The A– Z of eLearning terminology



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8 mins


Curious to find out the latest acronym, buzzword, or terminology in the eLearning industry? Spanning technical and technological, HR and L&D, learning, and professional learning bodies, here's our essential L&D A to Z

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X |



  • ATS –  Applicant Tracking System. A software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment processes eg Ciphr iRecruit
  • API – Application Programming Interface. An API ‘key' enables developers to link two separate systems (such as Digits LMS and a central HR system) to enable them to transmit data and perform automated processes
  • Asynchronous learning – self-paced participation in and completion of online learning tasks


  • Blended learning – also called hybrid learning. Combines instructor-led training (whether in-person or virtual) with learner-led training


  • Capterra – a free online marketplace vendor serving as an intermediary between buyers and technology vendors within the software industry
  • Cloud-based – software and systems hosted in the cloud (virtually), ie off-site. Digits LMS is a cloud-based LMS
  • CIPD – Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development — is an association for HR and L&D professionals
  • Ciphr Group – a specialist, UK-based provider of SaaS HR, payroll, recruitment and learning software


  • Digital learning content – includes various content formats (video, audio, workbooks etc) which can be grouped together into themes or topics, and delivered digitally using a learning management platform


  • eLearning Industry – a leading publishing platform that delivers industry-specific content to eLearning professionals
  • eLearning courses – electronic learning, also known as online learning, is training that is delivered virtually, most often through video and audio
  • Extended enterprise LMS – a solution to help businesses train multiple audiences through a single platform, such as offering relevant training to customers and partners, as well as employees using one platform with multiple levels of access and varied objectives


  • Fosway Group – an independent vendor analyst firm that evaluates HR, talent and learning solutions


  • Gartner – a technological research and consulting firm that shares insights and findings through private consulting as well as executive programs and conferences
  • Gamified learning – applying game-design elements and principles within a non-gaming context. Gamification in learning can also include activities and processes to solve problems using the characteristics of game elements, including points, achievements, badges, progress bars and level completion (often in a gamified learning platform)


  • HRIS – a Human Resource Information System is software that stores and manages employee data. An organisation's HRIS system is often integrated with its LMS software
  • HCM system – a Human Capital Management system is software that stores and manages employee data, and also includes talent management functionality such as learning and development and succession planning capabilities


  • Integration – using an API to connect two separate systems, allowing the bi-directional flow of data. HR software, for example, is often integrated with a learning management system, payroll software, etc
  • ILT – instructor-led training is a style of training where the instructor delivers the lesson (as opposed to learner-led training, where the learner essentially self-studies), either in-person or virtually
  • ImplementationLMS implementation plans include installing and configuring software or systems for the end user


  • Just-in-time learning – training that is readily available to, and relevant for, a very specific topic, as and when it is needed


  • Knowledge base – a repository of various resources which can be accessed by users to discover new information on themes or topics of interest


  • L&D – learning and development
  • LXP – a learning/learner experience platform is user-centric learning software that prioritises the interface through design and layout
  • LMS – a learning management system is learning software that guides users through learning journeys with a focus on measurable upskilling and compliance training. An LMS often places more functional emphasis on recording individuals' learning-related data than an LXP does, giving organisations more data to use in their decision-making. Learn more about the differences between an LMS vs LXP
  • Learning activities – single entities of learning defined by ‘type', which includes eLearning, video, audio, on-the-job training etc
  • Learning journeys – larger programmes of learning undertaken over a longer period of time, such as a career pathway. They can contain a combination of both ‘activities' and ‘plans'. In addition, one ‘journey' can link to another ‘journey' to provide a branching progression or optional directions for a learner to pursue
  • Learning plans – a way of grouping ‘activities' in a simple structure, curriculum, or list. This could be by subject or learning progression, or as part of a blended learning approach using different types of activities to embed a learning subject. Also known as a learning and development plan
  • Learning style – an individual's preferred way to learn based on the way they consume and interpret the content


  • Microlearning – the breaking down and grouping together of pieces of learning content into bite-size chunks to make it easier to understand, consume and retain
  • mLearning – mobile learning allows learners to access their learning content on demand using a mobile device such as a smartphone, tablet or similar
  • Marshall E-Learning – part of the Ciphr Group,  Marshalls is a specialist diversity and inclusion online learning provider


  • Nine-box grid – an individual assessment tool that evaluates an employee's current and potential level of contribution to an organisation. It forms part of the talent management and succession planning module. Although based on a similar model, it's not to be mistaken with Fosway's 9-Grid™


  • On-the-job (OTJ) learning – training that is undertaken in tandem with day-to-day responsibilities
  • Open-source – relating to learning management software and systems, open-source describes the freely editable and accessible nature of the source code on which the platform is built
  • On-premise – the opposite of cloud-based, on-premise learning management systems are hosted on on-site servers. Most organisations now typically opt for a cloud-based system for ease of management and installation
  • Off-the-shelf – relates to pre-made, ready to use digital learning content which is available from a ‘content library'


  • Personalised learning – a tailored learning activity, plan, or journey that meets the learning preferences and needs of individual learners
  • Peer-to-peer – relating to social learning, peer-to-peer exchange is an informal learning method where internal experts share knowledge and skills with other employees


  • Quizzes – a gamified way of testing knowledge retention and recall within the learning management system


  • Resources – relates to assets that contain a specific set of information relating to a topic or theme
  • LMS return on investment (ROI) – profitability linked to your LMS platform, including the admin and operational cost savings an LMS can contribute to


  • SSO – single sign-on. This allows access control of multiple related, yet independent, software systems. A user logs in with a single ID and password to gain access to any of several related systems
  • SCORM – the acronym for ‘Shareable Content Object Reference Model' – a collection of standards for the format of learning content which allows the content to be displayed within a platform. An LMS and the content must both be SCORM compliant
  • Skills gap analysis – a way to identify skills and knowledge gaps using competency frameworks
  • Social learning – when employees are able to observe and imitate the behaviour of others, drawing from each other's experience, knowledge and skills


  • TNA – an acronym for Training Needs Analysis — an assessment to help identify the training requirements in an organisation, in order to improve the job performance of employees


  • User groups – a virtual room where users can asynchronously discuss a central topic, thought, idea or theme and draw insights and knowledge from the network


  • Virtual learning – training delivered digitally, electronically, or online through a variety of content types, including video and audio
  • Virtual learning journey – see ‘learning journey' — a virtual learning journey is completed electronically using an e learning platform
  • VR – virtual reality is a simulated ‘reality' where users are immersed in a virtual environment using a headset or other VR device


  • WCAG – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which form part of a series of best practice standards that ensures content is easily accessible to users of varying needs


  • xAPI – the successor to SCORM, this is an API (Application Programming Interface) that standardises the way content is displayed across platforms


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