Tutorial or a Course?

I work with someone who insists on calling the courses we build, tutorials, and I think that is inaccurate.  How would you distinguish between the two names, and does it matter?  I feel that a tutorial is limited to a specific topic, suggests brevity, or designed for a smaller group or a person having a specific learning issue. A course, in my mind, covers many topics and is designed for a large group of learners.  I have spent the last few months building what I think is a course in Storyline 360, that covers a dozen topics under one umbrella.  I don't think to call it a tutorial is accurate. Any thoughts or input? 

6 Replies
Nancy Woinoski

Hi Susan, the distinction you make between course and tutorial is good but I don’t think the size of the user-base has any baring on whether or not something is a couse or a tutorial. 

I would not spent too much time worrying that someone in your workplace uses the term tutorials. It doesn’t diminish the effort you put into your work.  I guess the only time this could be an issue is if it causes confusion among your stakeholders about what you are creating for them.

Mark Spermon

It is good that you and your project members have a good understanding about what certain terms mean, so there is no miscommunication. I also would consider the whole Articulate Storyline project as a course or module and in a course or module you can have assignments, lessons, knowledge test, quizzes and more.

Ray Cole

I once tried to get my (former) organization to call information-oriented awareness courses "tutorials" so I could reserve "course" for something that required learners to apply knowledge, not just absorb it.

These terms don't have widespread consensus meanings, so it should be possible within an organization, to establish more specific meanings for them. However, doing so will require a lot of language policing and in the end, I stopped pushing this terminology as policing people's language seemed counterproductive.

I do like the idea of using a different term for information-oriented products, with the goal of eventually getting people to consider whether information-oriented products need to be developed as e-learning at all. My feeling is that in most cases, if it's just information awareness, that's probably best delivered as a document of some sort. The terminology by itself wouldn't be enough, but it might help pave the way for a rethink of how certain "training" interventions are developed.

In the short term, though, what people call your course is not that important. "That which we call a rose / By any other word would smell as sweet."