Online Training Terminology

Jun 12, 2017

Hello Articulate Community!  I need your feedback.  

I've been in my current role for 1 year.  Before I came on board, my organization did not use course authoring systems to create eLearnings.  The "eLearning Library" mainly consisted of videos and recorded webinars.  This is the terminology for online training outlined in our style guide~

eLearning - Use this umbrella term for all education materials that are available on the website in electronic format. Including live/recorded webinars, eClasses, and training videos.  Do not use the terms: e-Learning, on-demand, online learning.

Webinar or live webinar - This is a webinar that is shown in real time. Attendees may have the opportunity to interact with the speaker.

Recorded webinar - This is a webinar that happened in the past. It is recorded, yet available for people to view. There is no ability to interact with the speaker. We do not use the term archived webinar. Archives are historical recordings and therefore the term implies that the content is old and no longer relevant. If content is no longer relevant, it should be taken down from the website.

eClass - Most often, these are interactive modules that have learning test points throughout. Training videos may also be an eClass, or a component of an eClass.  Do not use the terms: on demand or interactive learning.

Training videos - These are videos of training presentations, and they are often scripted. These could be filmed at a workshop, conference, or in a studio.

My edits were rejected, primarily because our customers are used to these terms and it's used in printed publications.  I don't think we are using industry standard terms and our customers change every few years (city elected officials in WA state).  I think if I was a newly elected city offical, and I came to our website to develop my leadership skills, I would be disappointed after clicking on "eLearning library" and seeing a bunch of recorded webinars.   


Thank you!!! 




1 Reply
Eric Nalian

Hey Katie,

From my experiences, you are not going to change the terminology people use.  In my last job, I build the Learning and Development team basically from a team of 2, to a team of 15-team members over the course of 8-years.  Most of the senior leadership level employees still referred to eLearning as "those videos", "computer training", "The University", "Learning Time" or some other term that didn't come close to what we would see as the correct terminology.

I see the same things with my Instructional Design students.  They start to pick up the terminology and lingo in class, and then try to use it during their first internship.  When they start to drop words like "Terminal Objective", "Formative / Summative Evaluation", or "ADDIE" a lot of the times their employers are confused.

I see this from their perspective when my wife tries to explain what colors she wants to paint the various rooms in our house.

Wife: I think this rooms needs to be like a Ocher color and we can add some warmer elements to it to brighten up the room.

Me: I don't think an ogre will like being trapped in a room with a space heater, especially in the summer.  I have no idea what you are talking about

Wife: Ocher is Yellow.

Me: Why didn't you just say Yellow?

^This is a real conversation that took place at our local Home Depot.

As a best practice, I find myself speaking the language of my audience, if they call everything Video, use Video, and then say "I added in some elements to make the video interactive".


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