eLearning has developed significantly over recent years, sharing innovative, creative and unique ways to learn online with its users. Whilst updates and additions are helpful within the technological world, we can’t help but notice that there are many buzzwords surrounding online learning – and honestly, they rarely mean what we think they mean.

Here at Howtomoodle, we thought that it would be helpful to do the hard work for you and find out the true definitions behind these eLearning buzzwords which have developed over time.


Asynchronous learning

A student-centred learning interaction, as well as peer-to-peer interactions which are happening in different locations to build a sense of community within the eLearning platform.


Synchronous learning

A more general term to describe forms of education and learning which occur at the same time, but not in the same place. For example, in relation to eLearning, learners will be able to interact with peers and teachers in real-time but not in person.


Self-paced learning

You are able to make your own decisions when it comes to your online learning. For example, if you’re answering questions your teacher has set for you – you can answer them in the time you need, not a set time.


Virtual classroom

Another term used to describe any online learning platform course or working environment.


Authoring tool

An online tool which provides features and additional software to an online learning system, such as themes and certificates.


Competency-based learning

An approach to teaching and learning which focuses mostly on skills rather than other types of learning.


BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

Allowing your learners to bring their own devices or use their own devices as part of their online learning.


LDR (Learner Data Reports)

A Moodle reporting plugin developed by us! This plugin allows you to quickly generate reports based on user profiles, marks, courses and activity information and completion status.


AI - Artificial Intelligence

AI is all about designing and implementing intelligent software which can analyse its environment (your LMS for example) and make intelligent decisions. This could be used to see where learners need improvement on specific courses or subjects and which they are improving in – as well as many other variations.


Cloud LMS

A Cloud LMS is any software or hardware which doesn’t require you to install additional hardware or software in order to access it. Cloud-Based LMS is usually in the form of a web portal, where users can access and use the features online.


Cloud-Based Hosting

There are services which provide hosting on virtual servers which are pulled from the physical web servers. There are both, public and private servers which can be utilised by users depending upon their requirements.



TinCan can track almost any activity across eLearning platforms, and can deliver a much more detailed view of learners’ progress – both online and offline. XAPI is a more up-to-date “name” which is being used more frequently in recent years.



The 70:20:10 learning module for learning and development within the workplace was created in the 1980’s and is a formula used to describe the sources for optimal learning. 70% is knowledge from job-related experiences, 20% is from interaction with others, and the final 10% is from formal education events. The formula shows that a hand-on approach (the 70%) is much more beneficial.


Just in Time

An approach which means that learners can get the information that they want, exactly when they need it – this is similar to Microlearning as it means the user is not likely to be learning from online courses.

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