The A to Z of eLearning Acronyms Part 1

elearning acronymeLearning can be a needlessly complicated subject. As mentioned in a previous post, buzzwords and acronyms are frequently used. We thought that it would be a great resource for both those new to and those well versed in the eLearning industry to provide a comprehensive list of acronyms.


Here is our list of eLearning acronyms from A to Z.



A framework of processes that instructional designers use. It is a guideline for building effective training and performance support tools in five phases. Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation.



The Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative is a US government program established to help programs, initiatives, and policies better support flexible, lifelong learning through the use of technology. Notable contributions include SCORM and xAPI.


The Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee. The first globally recognized eLearning content standard, developed in the early 1990s by a number of leading aircraft manufacturers.



Application programming interface: A set of functions and procedures that allow the creation of applications which access the features or data of an operating system, application, or other service. In practical terms an API allows you to push or pull data from one system to another.


Keller’s ARCS Model of motivation stands for Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction. It is a problem solving approach to learning used by instructional designers with a focus on engaging content.


Authoring Tool: This is not a one of the more regularly used eLearning acronyms but it is worthy of its place none the less. An eLearning content authoring tool is a software package which content developers use to create and package eLearning content deliverable to end users using SCORM or xAPI standards.


Bring Your Own Device: A policy whereby employees or members bring and use their own device in an office or work setting. Because LMSes like LearnUpon are designed to be responsive and functional on any type of device, learners and admins can use LearnUpon on their own device.  


Computer Based Training: The traditional name for what is now eLearning, specifically the on-demand elements  of eLearning (exclusive of ILTs).


Content Delivery Network: A global network of proxy servers deployed in multiple data centers to enable the high availability and high performance of content being viewed by the learner.


Continual Education Unit: A measurement used on continuing education programs. Usually the completion of a certain number of units allows someone to remain licensed in their profession.


Chief Learning Officer: An executive level employee in an organisation who defines the learning and development strategy. This role is usually found in larger organisations and multinationals.


Computer Managed Instruction: A “profile” for using the xAPI specification with traditional learning management systems. It is essentially a  set of rules for xAPI which narrows the overly wide original specification to increase adoption in the industry. For more information why not download our eBook on the subject.


Content Management System: A computer system that supports the creation and management of digital content, usually for publishing. A CMS is more of a passive system than an LMS. Users can view documents but probably will not have the required reporting available on their progress that an LMS would achieve.


Content On Demand: A user decides when the download of content suits their schedule. Most commonly seen in the television industry, it allows for greater convenience for the end user. In terms of eLearning it means that a learner can take their courses when it suits their schedule.


Continuous Professional Development: The tracking and evidence of learning activities taken past their initial training and qualification. It ensures that professionals are keeping up to date with industry developments and are competent to carry out their profession.


A Customer Relationship Management system manages all your company’s relationships and interactions with your customers and potential customers. It helps you improve your profitability and retain customers. Linking your CRM to your LMS will allow you to pursue an extended enterprise learning program.



Cascading style sheets define the presentation of a web-page (in markup language). When used with web applications it allows for high levels of customization.



Extended Enterprise: In eLearning this relates to the training of your partners and customers to add value, and promote product adoption and the retention of customers. An example of this is the reduction of support tickets by providing training to your customers on your product via your LMS.


Face to Face training: specifically the in-person elements of instructor led training.



Frequently Asked Questions: A list of most often asked questions from learners provided to all to reduce the repetition of answering the same questions in the future.


The Graphics Interchange Format developed by software writer Steve Wilhite while working for CompuServe in 1987 (who pronounces it jif). Originally used to compress image files, now it is most prominent for moving images which are a lightweight alternative to video. This finds it’s place on our list  of acronyms due to its rise in use in course content over the last number of years.


A Human Resource Information System (or Human Resource Management System, HRMS), is one which supports both human resources and information technology.This allows HR activities, records and processes to be held in this system. It is quite common to integrate such a system with your LMS for user creation, maintenance and learner record storage.


HTML5 is the latest version of the HTML (Hyper-Text Markup Language) standard. It is not only an improved version of HTML but also includes a larger set of technologies which allow for more powerful web applications. HTML5 technology provides many tools urgently needed to fill the gap left by the decline of Flash.


The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the foundation of communicating data over the internet. Hypertext is structured text that uses logical links (hyperlinks) between nodes containing text.


In part 2 of this post we complete the list from I right through to Z. If you think of any omissions please let me know and I’ll update the list… ASAP.