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Learn Important e-Learning and LMS Vocabulary

Whether you’re new to online education systems, or e-Learning, it is important to get on the same page as your vendor or sales person to really get the most out of what may be taught as it relates to your learning management system. A quick review of the most common terms used when it relates to learning management systems and online training will be helpful for quick education and to get you up to speed when talking about your new software.

Authoring Tools

Authoring tools are tools within a learning management solution that allows for people of varying development experience to create courses that can then be pushed out to employees. From creating powerpoint presentations, slide decks, videos, or text documents - authoring tools are used to create the information that it vital for a student to learn. Oftentimes these tools are extremely easy to interface with because getting a developer involved is more hands-on than necessary.


The layout of how the class is going to be taken. A storyboard communicates the ideas, lessons, learning objectives and etc that are going to be mastered upon completion of the class. Similar to laying out a book before sending it to print, a storyboard helps to organize ideas into a flow of information that will adhere to learning objectives and guidelines set by the company and will foster the greatest chance for learning and mastery across the learning group.


SMEs are Subject Matter Experts, and finding these people within your own company or even sometimes outside the company can really skyrocket the performance of your lessons. Since it is unlikely that training managers or learning and development employees know all there is to know about each different job description/role/etc (and honestly, should not be expected), this allows for someone with firsthand knowledge to come in, create a lesson, and teach employees about the ins-and-outs of a job without much research coming from employees or managers that may not understand the job function or training that needs to take place.

A subject matter expert (SME) working with teammates

Rapid Development

Rapid development refers to authoring tools that are very simple and quick to use and requires no additional coding experience in order to launch courses, training material and etc that is beneficial to the learning of your students and employees. If you do not have access to developers that are committed to helping create courses through authoring tools that may need coding experience, looking for an LMS vendor that has rapid development tools is necessary.

Blended Learning

When both in-person and online learning techniques are combined within one course or learning lifecycle, this is called blended learning. This is a highly used process for teaching as it combines many different methodologies to span many different types of learning styles to ensure the highest levels of mastery. Oftentimes, blended learning has the highest type of engagement because it speaks to so many different learning styles.

Channel Learning

Channel Learning is when two or more companies use the same learning content because it is more advantageous than creating their own content. This can be easy especially when LMS vendors abide by SCORM standards to download and upload content that works between systems.


The process by which content creators make learning engaging with elements from games, such as point scoring, levels, etc. that mimic games. Gamification can be very important in ensuring that students are engaged and it makes learning more fun for those that are competitive and need outside pressure to continue performing.


SCORM is a set of guidelines that LMS vendors follow to ensure the content authored on their platform is able to be downloaded and transferred to another platform should the need arise. It allows for a level of standardization across platforms that ensures a company is not locked in to a vendor because otherwise their hard work of authoring content is no good elsewhere.

What are some of the terms used in online learning that have stumped you and would have helped to understand some of the verbiage in order to participate fully in discussions surrounding online learning?

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