Struggling to find a CAT to integrate with your LMS? Maybe a CAT isn't suitable and only a RAT will do? Of course, regardless of whether you choose a CAT or a RAT, it'll need to be SCORM compliant.

I think it's safe to say that we like an acronym in the learning industry, don't we? 

To help cut through the acronyms, terminology and language used within the learning, eLearning and edTech industries, the team at Administrate compiled this handy list of all the terms we could think of, along with a brief explanation. Some of these terms might not crop up in day-to-day discussion about learning, eLearning and EdTech, but you may well encounter them when you delve a little deeper. Of course, it's always going to be a work-in-progress as the industry evolves and new terms pop up.

We hope this proves to be a helpful glossary for learning professionals, but welcome your feedback. Have we missed any? Let us know and we'll add them in!

You can also jump to a letter using the navigation below.

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Accessibility - Refers to the provisioning of technology to be usable by those with disabilities, e.g. sight impairment, hearing impairment, cognitive impairment etc.

ADDIE - Developed by Florida State University, ADDIE is an Instructional Systems Design (ISD) framework offering guidelines for building an effective training process, as part of five phases; Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation.

ADL - Advanced Distributed Learning. An organisation established to standardise and modernise the delivery of training and education.

Affective Learning - Refers to learning that affects changes in emotion and attitudes amongst learners.

AICC - Formed by Aircraft manufacturers Boeing, Airbus and McDonnell Douglas, The Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee was a provider and promoter of information, guidelines and standards for Computer Based Training (CBT) that existed from 1988 to 2014. Although the guidelines they produced were for the aviation industry, they were relevant to multiple learning technology vendors, leading to much wider adoption.

AICC HACP - HTTP AICC Communication Protocol, an eLearning standard developed by the Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee used to call eLearning content and assessments, for example within a Learning Management System (LMS).

Andragogy - The method and strategy used within teaching in the education of adults. The term was first used by German educator, Alexander Kapp, in 1833.

API - Application Programming Interface. An API is a set of routine definitions, protocols and tools used when creating software. Essentially the building blocks of a piece of software, API's facilitate the development of advanced integrations with existing applications.

Apps - An App or Application is piece of software designed to perform a specific task. Apps can be web based (a Web Application), installed onto systems or, more commonly associated with the term App in the modern world - installed on a smartphone, tablet or mobile device. In the context of training and education, Apps can facilitate mLearning (Mobile learning).

ARCS - A model of motivational design developed by John Keller that proposes there are four key elements that encourage and sustain adult learner motivation; Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction.

Asynchronous Learning - A flexible learning method whereby students don't collectively learn at the same place or same time and instructors may not be present, allowing them to complete courses according to their own schedule.

AS - Authoring System, sometimes referred to as an Authoring Tool. See CAT.

AT - Authoring Tool, sometimes referred to as an Authoring System. See CAT.

Authoring - Refers to the process of creating or writing content. See CAT.


Blended Learning - Blended learning can incorporate a variety of approaches to education and training but typically refers to a mix of more traditional Instructor Led Training (ILT) used alongside eLearning. Sometimes referred to as Hybrid Learning or Mixed-Mode Instruction.

BYOC - Bring Your Own Computer. See BYOD.

BYOD - Bring Your Own Device. Refers to situations whereby employers permit their employees to use their own devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets etc.) within the workplace for day-to-day work or, in the context of learning, for training and development.

BYOP - Bring Your Own Phone. See BYOD.

BYOT - Bring Your Own Technology. See BYOD.


CAI - Computer Assisted Instruction. Involves the use of a computer as a tool to facilitate instruction within education, or as a method of delivering training. Sometimes referred to as Computer Aided Instruction.

CAL - Computer Assisted Learning. See CAI.

CAT - Content Authoring Tool. A Content Authoring Tool is piece of software that allows trainers and instructional designers to create eLearning course material for delivery through a Learning Management System (LMS).

CBE - Computer Based Education. See CAI.

CBE (2) - Competency Based Education. See CBL (2).

CBI - Computer Based Instruction. See CAI.

CBL - Computer Based Learning, see CBT.

CBL (2) - Competency Based Learning. An approach to education or training which focuses on measuring learning, rather than time. Students progress by demonstrating their competence in the subject matter, i.e. once they've mastered a course, regardless of how long that might take.

CBT - Computer Based Training. Training conducted on computers. See also CAI.

CEC - Continuing Education Credit. See CEU.

Certification - The process of recognising when an individual has achieved a minimum level of competency against a predefined criteria of success. Often these criteria are set by a professional standards organisation.

CEU - Continuing Education Unit. A unit/measure used within educational programmes to determine the progress made by professionals towards a learning objective and/or professional license or qualification. Can also be referred to as a Continuing Education Credit (CEC).

Classroom Learning/Training - Refers to training conducted face to face within a physical room (see Instructor Led Training). Also referred to as C-Learning.

clearning - See Classroom Training.

Cloud - Cloud or Cloud Based refers to applications, services or resources that are available on demand from internet-based computing environments - cloud based services don't require local installation.

CMI5 - An eLearning standard that the Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee (AICC) started to develop before handing over responsibility to Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL). CMI5 acts as a bridge between Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) and the Experience API (also known as Tin Can).

CMI - Computer Managed Instruction. An instructional strategy in which computers are used to manage learning objectives, resources, assessments and tracking of learner progression.

CMS - Content Management System. Software or systems that manage the creation and publishing of eLearning content.

CMS (2) - Course Management System. A software application, or applications, that allow instructors or administrators to create and manage course content.

CoD - Content on Demand. Within an eLearning context this is content delivered digitally, on demand, perhaps via a Learning Management System (LMS).

Collaborative Learning - Refers to learning that occurs when information is shared within groups.

Content Authoring - Refers to the process of creating or writing content. See CAT.

Content - material delivered during the learning or training process. Can be delivered physically or digitally, with formats including printed documents, text, video, imagery, audio, quizzes, assignments etc.

Content Objects - See Learning Objects.

Cookies - Cookies are small files, sent by Internet servers to a browser, that identify users and/or track their interaction with a server. Commonly used by eLearning technologies to store learner details.

CPD - Continuing Professional Development. Can refer to the learning activities that professionals undertake in order to develop their skills and abilities as well as the actual process of CPD, whereby professionals document their skills, knowledge and experience in order to record their progression. Can also be referred to as simply Professional Development or Continuing Professional Education (CPE).

CPE - Continuing Professional Education. See CPD.

CSS - Cascading Style Sheets. CSS is a style sheet language that defines the layout and presentation of information. It's most common use is to set the visual style of websites, but it can also be applied to any Extensible Markup Language (XML) document. Often used to style eLearning systems, for example a Learning Management System (LMS).


DELES - Distance Education Learning Environments Survey. A learning environment survey to measure students' perception of educational establishment learning environments.

Digital Literacy - Demonstration of the required knowledge, skills and behaviours in operating a range of networked devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops etc.

Digital Native - Generally refers to those born or brought up during the age of digital technology (primarily the last decade of the 20th century), leading to a familiarity with computers and the Internet. The term was coined by education consultant Marc Prensky in 2001.

Distance Learning/Education - Involves the delivery of training when a student and instructor are separated by location and/or time. A popular method of distance learning delivery is eLearning via a Learning Management System (LMS), but can include written correspondence, video conferencing etc.

Distributed Learning - An instructional model centred around instructors, students and content being located separately, i.e. learning can occur regardless of time and place. Can be used alongside more traditional Instructor-Led Training (ILT) within a classroom environment as part of a blended learning strategy. See also eLearning.

DLA - Digital Learning Assets. Any form of content/media created to be used within an eLearning environment, for example eLearning modules, resources and activities.


EdTech - Education (or Educational) Technology. EdTech involves the use of various forms of technology to facilitate the delivery of education and support learning.

Educational Objects - See Learning Objects.

eLearning - Electronic Learning. Can be defined as learning that is conducted via digital media, usually via the Internet. Also referred to as e-learning, elearning and Elearning.

EOTO - Each One Teach One. See LOTO.


Facilitators - Within a learning context, refers to individuals who are knowledgeable and experienced in the subject matter being taught and who's purpose it is to facilitate learning. They may also be instructors (see Instructors) but could also be providing a supporting role to instructors.

F2F - Face-to-Face. Refers to training delivered in a face-to-face environment like a classroom, rather than through a computer.

Flash - Flash is a multimedia software platform used to create animations, rich Internet applications, games and more. In the context of eLearning it can be used in the creation of eLearning content although it's lack of support on mobile/tablet devices has meant that industry has largely moved to authoring using alternative technologies such as HTML 5.

Flipped Classroom - An educational model whereby the traditional approach of classroom time being used for lectures with homework issued for after class is reversed. Classes are used for homework, assignments and discussion and lectures are delivered outside of the classroom, often via eLearning.

Formative Assessment - A range of formal and informal assessment processes, typically involving qualitative feedback, conducted by teachers or training professionals to shape or form the learning process so as to improve student attainment.


Gamification - In a learning context this refers to the addition of gaming elements to add further enjoyment, and even competitiveness, to the learning process.

GBL - Game Based Learning. This refers to the use of video games as a learning tool, i.e. students learn while playing the game itself.

GUI - Graphical User Interface. A display or method of visual delivery of content for training purposes.



HR - Human Resources. A function within an organisation that's commonly associated with the management of people and personal development.

HRD - Human Resource Development. A function within an organisation that's commonly associated with the betterment of individuals and teams through training and development. See also HR.

HRM - Human Resource Management. See HR.

HTML 5 - Hypertext Markup Language 5. HTML 5 is a standard markup language for website page creation, but can also be used to author eLearning content, usually via a Content Authoring Tool (CAT) for use within a Learning Management System (LMS).

HTTP - Hypertext Transfer Protocol. A set of protocols and standards that define how information is formatted and transmitted, used by the World Wide Web (WWW).

Hybrid Learning - See Blended Learning.


ID - Instructional Design. See ISD.

IDP - Individual Development Plan. Typically a function within a Learning Management System (LMS), the creation of an Individual Development Plan, also known as a Personal Development Plan or Personal Learning Path, usually involves establishing learning objectives, any training requirements and the subsequent stages/steps to realise the plan.

IHT - In House Training. Training conducted within an organisation, by Instructors employed by the organisation.

IHT Enrolment - See Private Enrolment.

ILMS - Integrated Learning Management System. See ILS and LMS.

ILS - Integrated Learning System. A range of hardware/software solutions that are designed to deliver instructional content.

ILS (2) - Immersive Learning Simulation. See Serious Games.

ILT - Instructor Lead Training. Refers to the practice of  training between an instructor and individual or group, typically based in a classroom, conference room or office environment.

ILT (2) Information and Learning Technology. Refers to the use of technology to enhance the learning experience.

In Person Learning - Refers to situations where the instructor and student are in the same room, i.e. learning takes place synchronously, in real-time.

Informal Learning - Generally refers to the way we learn most things in life, i.e. not through formal classroom learning environments or eLearning, but by learning through experiences.

Instructors - Refers to individuals who are knowledgeable and experienced in the subject matter being taught and are responsible for the actual delivery of training. Can sometimes be referred to as Facilitators.

Intelligent Objects - See Learning Objects.

Interactive Learning - A shared learning model whereby the boundaries between student and teacher are blurred, Interactive Learning is born out of Generation Y's (sometimes referred to as Digital Natives) heavy use of digital technology within education. Interactive Learning is made up of three components; social networking, urban computing and serious games.

ISD - Instructional Systems Design (also known as Instructional Design) is the process of creating and developing instructional courses and materials for more effective and efficient learning amongst students. It generally takes the format of analysing learning needs, curriculum development to achieve defined training goals and evaluation, with a common instructional design model being ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation).


JIT - Just In Time. Involves the delivery of learning materials at the point of need, rather than having all course material up front.


Learning Analytics - The collection, measurement and analysis of learner data to better understand and optimise the learning process.

LA - Learning Assets. See DLA.

Learning Environment - See PLE.

Learning Object - See also RLO, a Learning Object is a collection of content items, practice items and assessment items, combined together with a single learning objective. Learning Objects can also be known as Content Objects, Educational Objects, Intelligent Objects etc.

Learning Objectives - the defined outcome statement and goals of the learning process, usually set at the start of the learning process.

Learning Outcomes - the resultant knowledge, skills and habits that students take away after undertaking the learning process.

Learning Portal - Generally refers to a website that offers learning or training materials.

LITE - Learning, Innovation, Technology, Evolution. LITE is an annual EdTech conference in Edinburgh run by Administrate!

LMS - Learning Management System. A software application that handles the administration, documentation, tracking, delivery and reporting of eLearning courses and training programs. Often used alongside Instructor Led Training (ILT) to provide a Blended Learning approach.

Localisation - The process of adapting your learning materials to accommodate different languages/cultures.

LODOTO - Learn One, Do One, Teach One. See LOTO.

LOTO - Learn One Teach One. Describes a learning process whereby an individual learns something new (learning one) and disperses this knowledge to another (teaching one). Variations on this concept include LODOTO and SODOTO.

LCMS - Learning Content Management System. Typically, Learning Management Systems (LMS) don't allow the creation of content directly, requiring it be authored and then imported from a Content Authoring Tool (CAT). LCMS have this function built in, allowing content to be developed, managed and published from a single system.

LRS - Learning Record Store. A repository of learning records, necessary for using the Experience API (xAPI), usually accessed by a reporting tool or Learning Management System (LMS).

LSS - Learning Support System. A system of hardware/software working together or in isolation to support learning.


mlearning - Mobile Learning. Learning that takes place on mobile phones, typically through Apps or Web Based via Responsive designed Learning Management Systems (LMS).

Mixed-Mode Instruction - See Blended Learning.

MOOC - Massive Open Online Course. Online courses that can accommodate unlimited participants.

MLE - Managed Learning Environment. Often referred to as a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

MVLE - Managed Virtual Learning Environment. See VLE.

MLO - Mutated Learning Object - A Learning Object that has been re-purposed, changed or re-used. See also Learning Object.


OER - Open Educational Resources. Freely accessible, open licensed content, documents and media that can be used for teaching, training and learning.

On Demand Learning - See Self-Paced Learning.

On Demand Software - See SaaS.

Open Enrolment - See Public Enrolment.


PBL - Project Based Learning. Classroom training that challenges students to acquire knowledge and problem solving skills, through addressing examples of real-world challenges.

PDP - Personal Development Plan. See IDP.

Pedagogy - The process of education and teaching as well as the study of how this is best achieved.

PEP - Personal Enterprise Plan. See IDP.

PLE - Personal Learning Environment. Systems that allow learners take control of their own learning, including aspects such as setting their own learning objectives, managing what and when they learn and who they communicate with during the learning process. See also PLN.

PLN - Personal Learning Network. Refers to those people a learner interacts with/learns from within a Personal Learning Environment (PLE).

PLP - Personal Learning Path. See IDP.

POLS - Personal Online Learning Space. See PLE.

PowerPoint - Presentation software from Microsoft, commonly used in both Instructor Led Training (ILT) environments and eLearning.

Private Enrolment - When a course is held for a single organisation and only students from that organisation can attend. Also known as IHT Enrolment.

Public Enrolment - When anyone can sign up to a course. Also referred to as Open Enrolment.


Rapid Prototyping - An Instructional Systems Design (ISD) framework focused on incorporating continual review or formative feedback processes when creating instructional material.

RAT - Rapid Authoring Tools. Similar to Content Authoring Tools (CAT) but allow very quick, efficient, creation of training content.

Responsive Design - Refers to the design of a website or system that can resize it's display dynamically for tablet or mobile devices. In context, a Learning Management System (LMS) may be responsively designed to deliver learning content on mobile devices.

REST API - Representational State Transfer Application Programming Interface. See API.

RLO - Reusable Learning Object. A piece of learning content that can be standalone and/or used in multiple training courses, therefore a time saver for future course creation. See also MLO and Snackable Learning.

ROI - Return on Investment. A commercial training company will care about their profitability ratio, i.e. their net income/expenses (although there are other ways that ROI can be calculated). A training department may find ROI more challenging to measure, e.g. if a sales agents productivity increased after training, then this would give some indication of the training's value or ROI.


SaaS - Software as a Service. SaaS refers to the licensing of software on a subscription basis instead of via an up-front, one-off, payment. Often cloud based, SaaS can also be referred to as On Demand Software.

SAM - Successive Approximation Model. A learning model, first proposed by Michael Allen, which proposes taking small steps to achieving learning milestones.

SAM (2) - Student Administration System. See Student Information System.

SCORM - Shareable Content Object Reference Model, originally developed by the United State's Department of Defense to define content format specifications. It's had various iterations over the years, the latest being SCORM 2004 and is now maintained by Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL). It's commonly used by Course Authoring Tools (CAT) to output content into different LMS in a consistent manner. See also Tin Can / xAPI.

Self-Paced Learning - Involves learning where students undertake training courses at their own pace. Can also be referred to as On Demand Learning.

SEO - Search Engine Optimisation. A methodology to increase traffic to a website by achieving a higher rank within search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. In an learning context, eLearning systems may allow administrators to optimise their content to assist with SEO strategies.

Serious Games - Involves immersing students in virtual worlds with the objective of experiential learning through cooperation, critical-thinking and problem solving via role-playing and community interaction. A component of Interactive Learning, also known as Immersive Learning Simulation (ILS).

SIS - Student Information System. A system for educational establishments to manage student data, including registering students on courses, documenting performance, tracking attendance levels etc.

SLO - Student Learning Objectives. See Learning Objectives.

SME - Subject Matter Expert. An expert in a particular area who will normally work with others to create eLearning content, course objectives etc.

SMS - Student Management System. See Student Information System.

Snackable Learning - Snackable Learning tends to involve breaking down larger blocks of learning content down into smaller 'snackable' learning blocks.

Social Learning - Learning facilitated by communication and interaction with others, typically in a group setting. Within an eLearning context it can also refer to collaborative learning that takes place through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.

SODOTO - See One, Do One, Teach One. See LOTO.

SSO - Single Sign-On. An authentication process that allows users to access multiple software applications with a single set of login credentials.

STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Refers to the academic disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Streaming - Refers to a method of viewing video online whereby it's delivered on-demand. Often used to deliver video within a Learning Management System (LMS) - the student never actually downloads the video, but streams it from the source.

Synchronous Learning - Refers to a group of students learning together at the same time. This could be as a group within a class setting or online via eLearning.


TaaS - Training as a Service. Selling your training on a subscription basis to your customers. This means customers have unlimited access to your training (usually in the form of eLearning) for as long as their subscription remains active.

TBT - Technology Based Training. Refers to the delivery of training using various technologies. See also WBT.

Tin Can API - Also known as xAPI (Experience Application Programming Interface), Tin Can API is an eLearning specification created to allow content and learning systems to communicate with each other in order to record and track learning experiences (both online and offline). Learning experiences are then stored within a Learning Record Store (LRS) which can also be part of a Learning Management System (LMS). Released in 2013 and developed by Rustici Software on the instruction of ADL, Tin Can API is a newer, more capable, specification than Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM).

TMS - Training Management System. A software application that handles the administration of both online and offline training delivery. Whereas a Learning Management System (LMS) is more associated with the delivery of eLearning and is therefore built for students, a Training Management System is generally built for training administrators. Typical functionality of a Training Management System can include training course setup and scheduling, course booking services, resource management, customer and prospect management (usually via a Customer Relationship Management, CRM, system), tracking and reporting. It's common for a Training Management System to integrate with a Learning Management System in order to provide a complete end-to-end solution for training managers.


Urban Computing - A set of technologies including use of wireless networks, smart phones, tablets and search engines, used as a component within Interactive Learning.


VC - Virtual Classroom. See VILT.

VCT - Virtual Classroom Training. See VILT.

VLE - Virtual Learning Environment. An online learning platform, or range of integrated web based applications, that facilitates eLearning, normally through the delivery of digital content, knowledge bases, learning modules, assignments, quizzes and more.

VILT - Virtual Instructor Led Training. Training that's delivered in a virtual environment, sometimes referred to as Virtual Classroom, where instructor and student are normally in separate locations. Virtual Instructor Led Training can occur synchronously (a group or individual students learning from an instructor at the same time) or asynchronously (a group or individual students learning from an instructor's pre-recorded video).

VLC - Virtual Live Classroom. See VILT.

VLCT - Virtual Live Classroom Training. See VILT.

VLT - Virtual Live Training. See VILT.


Webinar - Refers to a seminar conducted over the Internet.

WBT - Web Based Training. Training delivered by the Internet (see eLearning) rather than by traditional methods, e.g. Instructor Led Training (ILT). See also VILT.

WWW - World Wide Web.


xAPI - Experience Application Programming Interface (API), also known as Tin Can API.

XML - Extensible Markup Language. A markup language used to define a set of rules for encoding documents, sharing similarities with other markup languages like Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).

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