Learning and Technology Basics - dummies

By Elaine Biech

The field is still evolving for the Talent Development profession. This means you will find various definitions for the same tool, delivery mechanism, and even your professional title. Both webinar and virtual ILT classroom reference the online training event itself. Your role title is the facilitator.

Here, you examine a few other words and how they define what you will do. The terms are presented in order of complexity, not alphabetically. So if you are an old hand at this, you can skip the first few — or perhaps, all of them.

  • E-Learning: Typically the “e” stand for electronic, but expand that to mean more. Say it also means exciting, effective, and even — easy.

  • Asynchronous: Typically a self-paced, online tutorial that doesn’t require the trainer and learner to participate at the same time; your learners can access it anytime because it is stored to access 24/7.

  • Synchronous: Training delivered in real time when the learner can interact with you, even if only via chat or message boxes; also called a webinar or virtual training.

  • M-Learning: Materials designed specifically to use on mobile devices; think smaller in viewing size and shorter attention spans.

  • LMS: Your learning management system (LMS) can be as simple as a spreadsheet but generally it is a computer-based storage system for your training records.

  • LRS: Learning record systems (LRS) are a newer concept born from the idea that learning is more than just courses assigned and tracked in an LMS. An LRS is typically associated with the Tin Can API (more later) and seeks to track and monitor all types of learning opportunities, from a voice-recorded synopsis of some behavior coaching to an article relevant to job performance read on the Internet by a learner. The concept is simple: If you are constantly learning, shouldn’t you track it in a LMS?

  • LCMS: Learning management content systems are one step more sophisticated than LMS or LRS, allowing multiple developers to store content and reuse, repurpose, or rebuild materials instead of re-creating them.

  • Webinars: Usually synchronous training when interaction between you and your learners is possible.

  • Webcasts: Usually asynchronous training or a very large session where individual interaction is not feasible; if a webinar is recorded for later ­listening by those who may have missed the live version, it may be called a webcast.

  • Platform: Pre-existing environment software; typical platforms include hardware architecture, an operating system (OS), and runtime libraries; often used when referring to what kind of computer systems a certain software program will run on, such as Windows or Macintosh.

  • Portal: Web supersite that delivers services such as web searching, news, free email, discussion groups, and links to other sites; initially general-purpose sites, now often references sites that offer services to a particular industry, such as marketing, banking, or insurance.

  • SCORM and Tin Can API: Sharable content object reference model (SCORM) is the standard that allows publishing e-learning materials consistently across many LMS. Tin Can or Experience API is the newly adopted model that advances what can be recorded and what defines learning.

Have you ever been in an e-learning discussion like the following? “Since I don’t want to use AICC anymore, let’s make sure the new Articulate modules are output in both SCORM 1.2 and Tin Can with the 508 compliance requirements fully met. Oh, and let’s be sure we plan for dashboard data on the learner access of the three elements.” If you are new to e-learning, all the jargon may seem overwhelming. Well, it is! It is often a different language, and like learning any language, until you use it, it probably won’t make much sense.

Get some experience. Sit in on several webinars if you haven’t already. Compare what each facilitator does. Ask questions. Lots of questions. And do. The best way to learn is by doing. So, design and deliver your own. Start small, whether it is a video or webinar. Limit your time and your learners to a sympathetic group who will give you valuable feedback to make your program better. You know the drill. Experience is the best teacher.