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Glossary of Terms

Concise definitions of training industry terms you may need to know

360 Degree Feedback - a method of providing feedback on an employees performance that involves the employee's immediate work circle. Not just managers, but also peers, subordinates, or even customers are asked to provide feedback.

Blended Learning - usually refers to complementing face-to-face training with other training delivery types such as on-demand/self-paced training or other e-learning in order to boost achievement of learning goals.

CBT (Computer-Based Training) - computer-based training began as classes delivered on CD-ROM disks, but has grown to include other forms of training that require a computer, such as on-demand webinars or other Internet-Based Training (IBT).

Chunking - chunking is the process of grouping pieces of information in a way that assists in remembering and later recalling. A phone number is 'chunked' when it is divided by dashes. Remembering three separate small numbers is easier that trying to remember the entire number at once.

Coaching - coaching has become a popular style of passing down knowledge at the workplace. Coaching or mentoring is a more structured version of OJT (On the Job Training). Where OJT tends to be more hands-on with a senior employee showing a junior employee how to accomplish a task, coaching takes on more of a role of knowledge transfer often in less tangible areas such as leadership or management.

Distance Learning - any mode of learning in which the student is not physically present at the time and location of the instruction. The definition varies broadly, and includes MOOCs (Massive Open Online Classes) and webinars, among others.

E-Learning - e-learning is an all-encompassing term that includes any learning that is facilitated via technology including IBT, CBT, m-learning, webinars, on-demand training and more.

Experiential Learning - in a nutshell, experiential learning means 'learning by doing'. This method of learning is more hands-on and less lecture. For instance going to the zoo to talk about and watch the animals interacting with each other, eating, nursing, etc, as opposed to reading about it in a book.

Gaming (Gamification) - the use of game thinking and game mechanics in learning to increase learners' engagement, thus improving the return-on-investment.

Internet-Based Training - see CBT (Computer-Based Training)

In-House Training - see On-Site Training

Instructional Design - the science of creating learning to be more instructive, memorable, applicable and useful to the learner. Effective instructional design takes into account the materials to be taught, to whom the material is designed to teach, the training delivery method, and other factors.

Knowledge Management - organizations are turning to Knowlege Management (KM) as a way to maintain an internal library of information, processes and ideas. By maintaining a central information hub, the organization is able to provide consistent information to employees, provide to employees the information/knowlegde that the organization feels is relevant to the successful operation of the business.

Learning Style - learning styles describe how each learner best acquires and remembers information presented during learning sessions. The three learning modalities are auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Most will learn through a combination of these modalities, however, each learner typically learns more effectively though the use of one of these modalities over the other two.

LCMS (Learning Content Management System) - an LCMS is a platform designed for e-learning developers. With this platform, they can develop, store, and even deliver their training. Often an LCMS is integrated into an LMS so that the e-learning developer can publish their products directly into the LMS platform.

LMS (Learning Management System) - an LMS,  in contrast to an LCMS, is not a design platform, but rather a system used to deliver,  manage and administer training. An LMS would be used by an organization, whereas an LCMS would be primarily used by a company that develops e-learning to be implemented into an LMS.

M-Learning - m-learning is a specialized area of e-learning. M-learning occurs throught the use of smart phones, tablets or other devices that typically don't have full PC/Mac capabilities. For instance, most of these devices don't have a mouse, so mousing actions that other e-learning might incorporate like 'hover' won't work on these devices. Because of the mobility of the devices, m-learning creators must take into account the learning environment's unpredictability and create content accordingly.

MBTI (Myers—Briggs Type Indicator) - this indicator is used by organizations to detemine character type. The indicator helps organizations to guide their employees into careers that match their personality type. It also can help an instructor determine the learner's learning style.

Mentoring - see Coaching

Micro-Learning - micro-learning is an emerging concept that accounts for the decreasing attention span of today's workers. As attention span shorten, so must the length of instruction. This idea also appeals to workers with busy, hectic or sporadic work schedules. A learner may spend 5 or 10 minutes at a time with a micro-learning session as time permits. Short sessions prevent the learner from viewing only half a session due to time constraints and pressing responsibilities, and allow the learner to process one or two concepts at a time. A key component of micro-learning is reinforcing past topics/concepts so that they aren't forgotten as the learner progresses through subsequent micro-learning sessions.

MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) - a MOOC is an open unlimited enrollment course offered online - usually free to the student. These courses often include filmed lectures, problem sets (homework), community forums that facilitate interaction between students, lecturers and teaching assistants. Several high-level universities have begun to offer MOOCs from various areas of study - Computer Science, Math and Psychology to name just a few.

Needs Analysis - often an organization will book training to remedy a perceived need. A good practice is the have the trainer carry out a needs assessment which provides an outsider view of any existing skills gap that might be preventing maximum productivity. Needs analsys may begin with questionnaires and/or short interviews with employees about how the perform their day-to-day duties. The trainer will analyze the results to identify business skills or competencies that can be remedied with a specific series of training.

OJT (On the Job Training) - on-the-job training is very common in industrial and IT environments, but is used throughout the spectrum of occupations. It involves a 'senior' employee imparting knowledge a 'junior' employee, usually in the context of doing the job itself. In essense, the two are performing routine job responsibilities together with the purpose of having the junior employee eventually taking over the responsibility. Because OJT requires no planning or extra expense, it is a commonplace activity, however, because it is usually informal, there tends to be no standardization of learning materials/topics, resulting in inconsistent results.

On-Site Training - on-site training involves bringing a trainer or group of trainers to a facility at or near the organization requesting training. This type of training is not open for public enrollment and often is customized to suit the specific needs or goals of the organization requesting the training. Although it is typically face-to-face training, the actual delivery of the training could be broadcast over an Internet connection in webinar format with the trainer in one location and the attendees grouped together at another.

Private Group Training - see On-Site Training

SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) - SCORM is a standard that LMSs use to deliver, manage and track training. By adhering to a standard, any e-learning developer can create a training curriculum that can be managed by any LMS that can manage and deliver SCORM compliant content.

Seminar - a seminar is typically defined as a trainer provided face-to-face training to a group of learners. Seminars can last an hour or up to several days, but one to two days is the most common.

Self-Paced Learning - e-learning or on-demand webinars are examples of self-paced learning. Any learning that the learner can control the timing of is considered self-paced learning. Instructional books are also self-paced, as are most computer-based training.

Webinar - a webinar is simply a seminar delivered over the web, hence the name. The actual delivery of the training varies from trainer to trainer. Some webinars may simply be a live (or pre-recorded) video stream of a trainer delivering a class. Often, a webinar is actually being delivered as a face-to-face seminar, but is being streamed over the Internet so that remote viewers may participate as well.

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