Spaced repetition, gamification and microlearning: a glossary of terms


E-learning has done a huge amount to reduce the cost of training for businesses, make it easier for them to deliver and make it more convenient for employees to do. As it has exploded in popularity over the last 20 years or so, though, it has also spawned a whole raft of new learning approaches, technologies and terms.

This can make the e-learning landscape a minefield to navigate. If you’re not familiar with what certain terms mean, how can you understand what is being discussed, let alone what learning and training solutions your company should opt for? With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a glossary of e-learning terms to help you along the way.

Download the guide: Mirco, mobile & gamified: the future of employee knowlegde

Asynchronous learning – Learning from resources that allow students to progress at their own pace.

Authoring tool – A platform that allows a teacher or learning provider to create learning content.

Blended Learning – Learning from a mix of different mediums, such as online resources and classroom teaching.

Certainty-based learning (or confidence-based learning) – An approach via which the learner indicates how sure they are about knowledge, thereby measuring self-assurance as well as competence.

Collaboration technology – Platforms that allow learners and teachers to communicate and work together in a self-contained online space.

Competency-based learning – An approach via which learners progress to the next part of a course only once they have demonstrated proficiency in the preceding part.

Courseware – Software designed for an education purpose.

Distance learning – Learning that is undertaken remotely from where the teacher is located.

E-learning – Training that is delivered via a computer or other digital device.

Gamification – The use of game-playing elements and principles to increase the uptake and effectiveness of learning.

Informal learning – Learning via unplanned, often spontaneous means, such as by asking colleagues questions or reading articles online, rather than via a structured course.

Instructor-led training (ILT) – Training that is delivered via a teacher or instructor, as is the case with classroom-based learning.

Just-in-time training (JITT) – Training that is delivered in bite-size chunks where and when it is required, rather than in long, out-of-context blocks.

Learning content management system (LCMS) – An online platform for the creation, storage and delivery of learning content.

Learning management system (LMS) – A platform for managing the administration of training for employees.

Massive open online courses (MOOC) – Freely available online courses that can be taken by large numbers of learners.

Microlearning – Learning a topic in small, regular chunks.

Mobile learning – Learning undertaken via portable or mobile technology, such as a smartphone.

Online learning – The delivery of learning content via the internet.

Self-directed learning – An approach in which individuals have autonomy for their learning.

Spaced repetition – Refreshing successfully learned knowledge at intervals of increasing length.

Synchronous learning – An approach in which individuals learn in real-time from a teacher and possibly at the same time as other learners, like classroom-based learning.

Virtual classroom – An online space via which learning can be delivered and in which learning resources can be stored.

This article provides a brief insight into e-learning for businesses. You can find out more in our free guide ‘Micro, mobile and gamified: the future of employee knowledge’.