphics” to create computer animations that can be viewed by any browser with the Flash Player plug-in. Flash is also used to develop fully interactive websites, presentations, video interfaces, and environments.

Flash Cards: traditional flash cards are note cards with a question, problem, or fact on one side, and the answer or a related fact on the other side. Flash cards can be used by individual students for independent practice, or can be used by pairs of students to practice as a team. More recently, online flash cards have appeared on the Internet. Online flash cards take many forms, but typically include either a box where you can type your answer or choose from multiple answers.

Floppy Disk (Floppy Diskette): a data storage medium used with older personal computers. Current floppy disks can store up to 1.44 MB of data and are usually 3 ½ inches in size. Older floppy disks were 5 ¼ inches in size. Also spelled “floppy disc.”


Games: games can take many forms, but in the classroom, any activity that involves a contest, competition, social interaction, and some form of prize or award would be considered a game. Classroom game activities are typically not graded, but could be, depending upon the situation. Student participation is usually based on the desire to contribute to a team or to individually achieve some prize or recognition. Most games have “winners,” but even the “losers” should feel that their learning experience was both enjoyable and valuable.

Gaps: students are given sentences or sequences with gaps (missing words, numbers, or symbols) and are asked to fill in the parts that are absent.

GATHER Model: an inquiry-based model used in the teaching of history. The steps include: Get an overview, Ask questions, Triangulate the data, Hypothesize, Explore and interpret data, and Record and support conclusions.

General Inquiry: an instructional strategy in which students learn to identify and explore problems, then use discovered facts to form a generalized response to the problem.

General Learner Characteristics: relatively stable overall traits (not influenced by instruction) that describe the learners in a given target population.

Generalizing: to restate information to illustrate its basic principles.

General-to-Specific Sequencing: an instructional approach in which objectives are presented to learners, beginning with general principles and proceeding to specific concepts. Compare to: Chronological, Known-to-Unknown, Part-to-Part-to-Part, Part-to-Whole, Part-to-Whole-to Part, Spiral, Step-by-Step, Topical, Unknown-to-Known, and Whole-to-Part.

Generative Learning Model: a four phase process (preliminary, focus, challenge, and application) that encourages students to “do something” with information. This constructivist approach allows students to construct (or create) meaning through their active use of information.

Generative Vocabulary Strategies: examples include Possible Sentences, Keyword Strategy, and Vocabulary Self-collection Strategy (VSS).

Genetic Epistemology: Jean Piaget proposed that children pass through different stages of cognitive development. For example, during very early stages, children are not aware of the permanence of objects, so hiding an object causes the child to lose interest. Once the child has gained the ability to think of objects as still existing even when out of sight, the child will begin to look for missing objects.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format): a file format developed by CompuServe to store images. GIFs support 256 colors, transparency, and interlacing. This format is often used for Web images because they compress well.

Gigabyte (GB): 1000 megabytes, just over one billion bytes, 1,073,741,824 characters of computer memory, and roughly equivalent to a thousand novels.

Globalization: 1) the tailoring of content to include clear, simple, consistent, grammatically correct text that eliminates slang, gender references, and cultural or generational idioms. 2) The process of deploying a single system worldwide that meets a variety of needs. 3) Integrating several working systems into one.

Goal: a broad, general statement of instructional intent that may be expressed in terms of what learners will do or achieve.

Goal Analysis: a technique used to analyze a goal, to identify the sequence of operations and decisions required to achieve it.

Grant Writing: often takes place in college, secondary education, or professional non-profit settings. A grant is a financial award, from government or industry, that is intended to fund a project with wide applications. Grant writing, as a process, involves finding and investigating problems, writing persuasive text, researching related work, and demonstrating the feasibility of the proposed work.

Granularity: 1) the degree of detail into which something can be divided. 2) The number of discrete components making up any type of content or system.

Graphic Organizer: any visual framework that helps the learner make connections between concepts. Some forms of graphic organizers are used before training, to remind the learner about what they already know about a subject. Other graphic organizers are used during training, to provide cues about what to look for in the structure of the resources or information. Graphic organizers also can be used during review activities, to remind students of the number and variety of components they should be remembering.

Graphing: charting or developing a visual diagram that represents numerical data.

Group Investigation: the class is divided into teams, which then select topics to investigate, gather information, prepare reports, and present their findings to the entire class.

Group Work: work performed involving two or more students.

Group Writing: students work in teams of two or three to brainstorm, write and edit a document.

Group-Based Instruction: 1) the use of learning activities and materials that are designed for training groups of learners. 2) Interactive, group-paced instruction.

GUI (Graphical User Interface): a computer interface that presents information in a user-friendly way, using pictures and icons.

Guided Discovery: teaching model where students learn through explorations, but with directions from teacher.

Guided Discussion: similar to recitations, but the purpose is to help students make interpretations.

Guided Practice: guided practice is a kind of educational scaffolding. It allows learners to attempt things they would not be capable of without assistance. In the classroom, guided practice usually looks like a combination of individual work, close observation by the teacher, and short segments of individual or whole-class instruction. In computer- or Internet-based learning, guided practice has come to mean instructions presented on-screen, on which learners can act. Their action may be to perform an activity using a program that is running at the same time, or interacting with a simulation that is embedded in the program or web page.

Guided Questioning: a form of scaffolding for reading, in which the instructor’s questions provide many clues about what is happening in the reading. As the student’s comprehension improves, the questions become less supportive.

Guided Reading: structured reading where short passages are read, then student interpretations are immediately recorded, discussed and revised.

Guided Writing: may consist of a teacher making suggestions to an individual student; or it may be whole-class brainstorming, followed by a question-and-answer session to clarify what will be written. In all forms of guided writing, the teacher’s role is to encourage student responses.


Habits of Mind: focuses on the notion that students can learn more effectively if they regulate their own thought processes.

Hands-On: any instructional activity where students work with tangible objects relevant to the training content.

Hard Disk: a computer’s main non-RAM data storage, which is usually housed in the computer’s Central Processing Unit (CPU). A rotating magnetic disk that holds more data (and can be read faster) than floppy disks, and usually also holds more data than the computer’s internal Random-Access Memory (RAM).

Hard Drive: high-capacity computer storage on one or more rotating magnetic disks.

Head Pointer: a device attached to the user’s head that enables them to move a pointer on the screen.

Heuristic: an educated guess made to reduce the amount of time needed to solve a problem. Also known as a rule of thumb or guideline.

Hierarchical Analysis: a system used to identify important secondary skills that are needed to achieve an objective, and how each skill relates to the others. For each subordinate skill in the analysis, the instructor should ask “What must the student know how to do, to learn the specific sub-skills being considered?”

Hierarchy: a form of classification that both ranks and connects a group of concepts or objects.

Higher Order Thinking Skills: any thinking that goes beyond remembering basic facts. Two important reasons to improve higher-order thinking skills are 1) to enable students to apply facts to solve real world problems and 2) to improve the retention of information.

Highlighting: emphasizing key concepts (usually within text) by marking them with a fluorescent marker as a way to easily reference them at a later date. Some word processors also allow similar highlighting within text files.

Holistic Instruction: a form of teaching that uses long-term (or “authentic”) problems and activities that are multi-faceted.

Home Page: the opening page or main document that appears when you visit a web site, which also contains the site’s key links to related content. Home Pages are accessed using a World Wide Web address (URL) and are maintained by a person, organization, or group.

Homebound Instruction: a teacher travels to students who are unable to attend school.

Homework: work assigned by instructors, to be done outside the classroom to reinforce material covered in class.

Host: a computer system connected to a network that distributes and receives information from other computers.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): a markup language that structures text and images for viewing on the World Wide Web.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): an Internet application protocol that governs how information is transmitted on the World Wide Web.

Hub: a device that connects multiple communication lines or types of equipment (for example, Ethernet or USB hubs).

Human Resource Development (HRD): a term coined by Leonard Nadler to describe organized learning experiences (such as training, education and development) that employers offer within specific timeframes, to improve employee performance or personal growth.

Humor: a way to motivate students and build community spirit in the classroom.

Hypermedia: a computer-based information-retrieval system that gives users access to a variety of electronic media, including audio, video and graphics.

Hypertext: a system for retrieving information from Internet “servers” using PC-based “client” software. Hypertext includes highlighted text in web pages that links viewers to related information.

Hypothesis: a tentative explanation for patterns or observations, which can be tested through further observations.


Ice Breakers: an exercise, presented as a game, to help people get familiar with each other in new situations and environments.

ICT (Information and Communication Technology): a generic name for all the technologies involved in communicating with computers.

Idea Recording: mechanisms to capture ideas whenever they occur.

Illustrating: the use of pictures or diagrams to clarify, explain or describe.

ILS (Integrated Learning System): a complete software, hardware and network system for instruction that provides curriculum and lessons organized by level. An ILS also includes a number of support tools, such as assessments, record keeping, report writing, and user-information files for identifying learning needs, monitoring progress, and maintaining student records.

ILT (Instructor-led Training): delivery of a course in a traditional classroom setting, where an instructor guides a group of students.

Image Map: an image that is logically separated into areas, each of which displays different related content when clicked. Often used on the Web in navigation links to related topics.

Imagineering: a fusion of imagination and engineering that helps learners visualize problem solutions using existing scientific knowledge.

IMS (Instructional Management System) Global Learning Consortium: coalition of government organizations dedicated to defining and distributing open architecture specifications for e-Learning products.

Inclusion: allowing all students to participate in the school community, regardless of their individual strengths or limitations.

Independent Practice: activities or exercises that are completed without any intervention from a teacher. Many of these activities are completed using a computer.

Individualization: tailoring training around the abilities, knowledge, skills, interests, motivations and goals of individual students.

Individualized Instruction: students systematically designing individual learning activities and materials, based on their interests, abilities and experiences.

Induction Matrix: a graphic organizer that users a grid to compare concepts and categories. The matrix is started at the beginning of a lesson, and as students learn, they update it to reflect their new knowledge.

Induction: using specific facts or ideas to build broader principles.

Inductive Inquiry: logical teaching that follows the methods of scientific inquiry. Steps usually include: searching literature, making observations, generating hypotheses, designing and performing experiments, analyzing results, and repeating the cycle.

Inductive Thinking: analyzing specific observations to reach general conclusions.

Inert Knowledge: knowledge a learner has acquired, but fails to activate in appropriate situations.

Inferring: a thinking skill that is demonstrated when a student makes conclusions based on content from reading, or from triggered prior knowledge.

Information Architecture: a design specification for how information should be treated and organized. In Web design, the term describes the organization of online content into categories and the creation of an interface for displaying those categories.

Information Commons: a virtual or physical space that is conducive to the effective sharing of ideas and information.

Information Mapping: a structured method for analyzing, organizing and visually presenting information, based on the needs of the target audience, learning theory, human-factors engineering and cognitive science. The process of Information Mapping was developed by Robert E. Horn, founder of Information Mapping, Inc. (

Information Processing Model: studies conducted by theorists to describe learning in terms of how memories are acquired and later accessed. Key theorists in this field include Robert M. Gagne and George A. Miller.

Infrastructure: the underlying base or framework of a system. In e-Learning, an infrastructure may include the means by which voice, video and data are transferred between sites and processed.

Innovating: altering text or work in such a way that the original format is still recognizable, but new concepts, contexts or ideas are introduced.

Inquiry: a system in which students solve problems or answer questions by forming tentative answers or hypotheses, and then analyzing collected data, to provide evidence for or against their hypotheses.

Instant Messaging (IM): the transmission of electronic messages over computer networks, using software that displays users’ buddy lists (of friends, family, and co-workers) and immediately displays messages on recipients’ screens.

Instruction: a planned process for conveying knowledge to learners and facilitating learning.

Instructional Analysis: a procedure applied to an instructional goal, to identify the primary and secondary skills that are required for students to achieve the goal.

Instructional Context: the physical and psychological environment in which instruction is delivered or in which knowledge transfer occurs.

Instructional Design: systematic instructional needs assessment, development, evaluation, implementation, and maintenance of materials and programs.

Instructional Design Theory: a collection of scientific doctrines relating to learner characteristics, instructional methods, learning environments and outcomes.

Instructional Designer: an individual who develops the methodology and delivery systems for presenting course content.

Instructional Goal: a generic statement of learner outcomes, related to an identified problem and a needs assessment that can be achieved through instruction.

Instructional Objective: a detailed explanation of what students should be able to do at the end of instruction.

Instructional Products: content-related objects, such as books, job aids, student and instructor guides, and web pages.

Instructional Strategy: a general approach to selecting and sequencing learning activities.

Instructional Systems Design: an organized process for developing a curriculum or instructional materials program.

Instructor’s Manual: a collection of documents to help teachers use instructional materials.

Integration: combining hardware, software, and (in e-Learning) content into a functional system.

Integrative Learning Model: a holistic approach for strengthening multiple aspects of a student’s life, including academic, physical, personal and emotional.

Intellectual Property: the technological or process knowledge and capabilities that an organization or individual has developed. Typically includes ideas, inventions, formulas, literary works, presentations, and other knowledge that is owned by an organization or individual and protected by a copyright.

Intellectual Skill: a skill that requires unique cognitive activities or involves manipulating cognitive symbols, as opposed to simply retrieving previously learned information.

Interactive Multimedia: two-way interaction with multimedia course material or other computers or users, involving direct responses as opposed to one-way communications from TV, video or other non-responsive media. Interactive attributes commonly include data or text entry, mouse input, touch screens, voice commands, video capture and real-time interaction.

Internet Explorer: a software browser made by Microsoft, Inc. that enables users to view web pages.

Internet: the global network of regional and local computer networks, which the U.S. government first created to link private education and research networks. The Internet provides communications and application services to an international base of businesses, consumers, educational institutions, governments and research organizations.

Internet-based Training: training delivered primarily by TCP/IP network technologies, such as email, newsgroups, proprietary applications, and so forth. 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.

Interoperability: the ability of hardware or software components to work together effectively.

Interpolation of Data: an exercise in which students calculate a value that would be between two known data points.

Intranet: an internal computer network owned by a company or organization and accessible only to designated staff or personnel.

Invention Teaching: a constructivist approach in which students begin learning with an activity, but are allowed to generate many possible solutions. Students acquire basic and advanced knowledge in self-directed, random order.

Inverted Pyramid: a writing format in which the most important information appears first, followed by the next most important information, and closing with the least important information. Also called “top-down” writing.

Investigation: identifying what is known about a topic. The three basic types include Definitional (“What are…?”), Historical (“How…?” or “Why…?”), and Projective (“What if…?”).

IP (Internet Protocol): an international standard for formatting, addressing and sending data over the Internet.

IP Multicast: delivery of content over a network from a single source to multiple recipients using the Internet Protocol (IP).

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network): a telecommunications protocol that allows telephone lines (or other types of cable) to carry independent simultaneous data, voice and video channels.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization): sets standards for many businesses and technologies, including communications and computing.

ISP (Internet Service Provider): a hosting company that provides end-user access to such Internet services as email, the World Wide Web, FTP file exchanges, and newsgroups.

IT (Information Technology): the industry or discipline that develops, installs and implements computer and network systems and applications.

IT Training: using centralized and desktop information systems to provide technical training in areas such as system infrastructure software, application software, and application development tools.

Item Analysis Table: presents evaluation data about the percentage of a student’s dependence on memory, when performing a complex task.

ITFS (Instructional Television Fixed Service): microwave-based, high-frequency television used in educational program delivery.


Java Applet: a small Java program that is launched through a web browser.

Java: an object-orientated programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. It can be used to create applications that run on a single computer, or across several computers in a network. Also used to write Java “applets.”

JavaScript: a scripting language that’s simpler than Java and that can add interactivity to Webpages. JavaScript commands allow browser programs to complete tasks when users view Webpages (such as, to change on-screen graphics when users move their mouse cursors over them).

JDBC (Java Database Connectivity): an application program interface used to connect programs written in Java to data in databases.

Jigsaw II: a useful educational technique when the subject matter is in narrative form and when students are learning concepts rather than skills. Basic activities include reading with team members, expert group discussions, team reports, testing, and team recognition.

Jigsaw: a cooperative activity that consists of reading, meeting with expert groups, reporting back to the main team, and demonstrating knowledge through a test or report.

Job Aid: any simple tool that helps workers do their jobs (for example, a flow chart to follow when answering customer-service calls). Job aids generally provide quick reference information rather than in-depth training.

Job: when training high-school/college students or adults, jobs can link classroom training with the external world, to help students experience the value of what they are learning.

Joke: an amusing story or description that the teacher can tell to activate interest. Alternatively, students can create topic-related jokes, to demonstrate their understanding of concepts.

Journal: a form of writing in a notebook, usually for a few minutes each day. The writing is often used to encourage reflection, or exploration of ideas of interest to students. Journal writing is typically not graded, and in some instances, is not read by anyone but the student. In other cases, a journal may help to build an ongoing dialog between the student and teacher.

Journalism Model: a writing format in which the most important information is presented first, followed by the next most important information, and closing with the least important information. It is most commonly used in news reporting, but can also teach students to prioritize information. The method is also called “Inverted Pyramid” or “Top Down.”

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): a format for compressing images, which lets users balance image quality against file size. JPEG is called a “lossy algorithm” because the compression process discards some image data. And the more a JPEG file is compressed (or the more frequently it is opened and resaved), the more data is lost, and the more the image is degraded.

Judging: a form of critical thinking that involves forming conceptions or opinions about a topic.

Jumbled Summary: the teacher gives students randomly ordered terms and phrases from a lesson. Students then put the terms and phrases in a logical order, to show their understanding of the subject.

Justifying: to explain why one choice is better than another. Typically used as part of an assessment that asks students to “justify” or explain the merits of their answers.

Just-In-Time: a characteristic of e-Learning in which students can access needed information when they need it.


KB (kilobyte): 1,024 bytes, which is approximately equivalent to one page of double-spaced text.

Kbps (Kilobits Per Second): the number of kilobits transmitted or received each second; a measurement of data-transmission speed in a communication system.

Keyhole Strategy: a writing format in which the author begins with the main idea in the introduction, narrows the idea until the end of the first paragraph. The “body” of the writing elaborates on the introduction with well-rounded paragraphs. In the last paragraph, the author builds to a broad conclusion. When diagrammed, the format looks like an old-fashioned keyhole.

Keyword Memory Method: students generate keywords that are similar to the concepts to be memorized, and put the keywords into an arrangement that can be mentally “pictured.”

Keyword Strategy: the actual use of Keyword Memory methods to build vocabulary and language competencies.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): indicators that help an organization achieve its goals by defining what they are and measuring progress.

Kirkpatrick Training Evaluation: an industry-standard training-evaluation method used in both human resources and training communities.

KJ Method: a creativity or problem-solving technique in which the group classifies separate ideas by writing them on cards, and then organizing them under specific categories.

Knowledge Assets: intellectual content possessed by an organization, plus any information that workers know about the company and the performance of their jobs. The information can be codified in a variety of formats, such as PowerPoint slides, Word documents, audio/video files and so forth.

Knowledge Base: a specialized database that stores knowledge assets.

Knowledge Management: making more efficient use of the human knowledge within an organization. It entails capturing, organizing and storing the information and experiences of workers and groups within an organization, and making it available to others.

Knowledge Rating: before thoroughly reading a text, students skim it, select words from it, and rate their familiarity with the words. In some instances, words already may be selected by the teacher for students to rate.

Known-to-Unknown: an instructional approach in which constructs are presented to learners beginning with known concepts and then gradually transitioning to unknown concepts. Compare to: Chronological, General-to-Specific, Part-to-Part-to-Part, Part-to-Whole, Part-to-Whole-to-Part, Spiral, Step-by-Step, Topical, Unknown-to-Known, and Whole-to-Part.

KWL (Know, Want to know, Learn): students identify what they know about a topic, what they want to know, and after reading or instruction, identify what they learned or would still like to learn.


Labeling: a form of classification that includes sorting and then naming a concept, object, action or event.

Lagging Indicators: a metric that focuses on the results of previous actions.

LAN (Local Area Network): a group of networked computers and devices, such as file servers, printers and modems, located in relative proximity, that allow users to communicate and share information.

Language Impairment: a difficulty in understanding and/or using language.

Lateral Thinking: consists of changing your perspective to solve a problem. Edward de Bono suggested lateral thinking as an approach to both problem-solving and creativity.

LCMS (Learning Content Management System): a software application or set of applications that manages the creation, storage, use and reuse of learning content.

Leading Indicators: a metric that focuses on current and future actions, which is used to predict future performance.

Learner Analysis: the determination of important characteristics of a target population. Such characteristics include prior knowledge and attitudes toward the content to be taught, and attitudes toward the organization and work environment. Learner Performance Data: information regarding the degree to which learners achieved defined objectives after completing a lesson.

Learner Profile Data: descriptions of learner characteristics relevant to instruction and training, including age, skill level, education and work experience.

Learner Specialist: a professional who is knowledgeable about, and understands, a specific learner population.

Learning: a cognitive and/or physical change in knowledge as a result the acquisition and application of information, knowledge, behaviors and/or attitudes.

Learning Centers: individual stations designed to extend knowledge introduced in whole-group instruction and to allow individual or paired students to explore resources.

Learning Context: the physical location(s) in which the instruction materials that are under development will be tested or used.

Learning Contract: a form of individualized, active learning where the student proposes a course of study (a “contract”) to satisfy an academic requirement and a teacher checks and approves the contract. The student typically works independently until assistance is needed from the teacher, at which point it is the responsibility of the student to ask for help.

Learning Disability: characterizes a child with average or above-average potential who is limited through a difficulty in education in one or more areas. This child may display a severe discrepancy between their ability and their achievement.

Learning Environment: the physical or virtual setting in which learning takes place.

Learning Lab: an environment that offers tools and educational support, to allow learners to explore content at their own pace.

Learning Logs: written responses by students to the teacher, which summarize what they have learned or what they still do not understand. Teachers use them to gauge student progress.

Learning Modules: content designed to be used as units of instruction on a subject or concept.

Learning Object: a reusable, media-independent collection of information that is used as one building block for e-Learning content. Learning objects are most effective when organized by a metadata classification system and stored in a data repository, such as an DMS.

Learning Objective: a statement of a measurable outcome that will be used to indicate how the learner’s attainment of skills and knowledge will be measured.

Learning Packet: information and materials collected by the teacher to help a student make up for work that was missed (usually due to absence).

Learning Platforms: internal or external sites that contain technologies (chat rooms, groupware, etc) that enable users to submit and retrieve information. Such sites are often organized around tightly focused topics.

Learning Portal: any website that offers students or organizations secure access to learning and training from multiple sources.

Learning Solution: 1) any combination of technology and methodology that delivers learning 2) software and/or hardware products that vendors promote to answer business training needs.

Learning Space: an imaginary layout in which the learning enterprise is set up and prospers. This territory is a recent addition to the business landscape. Learning Style Inventory: assessments taken by students to learn about their learning styles and preferences.

Learning Styles: the categorization of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses in a number of factors that usually affect learning. By assessing, and then planning for, each student’s learning style, a teacher can improve the chances that each student will learn.

Lecture: a direct instructional method in which the teacher talks, to transmit information. Lectures may include visual aids or accompanying notes.

Legally Blind: a condition legally described as having 1) a visual field not greater than 20 degrees wide or 2) visual acuteness of 20/200 (or less) in the better eye after correction.

Library Research: using library resources (including databases) to enable students to supplement the information they find in textbooks and on the Internet. Teachers often provide guidelines for writing assignments and projects, to encourage students to become familiar with using library resources.

LINK (List, Inquire, Note, Know): an activity to help students activate prior knowledge before beginning a new topic.

Link: hypertext that is usually underlined to indicate a pointer that will automatically connect with either data or an outside resource.

List – Group – Label: an activity designed to help students activate prior knowledge before beginning a new topic by dividing a list of keywords into groups, and then labeling each group.

Listening Center: an audio center where students can listen individually to books on tape, music, news, language lessons, taped stories, or other audio resources.

Listening Comprehension: activities that encourage active and critical listening, such as reading passages aloud. Student understanding is then assessed through written or oral feedback.

Listing: the practice of listing words, objects and ideas, to organize thoughts before a writing activity. It also can be used as an assessment to demonstrate the student’s ability to recall.

Listserv: an automatic email service that users subscribe to, for receiving future mailings.

LMS (Learning Management System): Learning management systems track synchronous, asynchronous, and online/offline training, monitor student progress, and record quiz/test scores, in an online learning environment. In addition, most LMS’s have threaded discussions, online chats and integrated web conferencing. Most learning management systems come with a built-in course-authoring tool, but many LMS’s can also run and manage training materials that are developed using other authoring tools (as long as the LMS and the authoring tools are both SCORM and AICC compliant).

Localization: the modification of an offering to meet the specific needs of a geographic area, product, or target audience.

Log In/On: the act of providing a user name and password to gain access to a computer, application, web site or file.

Log Off/Out: the act of disconnecting from a computer, application, web site or file.

Long-Term Projects: projects that are usually focused on a broad main theme, and which often attempt to research, and propose answers to, open-ended questions.

Looping: 1) an approach to writing that encourages students to write quickly, review, and select key points for another round of quick, more focused writing. Students continue looping until their writing meets some original specifications. 2) having a teacher teach the same class for more than one year.

Lotus Blossom Technique: a brainstorming method, in which the student first proposes eight new ideas from a central idea. For each of the eight ideas, the student then proposes and evaluates necessary details for implementing the ideas.

LRN (Learning Resource Interchange): an XML-based specification (supported by Microsoft and many other vendors) that gives content creators a standard way to identify, share, update and create online content and courseware. LRN is the first commercial application of the Content and Management Systems Specification developed by the e-Learning industry and the IMS Global Learning Consortium.

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

Lurking: reading the postings in a discussion forum or on a listserv, but not contributing to the discussion.

Lynx: a text-only browser that is popular among people with disabilities, and which also helps users with low-bandwidth connections, since it avoids downloading graphics.


Managing: giving students the responsibility to create and direct an activity or group to give students experience with organization and planning skills.

Manipulatives: objects or equipment used in the classroom that enable students to make connections to theories through touch.

Market Basket Analysis: a technique that assists organizations in predicting future sales by examining the current purchasing behavior of their customers.

Markup: codes or text added to a document to convey information about it. It is used to create a document’s layout or produce links to other documents or information servers. An example of markup is HTML.

Mastery learning: objectives for learning are established and communicated to students. Students progress at own speed and continue to work until their performance indicates they have mastered each set of objectives.

MB (megabyte): 1,048,576 bytes and is roughly equivalent to one novel. A floppy disk stores 1.44MB, CDs over 600MB and DVDs around 17,000MBs (or 17 GBs) of information.

Mbps (megabits per second): the number of megabits transmitted or received each second; a measurement of data transmission speed in a communication system

Meaningful Use Tasks: long-term tasks described by Robert J. Marzano that allow students to make choices and then require students to apply what they have learned

Measuring: activities to determine the size, extent, or dimensions of objects or values

Media: the means by which instruction is presented to the learner and is typically classified in terms of the perceptual channels used, such as visual or auditory media

Memorization: actively organizing and working with concepts or terminology to improve incorporating those concepts into memory.

Mental models: understanding that existing knowledge is organized into patterns or models that help them explain phenomena. Learning involves adding to or altering the learner’s existing mental models.

Mentoring: a process in which less experienced workers or students are matched with more experienced peers, colleagues, or teachers for guidance.

Message board: a place where teachers and students can post information or work that may be of interest to others in the classroom.

Message: a meaningful unit of communication that can be instructional, informational, or motivational and may be formatted in writing, visually or orally.

Metacognition: the process by which learners monitor their own thought processes to decide if they are learning effectively; “thinking about thinking.”

Metadata: information about content that enables it to be stored in and retrieved from a database.Metatag: a meta tag is a special HTML tag that provides information about a Web page. Meta tags do not affect how the page is displayed, but they provide information such as who created the page, how often it is updated, what the page is about, and which keywords represent the page’s content.

Microteaching: a form of practice teaching in which the student prepares a short (6-15 minute) lesson and presents the lesson to peers for helpful evaluation

Microworld: a computer-based simulation with opportunities for manipulation of content and practice of skills.

Mind map: a graphic way of arranging information to show the interrelationships between concepts.

Minimalism: an instructional design approach coined by John M. Carroll that stresses the importance of providing learners with meaningful tasks early in instruction and allowing them to make and then correct errors. Learner’s are given tasks to try and then supported as they make mistakes, rather than guiding users step-by-step through a new learning situation.

Minute papers: an end-of-class reflection exercise in which students write briefly to answer the questions: “What did you learn today?” and “What questions do you still have?”

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

Mnemonics: any of several techniques or devices used to help remember or memorize names or concepts

Modality: delivery medium determined for the delivery of instruction; ranges from ILTCBTWBT and distance learning to paper based, read-ahead packages, journals and peer modeling.

Model: a simplified representation of a system showing selected features of the system. The model may be presented in picture, flowcharts, or other forms.

Modeling: the act of the teacher leading by example through the constant display exemplary behaviors and skills.

Models: a small object, usually built to scale, that represents in detail another, often larger object.

Modem: stands for MOdulator/DEModulator; a device that converts digital signals to analog for transmission, and analog signals back to digital upon reception

Modular: e-learning that is made up of standardized units that can be separated from each other, and be repurposed, rearranged or reused.

Module: an instructional package with a single integrated theme that serves as one component of a total course or curriculum

Monitor: To maintain regular surveillance, or close observation, over something. For example in a large online course, their may be a set of facilitators set up to monitor groups of students while an online instructor teaches the class.

Morphological analysis: analysis of the meaning of words based on their sub-parts, known as morphemes.

MP3: a format for a music file compression that enables users to download music over the Internet

MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group): a high-quality video file format that uses compression to keep file sizes relatively small.

MUD (multi-user dimension or multi-user domain): a simulated virtual world in which users interact with one another by taking on character identities called avatars.

Muddiest point: a question used to stimulate metacognitive thinking by asking students to name or describe the concept they understand the least (their muddiest point).

Multi-age groupings: a classroom that includes children of many ages and ability levels.

Multicasting: an audio, video, email, or application broadcast over the web, from one computer to many.

Multimedia: the combination of text, graphics, audio, colors to create used to present information in an engaging and dynamic way.

Multiple intelligences theory: a theory proposed by Howard Gardner that says each person has many intelligences (linguistic, musical, scientific etc.). These intelligences have the ability to work together and instructors should design lessons to foster the growth of all intelligences.

Multiple sclerosis: degeneration of the central nervous system due to a progressive deterioration of the protective sheath surrounding the nerves.

Multiple solutions: an exercise that requires students to find all acceptable solutions, not just the most logical or best solution.


Naming: a thinking skill that requires the student to label and identify objects or concepts by name. A specific form of naming, known as “rapid automatized” naming, is used as an assessment of learners’ ability to acquire literacy skills.

Narrowband: 1) a network in which data transmission speeds range from 50 bytes per second to 64 Kbps 2) a limited range of frequencies in data transmission.

Navigation: moving from website to website on the World Wide Web or an online site that may not be part of the World Wide Web, including an intranet site or an online course. 2) a web site’s or course’s information architecture that enables users to steer their way though the site.

Needs Assessment: a logical process for shaping goals, determining discrepancies between optimal and actual performance, and establishing priorities for action.

Negative Brainstorming: before completing an activity or project, participants propose things NOT to do or ideas that are NOT examples.

Nesting: placing documents within other documents, to allow users to access material in a nonlinear way. This is a primary requirement for developing hypertext.

Net: common nickname for the Internet.

Netiquette: Internet etiquette; best demonstrated when sending email, chatting, posting messages, and using limited resources. For example, using capital letters in emails is often interpreted as shouting, and is usually “bad netiquette.”

Netscape Navigator: browser software that enables users to view web pages. Other examples of browsers are Opera, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.

Network: a set of computers and peripheral devices (for example, printers, servers and storage devices) connected to allow users to share information and communicate with one another.

Newsgroup: an information-discussion forum on the Usenet network where notes about specific topics are forwarded and shared with the group.

Nominal Group Technique: a formal technique for team problem-solving in a way that encourages all members to participate.

Non-Examples: a technique used in direct instruction to help learners distinguish between related ideas.

Non-Instructional Solution: any teaching method for reducing students’ performance variations through means other than the direct imparting of knowledge; some ways include motivational, environmental, systemic, and through application of equipment.

Note-Taking: the recording of information presented by a teacher, to reinforce understanding by the student. Notes are often unstructured and informal, and are useful when studying for exams.

Novelty: a motivational technique used to engage students early in instruction through the sharing of something unusual with the intent of arousing curiosity.

Nutshelling: a form of summarization that asks students to create brief statements that capture the essence of all that has been written to that point.


Objectives: outlining the purpose and goals of an activity or project beforehand, to help students reach these goals.

Object-Oriented Programming: a type of computer programming that allows programmers to define data types, data structures, and the functions or operations to be applied to the objects. Languages for object-oriented programming include Java, Smalltalk and C++.

Observation Log: a journal kept by a student to help guide them and record their observations. Students are typically asked to answer specific questions as they fill in their observation logs.

Observation: a way for a teacher to assess a student’s progress or to gather informal information about their needs and achievements.

Observational Learning: a learning theory, proposed by Albert Bandura, stating that the majority of human learning occurs through our observation of the behavior of others. This is often referred to as a “social learning” model or theory.

ODBC (Open Database Connectivity): an application program interface to access information from numerous types of databases, including Access, dbase, SQL Server, Oracle, and DB2.

On-Screen Keyboard: a keyboard that appears on-screen to accommodate users who have limited use of (or cannot use) their hands. Generally considered assistive technology, on-screen keyboards are usually used with a head pointer, when keyboard input is required.

One Sentence Summary: an activity in which students are asked to write a single summary sentence that answers the “who, what, where, when, why, and how” questions about a topic.

One-Way Presentation: any teaching format in which students are passive while information is presented to them. Examples include videos, lectures, and demonstrations.

Onground: a traditional classroom instructional setting.

Online Community: a meeting place on the Internet for people who share common interests and needs. Online communities may or may not be moderated, and may or may not require membership.

Online Learning: an umbrella term used to describe any education or training delivered by web-based or Internet-based technologies. See “WBT” or “IBT.”

Online Training: web- or Internet-based training.

Online: the state in which a computer is connected to another computer or server over a network.

Open Discussion: the least structured form of discussion, where the teacher sets boundaries by describing the general topic, but the discussion follows and moves between students’ interests.

Open Source Software: software for which the original program instructions (the source code) is widely available, so that users can access, modify and redistribute it. An example of such software is the Linux operating system.

Operant Conditioning: the theory that consequences (such as positive or negative reinforcements, punishments, or extinction) can modify future voluntary behaviors.

Opinion Sampling: the collecting of student opinions by teachers for the purpose of altering classroom structure.

Ordering: the practice of putting objects, concepts or numbers in a sequence.

Organic Model: an educational-reform movement in which teachers collaborate to govern school policies, rather then following guidelines from policy makers who are not involved in day-to-day classroom activities.

Organizational Mission: an explanation of the purpose, values, strategic position and long-term goals of the institution.

Organizational Philosophy: an explanation of an organization’s values and beliefs with respect to how it plans to act in one or more broad environments.

Organizational Values: a stable set of long-term objectives and actions that an organization uses to make strategic choices.

Organizing: uses classifying, ordering, ranking and comparing to discover and build interactions and relations among objects and concepts.

Origination Site: the location from which a teleconference is launched.

Outline: a pared-down version of a larger presentation or writing piece, usually based on key phrases or sentences about the subject. Outlines may be arranged in the same order that the concepts will be presented in the final version. Outlines are used to guide the creation process in writing or planning, during a lecture to help students follow the concepts being presented, or by students in their own note-taking and studying.


Packet: a bundle of data, which may or may not have a set size, that is transmitted over a network. Packets can range from one character to hundreds of characters.

Page Turner: a derogatory term for e-Learning sites that offer little or no graphics or interaction, and consist mostly of simple text pages.

Pair Problem Solving: a problem-solving technique in which one member of a pair is the “thinker” (who thinks aloud as they try to solve the problem) and the other is the “listener” (who analyzes, and provides feedback about, the “thinker’s” approach).

Panel: a small group acting as experts, who answer questions from people in a larger group. In a classroom setting, students are selected to become experts on a topic and are given at least a day to prepare for their panel discussion.

Panic Attack: the sudden onset of feelings of anxiety with no medical cause, often accompanied by dizziness, palpitations, and nausea.

Paradoxes: statements that appear to be contradictory. Using paradoxes in the classroom can encourage logical thinking, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

Paralysis: complete or partial loss of the ability to move a body part, usually as a result to damage of the nerve supply.

Paranoia: a psychotic disorder characterized by delusions of harassment and often persistently defended with apparent logic and reason.

Paraphrasing: carefully reading, and then rewriting, an author’s ideas in one’s own words. Learning to paraphrase is critical to understanding how to do research from texts, and to properly cite those texts without plagiarizing.

Paraplegia: the paralysis of the lower half of the body, usually caused by damage to the spinal cord.

Participative Design: a way to move from a bureaucratic model of management to a model in which individuals within an organization restructure the workplace themselves.

Partner Discussion: a strategy, involving pairs of people, that allows the maximum number of students to verbally express their ideas at the same time.

PBL (Problem-Based Learning): an inductive teaching method where no direct instruction takes place. The teacher poses authentic (real-world) problems and students learn content and skills as they work together to solve the problems.

PDA (Personal Digital Assistant): a handheld computer device used to organize personal information, such as contacts, schedules and other personal data.

PDF (Portable Document Format): a file format developed by Adobe Systems to allow users of any hardware or software platform to publish and view documents electronically, with a standard formatting for printing and document security (documents are generally read-only).

Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS): a reading approach in which pairs of learners carry out “Paragraph Shrinking,” “Partner Reading,” and “Prediction Relays.”

Peer Editing: students read and evaluate each others’ work. Peer editing gives students an alternative audience for their writing and improves their analytical skills.

Peer Evaluation: students evaluate each others’ presentations or work.

Peer Tutoring: a form of instruction delivered by a person close in age or achievement to the person being coached.

Peer-to-Peer Network (P2P): a network that allows users to connect their computers and share files directly with other users, without having to go through a centralized server.

Performance Analysis: investigating the operational inconsistencies in a work organization, prior to designing or developing activities to address the weaknesses seen.

Performance Improvement: planning or designing interventions toward a change in behavior, typically on the job.

Personalization: the act of tailoring web content to individual users, either by asking them to enter personal preferences or by programming the computer to guess their preferences.

Phenomena Map: a graphic structure designed to help students understand events and their interactions.

Pixel (Picture Element): the smallest unit in a digital image file or on a display screen. The more pixels a computer monitor can display, the better the image resolution and quality. On a color monitor, each pixel includes red, green, and blue dots that are small enough to appear as a single entity.

PLAN: a writing strategy, proposed by Edwin S. Ellis, consisting of Previewing the audience, goals, and words; Listing main ideas and details; Assigning numbers to indicate order; and Noting ideas in complete sentences.

Plug-and-Play: the ability of a personal computer’s operating system to identify, install, and use new peripheral devices that are added with little or no intervention from users.

Plug-In: a software program that enhances another program (such as a web browser) so that it can perform new tasks, such as playing audio and displaying Flash video.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics): a patent-free Macromedia graphic format that is expected to replace GIF. PNG supports lossless image compression and offers advanced graphic features (such as 48-bit color).

Poetry Writing: poetry is a form of written expression. Since poetry encourages students to express ideas in imaginative, highly connected ways, many kinds of classrooms use poetry writing as a creative learning technique.

Point-Counterpoint: an approach (often used to explore controversial topics) that presents arguments for and against a proposal.

Point-to-Multipoint: transmission between multiple locations using a bridge.

Point-to-Point: transmission directly between two locations.

POP (Post Office Protocol): the collection of rules and standards that manage the retrieval of messages from an email server.

Portal: a website that is a gateway to additional information on the Internet. Portals can be general, like Yahoo!, or specific, like vertical industry directories.


Q and A: questions and answers.

Quality Assurance (QA): the techniques, processes and workflows used to ensure that a company’s products and services meet defined standards for excellence.

Question / Check / Connect: a strategy, proposed by Edwin S. Ellis, for learning more about reading by asking questions about the graphics associated with the text.

Question-Answer Relationship (QAR): exploration of the nature of answers. Are answers explicit or implicit in the reading, or are they internal to the reader?

Questions Into Paragraphs (QuIP): a reading and writing strategy, from Elaine McLauglin, in which students use predefined questions to research answers from multiple texts, and then incorporate these answers into a coherent paragraph.

Questions: a teaching method that asks students to either 1) answer “who, what, when, where, why, and how” for any problem or 2) to generate other types of questions that should be answered.

Quick Drafting: creating a fast rough copy of a project or content.

Quickdraw: a “pair activity” in which students have a short period (typically 30 seconds) to share all they know by writing with symbols or drawings.

Quicktalk: a “pair activity” in which students have a short period (typically 30 seconds) to share all they know verbally.

Quickwrite: a “pair activity” in which students have a short period (typically 30 seconds) to share all they know by writing in some kind of graphic organizer.


RAM (Random-Access Memory): a computer’s temporary “running” storage, which functions as the “workspace” for program instructions and data.

Randomized Questioning: a technique that ensures all students have a chance to answer questions, using note cards with the students’ names on them. AFTER asking a question, the teacher chooses a student at random to answer it from their cards.

Range of Motion: the ability of a person to move their joints and limbs.

Raster Graphic: a computer image made up of a collection of dots. Can become ragged or otherwise distorted when the image is enlarged or shrunk.

Read Aloud: an action where the teacher reads to the class to improve its comprehension, to demonstrate correct pronunciation, or to create positive feelings about a book or about reading.

Reading for Information: a form of reading in which students actively attempt to gather information, or to improve their knowledge about the topic.

Reading Roadmap: a map designed to guide students in their reading, by showing them when to skim, when to read carefully, and which questions to consider answering.

Reality-Based Model: a model developed by Glasser as a counseling technique, which helps students manage their behavior by analyzing what they need in a situation and finding socially acceptable ways to obtain it.

Real-Time Communication: information is exchanged with little or no delay; also called “synchronous interaction.”

Rebuttal: a statement made to refute a position taken by an opposing party or group.

Recall, Summarize, Question, Comment, and Connect (RSQC2): a summarization technique in which students Recall (list) key points, Summarize in a single sentence, ask unanswered Questions, Connect the material to course goals, and write an evaluative Comment.

Recalling: the act of a student summoning knowledge previously learned.

Receive site: a location that receives transmissions from another (sending) site for distance learning.

Reciprocal Teaching: a learning method where students take turns being the teacher, in a pair or small group. Other roles taken may include clarifying concepts, asking questions, asking for predictions, and so on.

Recitation: a question-and-answer session, run by the teacher, in which there is only one correct answer.

Reductionism: a method of understanding complex ideas by considering them as the interaction of their fundamental parts or concepts. The theory of reductionism states that a complex system is simply the sum of its parts. Therefore, understanding these individual parts, explanations, or meanings, will lead to an understanding of the overall idea.

Redundancy: the idea that concepts need to be revisited many times, and in a variety of contexts, to be remembered and learned. Younger children may need to work with a concept twenty times (or more) to fully understand it. But older students and adults usually need to see and use a concept three or more times, before they can remember and properly use it.

Reflection: a metacognitive activity in which the student pauses to think about and organize information gathered from reading, discussions, or other activities.

RELATE Table: a graphic display that helps students connect what they learn in the classroom with real-world events.

Relay Summary: a team-review activity, where one member writes a sentence recapping their reading, and then passes the page to a teammate. This process continues until everyone in the team has added at least one sentence to the page.

Reliability: the degree to which items yield consistent results.

Remediation: a way to direct students to review and understand training content, based on concrete criteria.

Report: a written document presenting individual or group findings.

Repurpose: to reuse content by restructuring it for a different function than was originally intended.

Research: in an instructional setting, an investigation that seeks to describe knowledge that should be common to many students at various times.

Research Paper: a written document that compiles investigation results, geared to increasing knowledge of events or theories studied. Research papers include notations (footnotes), which detail and authenticate information sources used, including direct citations that may be used or quoted in the paper.

Resolution: the detail and clarity of an image on a video-display screen or in a print.

Restating: the act of expressing meanings in other, hopefully simpler, words; paraphrasing.

Reusable: e-Learning content that can be transferred without change to different infrastructures or delivery mechanisms.

Review: restudying material that one has already learned, to improve understanding.

Revising: a training method where students learn by correcting their peers’ errors or by editing their own completed work.

Revision: the process of producing an amended, improved, or up-to-date version of a set of materials.

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification): a wireless information-transmission technology that may take the place of bar codes, using a physical tag placed on (or in) an object, and which is read by a separate transceiver.

RFP (Request for Proposal): a document written by an organization about desired goods or services, and distributed to potential suppliers, who must then respond with specific proposals centered on the RFP’s parameters.

Rich Content: high-quality course or webpage material, often created using sophisticated design techniques that emphasize the intended message.

RIO (Reusable Information Object): a set of content and assessment items assembled around a single learning objective. They 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, overviews, summaries, and assessments that support a specific learning objective. (Pronounced “R-L-O.”)

ROI (Return on Investment): a ratio of the benefit or profit received from an investment to the cost of the investment itself. In e-Learning, ROI is most often calculated by comparing quantifiable results from training to the costs of providing the training.

Role Play: a training technique in which students imitate characters, to try out behaviors, practice interactions, and/or solve problems. Such activities reinforce learning and help people apply new information, skills and techniques.

Roots: activities designed around the “origin” of words, to help build vocabulary in the specific subject matter.

Round-Table Discussion: 4 or 5 participants informally discuss a topic among themselves, and with an audience, while seated at a table.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication): RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated digital content, such as blogs, news feeds or podcasts.

Rubrics: a code or set of codes governing an action, activity or project.


S.W.O.T. Analysis: Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) in a situation.

Satellite TV: broadband video and audio signals relayed via a communication device that orbits the Earth.

Scaffolding: providing temporary support, to build on a student’s existing knowledge through examples and explanations until help is no longer needed.

Scalability: the degree to which a computer application or component may be expanded in size, volume or number of users served, and continue to function properly.

SCAMPER: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, (Modify, Magnify, Minify), Put to other use, Eliminate, (Reverse, Rearrange); a creativity acronym that helps students remember to try many variations on an idea.

Scanner: a device that translates a printed page, image, or photographic transparency into a digital representation that can be viewed on a computer.

Scanning: the act of quickly reading or looking at information, to gain an overview of the content; the act of translating a printed page, image, or photographic transparency into a digital representation that can be viewed on a computer.

Schema: a simple textual explanation or representation of the internal structure of a database, including table names, element names and relationships among elements.

SCOPE: a proofreading strategy (Spelling, Capitalization, Order of words, Punctuation, Express complete thoughts).

SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model): a set of specifications that produce small, reusable learning objects when applied to course content. SCORM-compliant courseware elements are easily merged with other compliant elements, to produce a highly modular repository of training materials.

Screen Magnifier: an assistive program or device used by the visually impaired to enlarge images and text displayed on a computer screen.

Screen Reader: an assistive technology used by the visually impaired to read aloud the data displayed on a computer screen.

Script: a program or set of instructions specific to, and carried out by, a particular program, as opposed to being executed directly by the computer’s central processor.

Scroll: to cause text and images on a computer screen to continuously move down, up, right or left.

Sculptures: a problem-solving technique where group members add to three-dimensional models that depict either the problem itself or a potential solution to the problem.

Seamless Technology: technology that’s easy to use, intuitive in nature, and not itself the focus of the learning experience.

SEARCH: a writing strategy developed by Edwin S. Ellis, consisting of the following steps: Set goals. Examine your paper to see if it makes sense. Ask if you said what you wanted to say. Reveal picky errors. Copy over neatly. Have a last look for errors.

Section 508: the 1998 Amendment to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which basically says all electronic and information technology purchased or developed by the U.S. Government must be accessible to people with disabilities.

Seizure: a sudden change in behavior, characterized by changes in sensory perception or motor activity due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Self-Assessment: a process where the learner critically analyzes their own goals, skills, performance and experience.

Self-Paced Learning: 1) an offering in which students determine the pace and timing of content delivery; 2) learning that is carried out asynchronously, such as over the Internet without an instructor, and where students control the flow of course material.

Semantic Associations: forming connections between words based on meaning and context.

Semantic Feature Analysis: a chart or grid developed by students that explores what they know about relations among concepts.

SENDA: an acronym for the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act of 2001. SENDA amends the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) of 1995.

Senses: learning techniques developed specifically to stimulate one or all of the five senses, so that students can make more complete connections to concepts.

Sequencing: the process of organizing concepts in the order in which they naturally occur.

Serial Bus: a channel through which information flows, one bit at a time, between two or more devices in (or connected to) a computer. A bus typically has multiple points of access through which devices attach to it.

Serial Port: a point of access where devices attach to a computer’s serial bus, and through which data moves one bit at a time.

Server: a computer system with large storage capacity that contains files, applications and other resources, and manages access to them by multiple users.

Shadowing: a field activity in which the student follows a professional for several hours (or a whole day), to learn more about the work done and skills needed by that person.

Share-Pair Circles: a learning and discussion activity in which the class is divided into two equal groups, each forming a circle. The inner circle faces outward and the outer circle faces inward, to form pairs of facing students. In response to teacher questions, each pair discusses their ideas, and then one of the circles rotates to create new pairs. This repeats until the original pairs face each other again.

Sign Language: a communication language that uses hand, face, and body movements, and is used primarily by deaf people.

Similarities and Differences: a form of comparison, in which students first list the similarities between two objects or concepts, and then list their differences.

Simplex: a formal approach to problem solving, in which problems are defined, ideas proposed and evaluated, actions initiated, and then one returns to the problem-finding stage to refine the solution. Also known as The Basadur Simplex approach to problem-solving.

Simulations: highly interactive applications that allow learners to model real scenarios and to practice skills or behaviors in a risk-free environment.

Situated Learning: an educational theory by Jean Lave, proposing that learning normally happens in a specific context (i.e. with certain people or while performing certain tasks) and involves both social interactions and interactions with real-life materials. Examples of situated learning are apprenticeships and shadowing.

Skill Gap Analysis: compares a person’s skills with those required for a job to which they have been, or will be, assigned. This analysis includes of a list of all required skills, with the individual’s rating level for each skill.

Skill Inventory: a list of skills or competencies that an individual possesses, and which is used as a self-assessment tool in many fields. A skills inventory is often part of career exploration or professional development.

Skill: an ability to perform an action or group of actions; talent.

Skimming: reading or looking at material quickly, to gain an overview of its content; refer to scanning.

Slide Show: a presentation that may include a series of drawings or images, and that may be generated and presented using software like PowerPoint.


24/7: 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. In e-Learning, a term used to describe when a virtual classroom (or technical support) should be available to online students and instructors.

T-1: a 1.544-Mbps data-communications protocol that uses 24 separate 64-kbps channels to carry voice, data, and compressed video teleconferences. Often used to carry private, high-bandwidth data traffic within and between organizations. (Also referred to as DS1 lines.)

T-3: a 43-Mbps data-communications protocol that uses 672 separate 64-kbps channels to carry voice, data, and compressed video teleconferences. Usually used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to connect to the Internet or to carry Internet traffic. (Also referred to as DS3 lines.)

Tactical Goals: statements that specify short-term actions required to achieve an organization’s strategic goals.

Talking Browser: an Internet browser that can read data aloud in a website.

Talking Chips: a response-management technique that encourages students who contribute too little to discussions, and limits students who contribute too much.

Target Population: the individuals for whom an instructional program is intended.

Task Analysis: analyzing and codifying the type of learning that a student is expected to acquire.

Task Cards: specific instructions or guidelines for student use at learning centers; may describe assignments or how-to-practice skills.

TBT (Technology-Based Training): the delivery of content via Internet, LAN or WAN (intranet or extranet), satellite broadcast, audio- or videotape, interactive TV or CD-ROM.

TCP (Transmission Control Protocol): a communications standard that ensures that packets of data are sent and received in the intended order.

Teacher Expectations: clear, written descriptions of desired behaviors, rules, and steps needed to achieve good grades in a course. As the course progresses, more detailed expectations can be given to the students, to describe what is needed to achieve specific tasks.

Teaching: a process that aims to increase or improve knowledge, skills, attitudes and/or behaviors. Teaching is focused toward long-term personal growth.

Team Product: students work in teams to accomplish a task, either learning or creating a physical product.

Telecommunication: voice or data transmission over wire, radio, optical, or electromagnetic channels.

Telecommuting: working at home, or away from the office, while connected to one’s place of employment over a computer network.

Teleconferencing: two-way electronic communication between groups in separate locations, exchanging audio, video and/or computer information.

Telephone: a teaching activity in which one student leaves the room while the teacher teaches a short lesson to the rest of the class. When the absent student returns, the class teaches them the same lesson. The absent student then takes a (typically) non-graded quiz, and its results are used to guide further instruction.

Telnet: a utility that enables a user to log into a computer or server, and access its information from home or a remote field location.

Template: a predefined set of tools that establish the structure and settings necessary to quickly create content.

Terminal Objective: an objective that students will be expected to accomplish when they have completed a course of instruction, made up of subordinate objectives.

Text Equivalent: an accessibility technique in which a plain-text alternative matches the content and function of a non-text object on a webpage. This unfortunate trend causes content to fall out of sync, since both the “real” page and its text alternative must be updated in parallel (but usually, are not). Web sites should build content that is accessible from the beginning, which will reduce development costs and increase market share.

Text-Only Browser: a browser that does not display images. It also does not have settings for turning image display on and off.

The Last Word: a summary technique in which each letter in the topic name is used to remember key ideas in the topic.

Thelen’s Group Investigation: a model that helps teachers determine when they should shift a classroom’s social organization from individuals to small “friendships.”

Thin Client: a networked computer without disk drives, which accesses programs and data from a server instead of storing them locally.

Thread: a series of messages posted in a discussion forum about a specific topic.

Threaded Discussion: an online dialogue that is conducted through the use of linked messages. The discussion may occur via email, bulletin boards, newsgroups, Internet forums, or the like.

Three-Step Interview: a method of discussion in which a group of four individuals (a, b, c, d) interview each other about a question that the teacher assigned to the group. In Step 1, individual a interviews b, and c interviews d. In Step 2, b interviews a, and d interviews c. In Step 3, all four group members share what they’ve learned in their interviews.

Three-Two-One (3-2-1): a writing activity where students write down: 3 key terms from what they just learned, 2 ideas they would like to learn more about, and 1 concept or skill they think they have mastered.

TIC (Things in Common) Sheet: a team-building activity where groups discuss foods, places, activities, TV shows, movies, music or books that they like and dislike.

Topical Sequencing: an instructional approach in which objectives are presented to students beginning with issues of current interest, and then tracing back into the issues’ histories.

Touch Screen: a device that users can touch, to work with menus, select decisions, and control output. Such devices also can be used to simulate hands-on training, such as, for pointing to parts of a machine.

Training: a process that aims to improve knowledge, skills and behaviors, through the teaching of professional or practical skills for job-tasks or goals.

Training Management System: See “LMS.”

Transfer: the application of knowledge and skills acquired in training to another environment, typically a work setting.

Transparent Technology: technology that is easy to use, intuitive in nature and not the focus of the learning experience itself. Also known as seamless technology.

Transponder: usually, a satellite transmitter-receiver that amplifies incoming signals before forwarding them to earth stations.

Trojan Horse: a malicious computer program that appears legitimate but masks a destructive file or application. Unlike viruses, Trojan Horses usually do not replicate themselves. But they can still cause damage (for example, by creating a door into your computer for malevolent external users).

Tryout Students: a representative sample of the target population; may be used to test an instructional program prior to final implementation.

Tutorial: step-by-step instructions presented through computer or Web-based technology, and designed to teach users how to complete specific actions.

Tutoring: a focused, one-on-one approach to teaching or re-teaching concepts, usually done by teachers, peers or professional tutors.

Two Dimensional Matrix: a group activity in which students make associations between two lists of different words.


UCD (User-Centered Design): a process by which the needs, wants and limitations of target users are considered during every stage of building a user interface, document, website, or product.

UIML (User Interface Markup Language): unlike many markup languages, UIML does not describe documents. Instead, it describes page elements (such as buttons, menu lists, and other items) that contribute to graphical user interfaces. UIML defines both their placement on pages, and the actions to be taken after events like mouse clicks or keystrokes.

Unconscious Problem-Solving: a technique in which an individual studies a problem until it is well-understood, and then relaxes, to let their subconscious mind work on problem.

Unicasting: communications between a sender and a single receiver over a network. For example, an email message sent from one person to another.

Universal Access: the idea that all things on the Internet should be accessible by the largest audience possible, regardless of disability, location, device, or speed of their Internet connection.

Universal Device: the process of designing for the largest audience possible, regardless of disabilities or native languages.

Universal PlaybackWBT that plays unaltered on any common computer system; became possible when web browsers (the playback engines) were developed for DOS/Windows, Apple Macintosh and UNIX operating systems.

Unknown-to-Known: an instructional approach in which objectives are presented to students, beginning with unknown concepts and proceeding to known concepts. Used as a motivational technique, to inspire students to want to know more.

Uplink: the communication link from a transmitting earth station to a satellite.

Upload: a file transfer sent from your computer to another.

URI (Uniform Resource Identifier): identifies the application used to access a resource on the Internet, the machine the resource is located on, and the file name of the resource. Provides a full Internet address for the information, whether it is text, graphics, audio or video.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator): an address that identifies a page or file on the World Wide Web.

Usability: the measure of how effectively, efficiently and easily a person can navigate a website, find information on it, and achieve their goals.

User Interface: the components of a computer system that the operator uses to interact with the system, including the screen display elements, keyboard, mouse, touch controls, and so on.

Using: the use of objects or concepts to display skills or valuations.


Validation: the process of determining the extent to which competencies and performance statements are supported by the profession.

Validity: the degree to which items measure what they are intended to measure, or deliver what they are intended to deliver.

Value Clarification Discussion: developing values using open-ended questions that have no single correct answer.

Value-Added Services: in the e-Learning industry, these may include custom training needs assessments, skill-gap analyses, curriculum design and development, pre- and post-training mentoring and support, training effectiveness analyses, reporting and tracking tools, advisor services, implementation consulting, hosting and management of Internet/intranet learning systems, integration of enterprise training systems, and other services.

Value Proposition: a statement explaining why a consumer should want to buy or use a company’s products or services.

Vector Graphic: an image created from mathematical formulas, rather than from arrays of dots or pixels. Vector graphics are resolution independent and can be scaled without a reduction in quality. Several graphics applications support vector graphics including Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Freehand, Adobe Flash, and others.

Venn Diagram: a diagram that uses the positions and overlaps between circles to represent the relations between concepts or groups of items.

Video Conferencing: live video and audio communication used to link participants at different locations.

Virtual Classroom: an online learning space where students and instructors interact.

Virtual Community: an online community where people share common interests via blogs, e-mails, instant messages and chat rooms.

Virtual: a condition or environment created, simulated or maintained by a computer or computer network.

Virus Detection Program: software designed to detect, diagnose and destroy computer viruses.

Virus: a destructive type of computer program that attempts to disrupt normal computer operations, rewrite or delete information from storage devices, or physically damage the system.

Visual Aids: any graphical aids used in presentations to clarify or improve the material presented.

Visual Memory: a memory technique in which a teacher displays a picture quickly, then asks students to describe as much as they can of what they saw.

Visuals: graphics or teaching materials that pictorially describe ideas or convey meanings, including items such as overhead transparencies, blackboard writing and screen graphics.

Vocabulary Self Collection Strategy (VSS): students nominate words they’d like to learn more about as a class.

VoD (Video on Demand): See “COD.”

Voice Input: software that recognizes voice commands and responds accordingly.

Voice Output: computer programs that read screen content out loud.

Voice Recognition Software: software that can be trained to recognize a person’s voice, execute their commands, and translate their voice into text or other useful media (such as, sign language or brail for the deaf).

VoiceXML: a type of XML that allows users to interact with a webpage using voice recognition software.

VoIP (Voice Over IP): a technology for transmitting voices digitally using the Internet Protocol, and which can avoid the normal telephone fees charged by carriers.

Vortal: stands for Vertical Portal, an industry-specific website that provides news, articles and services to a specific audience.

VPN (Virtual Private Network): a network that combines the security of a private network with the economies-of-scale and built-in management capabilities of public networks.


W3C: the World Wide Web Consortium, whose mission is to develop standards, specifications, software and tools for the World Wide Web.

W3C-WAI: the World Wide Web Consortium Web Accessibility Initiative, whose mission is to set Webpage accessibility standards.

WAI: developed by W3C and its members to address web-accessibility issues.

Wait Time: the length of time a teacher waits after asking a question, which can influence both the quality of responses from students and their confidence in the teacher.

WAN (Wide-Area Network): a computer network that spans a relatively large area and usually includes two or more local-area networks (LANs). The Internet is an example of a WAN.

WAP (Wireless Application Protocol): a specification that allows wireless devices to read Internet content.

WAVE: an alternative to the “Bobby” tool that lists missing and used webpage attributes, and shows the order in which a screen reader reads the page. Developed by Temple University Institute on Disabilities.

WBT (Web-Based Training): the delivery of educational content via a Web browser over the public Internet, a private intranet or an extranet. Web-based training provides links to other learning resources, such as emails, bulletin boards and discussion groups. WBT also may include a facilitator, who provides course guidelines, manages discussion boards, delivers lectures, and so forth.

WCAG: guidelines from the W3C / WAI to address issues related to building accessible webpages.

Web Conference: a meeting of participants from different locations that is held in a virtual environment on the World Wide Web, with communication taking place via text, audio or video.

Web-Based Learning: See “WBT.”

Webcast: (Web + broadcast) a broadcast of video signals that is streamed on the World Wide Web, and that also may be available for downloading.

Webinar: (Web + seminar) a small, synchronous, online learning event in which the presenter and audience communicate using text chats, audio, online slides and electronic whiteboards.

Webpage: an HTML file or document that is viewed with a browser, such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator.

Website: a group of related web pages that stems from a home page, which is accessed over the World Wide Web and viewed with a browser (such as Internet Explorer ,Netscape Navigator, or Safari).

Whiteboard: an electronic version of a dry-erase board, which lets students in a virtual classroom view what an instructor, presenter or fellow student writes or draws.

Whole-to-Part: an instructional approach in which objectives are presented to students beginning with an overview of the whole idea, and then proceeding to an analysis of the individual parts.

Wi-fi (Wireless Fidelity): products that can connect to each other without wires, acting as either wireless clients or base stations. Products bearing a “Wi-fi certified” label should always be interoperable.

Wizard: a small application program that prompts users through the steps of a specific computer-based action. Users input any needed information as they proceed through the wizard’s screens, while the wizard completes the procedure steps in the background.

WML (Wireless Markup Language): XML-based language that allows a reduced version of a Webpage’s text to be displayed on cellular phones and personal digital assistants.

Word Associates: similar to the Concept Attainment strategy, where students are shown a series of examples and non-examples. Students are shown a series of cards in which one of the cards does not “fit.” Once the students identify the card that does not fit, they attempt to discover words or phrases associated with the objects or ideas that do belong together.

Word Bank: a collection of words from which students can choose.

Word Chain: a game that helps students learn to categorize. The teacher supplies a category and a first word, and students then add words to the chain. Each word that is added must begin with the ending letter of the prior word.

Word Sort: students sort lists of keywords into logical groups.

Workstation: a device, often a microcomputer, which serves as an interface between a user and a file server or host computer. 2) a computer or computer terminal.

WORM (Write Once, Read Many): a type of data-storage disk that allows information to be saved to it only once, as a permanent archive. WORM disks also must be read by the same kind of drive that wrote to them, which has hindered widespread acceptance of the technology.

Worm: a computer virus that replicates itself many times over, to consume system resources and eventually shut down the computer or server.

WWW (World Wide Web): as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium, “The World Wide Web is the universe of network-accessible information, an embodiment of human knowledge.” Alternatively, the WWW is the collection of users and resources on the Internet that use HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol).

WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get): computer text and graphics that will print exactly as they appear on the screen.


XHTML: a reformulation of HTML as XML that attempts to eliminate problems from badly coded HTML.

XML (Extensible Markup Language): a webpage coding language that allows site designers to program their own markup commands, which can then be used as if they were standard HTML commands.

XSL (eXtensible Stylesheet Language or eXtensible Style Language): a webpage design language that develops style sheets for XML pages and separates style from content, so that developers can control how and where information is displayed on webpages.

XSL-FO: tools for applying a strong set of rules to documents, to ensure reliable formatting when printed.

XSLT: tools for changing the formatting and structure of markups according to a set of rules.


Zip Disk: a portable storage disk that can hold 100 or 250 MB of information and can archive or back- up large amounts of data; used only in a Zip drive.

Zip Drive: an internal or external data-storage device that uses only Zip disks.

Zip File: 1) A file that has been compressed (to allow faster transfers between computers or to save storage space), often using the algorithms and formats originated by PKWARE. 2) A file on a Zip disk, which is not necessarily compressed. 3) A compressed file, with the .EXE extension, that is self-extracting (that can be unzipped simply by opening it).