Teaching & Learning Glossary

Providing a common language to describe on-site, blended and distance learning at the University of Plymouth

ABC Learning Design
A particular Learning Design framework which is based on the pedagogic theory of Professor Diana Laurillard’s Conversational Framework, suggesting that there are six particular learning types (Acquisition, Investigation, Practice, Discussion, Collaboration and Production). These six learning types have proved to be a very effective method to helping teachers describe and discuss the student learning process. Students and non-teaching staff also find the learning types intuitive and easy to use and can produce innovative and creative storyboards with no prior experience of learning design.
Academic integrity
A term referring to honest, ethical, responsible and respectful academic conduct, including, but not limited to, refraining from cheating, plagiarism, collusion and falsifying data.
Activities (in Moodle)
Activities in Moodle are educational things to do. They include, for example: discussing a topic in a forum, writing a journal entry, submitting an assignment, or completing a quiz.
Assistive Technology
Assistive technology is technology used by people with disabilities to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. Assistive technology can include hardware, software, and peripherals that assist people with disabilities in accessing computers or other technologies to engage with learning.
Asynchronous learning describes learning when there is no set time for the learning to be occurring.
Augmented Reality (AR)
In augmented reality, users see and interact with the real world while digital content is added to it. If this sounds unclear, think of Pokémon Go – millions of people all over the world have been rushing with their smartphones in search for small virtual creatures. That’s the most vivid example of augmented reality.
Authoring Tool
Authoring tools allow you to create fully responsive, multi-device, HTML5 e-learning courses that display effectively on tablet devices and smartphones (as well as PCs and laptops). Xerte is an example of an authoring tool and is available at the University of Plymouth.
Blended Learning
Blended learning includes aspects of both traditional/F2F and online learning, taking all possibilities for delivering learning into account as a “toolkit” from which you can choose the best option for your circumstances. Blended learning allows an educator to put the aims and goals of learning first and then design the learning that fits best.
‘Blog’ is an abbreviated version of ‘weblog’, a term used to describe websites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information. A blog features diary-type commentary and links to articles on other websites, usually presented as a list of entries in reverse chronological order.
Computer-aided assessment
A method of assessment where both the delivery of the learning and the assessment are completed solely on the computer.
Continued Professional Development (CPD)
These can be considered a form of micro-credential and are often stand-alone modules or courses offered as discrete units of learning for professional development, often undertaken by those professionally employed.
Creative Commons licensing
A licensing scheme which provides a way to share and reuse copyright resources under flexible, legal terms. Creative Commons licences are increasingly applied to teaching resources that are typically made available using the internet.
Curated content
Material that is found, reviewed and selected to be relevant to your audience. This often relates to online material (e.g. YouTube or Vimeo, e-journals etc.) but can relate to hard copy (e.g. hard copy journals, books etc.).
Curriculum Design
The processes of reviewing, planning and developing a course of study. This might include formal processes in departments, and mapping content to graduate outcomes or to professional bodies and standards. A term sometimes used interchangeably with Learning Design – to mean all the processes of planning and designing a course of study and how students will learn within it.
Digital Capabilities
Digital capabilities are integral to personal, academic and professional development. This resource aims to support students and staff in developing these capabilities. In the broadest sense, digital capabilities may be defined as those skills, knowledge and practices that enable an individual to understand and interact with the digital world effectively and safely. You can assess your own digital capabilities with our Discovery Tool.
Digital Education
An umbrella term for any education that is conducted at least partly in, with or through digital technologies. This includes the use of technology in traditional classrooms, blended learning and education that takes place entirely online.
Digital Learning Resources
Digital materials included in the context of a course that support the learner’s achievement of the described learning outcomes. These materials include of a wide variety of digitally formatted resources including: graphics images or photos, audio and video, simulations, animations, learning activities.
Distance Learning
Courses and teaching and learning activity that happens solely online, without on-site attendance. Learners are not in attendance for the whole of their course.
e-Assessment / e-Exams
e-Assessment is when an assessment is created, written, delivered and marked with technology, usually a specialist assessment platform. In other words, any form of assessment that uses technology for any part of the process.
The ‘e’ stands for ‘electronic’. It usually means learning using a computer or online.
An e-portfolio is a collection of digital artefacts, created by the learner, articulating experiences, achievements and learning. It may be presented electronically or online. It may be used as a form of student assessment or as a record of professional practice. At the University of Plymouth we use a system called PebblePad for creating e-portfolios.
Face-to-Face (F2F) Learning
Learning and teaching that takes place in person (i.e. in the same location) and in real-time (i.e. at the same time). (Also referred to as ‘in-person’ learning.)
Learning undertaken in an alternative context, location or environment from the university campus-focused learning spaces.
Flipped Learning
Flipped Learning (or Flipped Classroom) is a pedagogical model in which the learning material (e.g. lecture, video, reading, homework activities/ questions) is provided prior to the session, enabling the session to be used for a more interactive approach to deepen understanding and application of concepts / practices.
Formative assessment
Formative assessments are those which are primarily designed to help you to learn, and which enable you to assess your progress and provide an opportunity to receive constructive feedback.
Games Based Learning
Education content organised into a gaming structure from the outset. This will include an end goal or series of goals, usually with milestones that offer rewards and positive feedback for achievement along the way.
Gamification takes a set of learning content and activities that do not naturally comprise a gaming element, and adds a layer of game design theory and mechanics in order to boost learner motivation and achievement.
H5P (HTML5 Package) empowers everyone to create, share and reuse interactive content – all you need is a web browser and a web site that supports H5P. H5P content at the University of Plymouth is created and distributed via Moodle courses.
A group of approximately 3 students tasked with working together for a short time within a session. It could involve finding a social learning Huddle space to complete task or may involve using a range of technologies to connect away from the main lecture or tutorial (e.g. breakout rooms in Zoom or Microsoft Teams)
Hybrid Learning
Often used interchangeably with blended learning, hybrid delivery is the design of programmes delivered with multiple delivery modes. Teaching and learning activities are both onsite and online synchronously.
Immersive Learning
This sort of elearning places individuals in a virtual interactive learning environment, so as to replicate possible scenarios or/and to teach particular skills or techniques. Simulations, Roleplay, virtual learning environments and virtual reality (VR) can be considered immersive.
Immersive video
360-degree video that allows you can wear a VR headset and experience fully immersive videos. 360-degree videos are considered a form of VR.
Learning Analytics
The measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data accumulated during an online learning activity. Learning analytics allow for deep insight into the behaviors, competencies and experiences of learners in addition to accurately identifying areas for improvement in both the learner and the learning environment.
Learning Design
How learning will be supported in each module or unit: the activities, tools and technologies, core content, class sessions and group types, assignments and assessments. A term sometimes used interchangeably with Curriculum Design – to mean all the processes of planning and designing a course of study and how students will learn within it.
Learning object
An individual object that is self-contained, reusable (can be used or adapted for use in multiple learning events), accessible (can be stored a way that allows for easy search-ability), manageable – can be tracked and updated over time, and * may be portable between learning systems or delivery tools. For example, an audio file. Courses are typically made of many learning objects.
A lecture is usually an oral presentation intended to present information or teach students about a particular subject. Lectures are used to convey critical information, history, background, theories and equations.
Lecture Capture
The process of recording a lecture and making them available for students to view.
LinkedIn Learning
LinkedIn Learning is an online platform that offers a variety of video courses to help you develop your business, creative and technological skills.  It provides expert-led courses developed by industry experts using Lynda.com content across a breadth of topics and at different levels of expertise. The thousands of courses included fall into three main areas: Technology, Creative and Business covering a wide range of topics.
Low Residency
This refers to the balance of on-site delivery in comparison with online delivery. Low residency typically includes a larger percentage of online delivery, with some on-site attendance. E.g. at the beginning of courses for cohort community building and/or access to specialist equipment. 
MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)
A MOOC is an online course with the option of free and open registration, a publicly-shared curriculum, and open-ended outcomes. MOOCs integrate social networking, accessible online resources, and are facilitated by leading practitioners in the field of study. Most significantly, MOOCs build on the engagement of learners who self-organise their participation according to learning goals, prior knowledge and skills, and common interests.
Mentimeter is a web-based polling tool to interact with students in real-time using a mobile phone or other device connected to the internet. Mentimeter visualises the response data from participants and displayed live or can be hidden until all students have submitted a response.
Micro credential
These are modules or courses that are competency-based and are usually intended to be modular or stackable. Some micro-credentials are ‘one-off’ learning and assessment experiences but do not normally constitute an award in its own right on the qualifications framework.  

Modules can be stacked to make a qualification as many are credit-bearing and subject to standard quality assurance mechanisms. The ways these can be stacked can be varied but include: 
– Independent: selected around individual or employee needs 
– Embedded: across global providers leading to recognised degree or postgrad qualification using Digital Badges. 
A digital learning format where resources is delivered in short, ‘bite-sized’ chunks related to specific learning objectives. These chunks or modules are typically 10 minutes or less. Micro-learning can be videos, animations, audio files, or e-learning.
Mixed Reality (MR)
This is a recent development, sitting on the reality-virtuality spectrum midway between AR and VR.
Mobile Learning
Using mobile devices e.g. mobile phones, tablets, to facilitate learning and teaching. (Also referred to as m-learning.)
Moodle is the world’s most popular Virtual Learning Environment and is used here at the University of Plymouth as it’s primary teaching and learning system, whilst being supported by many others.
Non-standard provision / Alternative provision 
Non-standard provision is an umbrella transitional term that is used as Universities diversify their educational offering. The modes and taxonomy highlights the variation of courses HEIs are developing and offering alongside their more traditional Undergraduate and Postgraduate on-site, blended programmes.
On-site delivery
Teaching takes place live on campus or other physical sites approved for use by the University, including NHS Trusts and University of Plymouth campuses across the Peninsula.
Online Learning
Systematically planned, designed and developed digital learning experiences that take place online.
Open Educational Resources (OER)
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, enabling people to legally and freely use, adapt and re-share them with no or limited restrictions. Examples of OER include textbooks, curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation.
Open educational practices (OEP)
Open educational practices that those which are concerned with and promote equity and openness. Open educational practices make use of the freedoms of open licencing which provide the ability to retain, reuse, revise, remix, redistribute open educational resources.
Panopto is the University’s online media platform for teaching and learning. Panopto is available through Moodle, as an app for your phone or tablet, and as a desktop application. You can use Panopto to record lectures or other taught sessions to later share with learners. Additionally, you can create video podcasts and screencasts for both blended and online learning activities.
PebblePad is a web-based ePortfolio and Personal Learning system. The system is available to all staff and students at the University of Plymouth and can be used independently for Personal and Professional Development, or as part of assessed activities within the curriculum.
Personalised Learning
A type of learning that’s personally adapted and tailored to you as a learner, to meet your specific needs.
Originally a digital audio file made available online for download to computer or mobile device. Now the term can include video, e-books and radio broadcasts as well as audio. The video podcasts are sometimes called vodcasts/vidcasts.
Learning opportunities relating to putting theory and research into practice.
Problem Based Learning
A learner-centered approach that’s similar to Scenario-Based Learning. In this approach, learners are presented with a problem and gain knowledge from the development of a solution.
Reading Lists
The online reading lists are linked to the Library catalogue and provides links to electronic versions of journal articles where the University of Plymouth has a subscription to that journal and links to other web-based resources. Online reading lists are created in Leganto (our reading list system) and are linked to from Moodle courses.
SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) defines how online learning content speaks to, and tracks results back to, a Virtual Learning Environment. The acronym indicates that SCORM is interoperable: a piece of content that’s easy to reuse, share and repurpose across eLearning tools and platforms.
SSO (Single Sign-On)
Single sign-on or SSO is a single set of credentials that allows users to access multiple applications at the University of Plymouth while only needing to log in once. SSO is implemented so users don’t need to login to access applications, like Moodle, PebblePad, Panopto etc. separately.
Scaffolding is the collection of resources given to learners to help them achieve their goals. That can include praise, dividing a task into manageable steps or offering tips to help them overcome an obstacle. As the online learner progresses, resources are slowly removed. The goal is to provide a learner with the guidance they need to become confident and empowered. The result is that they are able to participate in self-guided learning activities without assistance.
A video that captures what takes place on a computer screen. This is often accompanied by audio narration.
Self-Paced Learning
A type of asynchronous instruction, self-paced learning allows learners to control the pace and timing of their progress through course materials.
A seminar is a form of academic instruction which has the function of bringing together small groups for recurring meetings, focusing each time on some particular subject, in which everyone present is requested to participate. This is often accomplished through an ongoing Socratic dialogue with a seminar leader or instructor, or through a more formal presentation of research. It is essentially a place where assigned readings are discussed, questions can be raised and debates can be conducted.
Short Courses
Short courses can be considered as a type of micro credential that are also stand alone, although shorter in learning hours. UoP has a number of short courses that are not stackable and are hosted on our own short course platform. Average time to complete our courses is 6-10 hours. Most of our courses are delivered fully online and participants engage at distance.
Social Learning
When you learn through other people. Sometimes it’s interacting with them, discussing ideas and sharing projects to improve your collective knowledge, and sometimes it’s learning from them, from their activities and ideas.
Student Response System (SRS)
Student response systems (also known as audience response systems) are classroom tools (e.g. Mentimeter) that allow you to quickly and easily pose question and polls to gather real-time feedback and answers from your students in order to encourage engagement and communication within teaching sessions.
Summative assessment
The process of evaluating learning against a standard or benchmark. Summative assessments are primarily designed to sum up what you have achieved after a period of time. Summative assessments include standardised tests delivered by examination.
Supported Independent-Study

Activities where a trainee conducts research or another identified learning activity either on their own and/or with tutor support (face-to-face or otherwise).
Synchronous learning refers to a learning event in which students are engaging in learning at the same time but not always in the same place. 
Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)
Technology enhanced learning is the use of technology to maximise the student learning experience. This includes learning with technology e.g. using communication, information and relates technologies to support learning, teaching and assessment e.g. computer assisted design (CAD), use of media in the classroom etc; and learning through technology e.g. online learning, mobile learning, and technology enhanced classrooms.
Turnitin is an originality checking service available to students at the University of Plymouth. It is provided as a tool to help you develop best practice for using and citing other people’s work. It can help you develop your academic writing skills over time by highlighting opportunities for improvement in areas such as referencing and paraphrasing. Turnitin is integrated directly into Moodle via the Assignment activity, and staff and students will see it more visible once a submission has taken place via Turnitin’s originality reports.
A tutorial is a small class of one, or only a few students, in which the tutor, a lecturer, or other academic staff member, gives additional individual attention to the students. More interactive and specific than a lecture, a tutorial seeks to teach by example and supply the information to complete a certain task.
Virtual Classroom
An online teaching and learning environment in which students and educators can communicate, interact and engage with learning resources in real-time Different virtual classroom providers offer different tools in the classroom.
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
An online platform for providing support for learning and teaching. The VLE can be used to host blended or online learning. There is a wide range of VLEs on the market, each comes with its own set of tools and customisability. Generally, a VLE will enable the hosting of documents and media, provision of communication channels, assignments, grades and feedback amongst other tools. At the University of Plymouth the VLE is Moodle (also known as DLE).
Virtual Reality (VR)
This technology immerses users in a virtual environment that is completely generated by a computer. The most advanced VR experiences even provide freedom of movement – users can move in a digital environment and hear sounds. Moreover, special hand controllers can be used to enhance VR experiences, and haptic peripherals can add enhancement and feedback to movements.
A video blog or video log – shortened to ‘vlog’ is a form of blog in the medium of video. Vlogs often include video content with embedded text, images and/or metadata.
Vodcast / Vidcast
See podcast.
A webinar is a web-based seminar i.e. a seminar or workshop which is held online using video conferencing software. Webinars are often held in virtual classrooms (see above) but can also be held using other video conferencing tools. Presenters and attendees at a webinar will join online, synchronously from wherever they are. Webinars are usually interactive, not just a lecture with Q&A. The different tools provided by virtual classroom software enables student engagement in webinars e.g. by text chat, answering polls, engaging in activities, asking questions, or discussion and activities in breakout rooms. At University of Plymouth webinars are generally held in the virtual classrooms using Zoom or Teams.
Work-Based Learning
Learning achieved by undertaking activities, under supervision and mentoring, in a work context. Learning concepts and techniques associated with a particular profession or trade in a working environment, while being monitored and supported by a tutor.
A training workshop is a type of interactive training where participants carry out a number of training activities rather than passively listen to a lecture or presentation. Broadly, two types of workshops exist: a general workshop is put on for a mixed audience, and a closed workshop is tailored towards meeting the training needs of a specific group.
Xerte is an authoring tool that allow anyone at the University of Plymouth create interactive learning materials quickly and easily.
Zoom is a web conferencing tool that is available to all staff and students. It enables online communication, collaboration and interaction. Features include screens sharing, instant chat, whiteboard, annotations, video sharing and audio discussions. Meetings can be recorded to the cloud and accessed via Panopto.

A comprehensive glossary of education terms can also be found via Wikipedia.