The New Lingo for Educators

We decided to create on-line learning for our audiences. What’s next? As I’m searching the web looking for “best practices”, I’m sensing that first we want to be clear about what we’re doing.  There are many terms flying around out there, and I decided to get some definitions to make distinctions.  Note that my chosen definitions below could be discussed, tweaked, and argued by colleagues, which certainly would be a fun activity.
Through my search for answers, I  became aware that papers can be written in search of defining each one of these terms.  In fact, it may be beneficial to revisit your definition periodically and see if it still works for your program.  So my definitions are really just to start people thinking.
  1. Education:The transfer of knowledge
  2. Training: The transfer of ability
  3. Faculty development:The broad range of activities that institutions use to renew or help faculty members in their multiple roles. Faculty development activities include programs to enhance teaching and education, research and scholarly activity, academic leadership and management, and faculty affairs, including faculty recruitment, advancement, retention, and vitality. The intent of these activities is to aid faculty members in their roles as teachers, educators, leaders, administrators and researchers.
  4. Professional development: To improve and broaden knowledge and skills and develop the personal qualities required in their professional lives. (a more detailed definition depends on your program’ audience. Defining it will help you identify your learning outcomes)
  5. Teacher development: The process of which teachers attitudes to their work are modified and teacher’s professional performance may be improved. Teacher development activities may include new theoretical and teaching suggestions, critical reflection on their practice and commitment to teaching, and receiving support and feedback.
  6. Teacher training: Formal activities or classes that either train students to be teachers, or train teachers on specific curricula to further and deepen their practice of teaching and add activities and lesson plan possibilities.
  7. Train-the-trainer: Specific type of training that empowers and prepares learners to have the ability to train others. Instruction is designed to serve as a model for the learners. Learning outcomes would include (but are not limited to) not only the topic, but also facilitation techniques, organization, educational technology, resources, and ways to assess.
  8. Web-based learning: Associated with learning materials delivered in a Web browser, including when the materials are packaged on CD-ROM or other media.
  9. Online learning: Associated with content readily accessible on a computer. The content may be on the Web or the Internet, or simply installed on a CD-ROM or the computer hard disk.
  10. Educational technology: An array of tools that might be helpful in advancing student learning. Tools may include, but is not limited to, software, hardware, internet applications, mobile devices, and activities.  Educational technology takes instructional and learning theory into consideration, so that proper tools and techniques are selected to match learning outcomes and students’ needs.
  11. Instructional technology: “The theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning,” according to the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) Definitions and Terminology Committee.
  12. Instructional design: A systematic process that is employed to develop education and training programs in a consistent and reliable fashion” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2007). In addition, Instructional Design models or theories may be thought of as frameworks for developing modules or lessons that 1) increase and/or enhance the possibility of learning and 2) encourage the engagement of learners so that they learn faster and gain deeper levels of understanding.
  13. Distance education: A method of teaching in which the students are not required to be physically present at a specific location during the term.
  14. Distance learning: Involves interaction at a distance between instructor and learners, and enables timely instructor reaction to learners. Simply posting or broadcasting learning materials to learners is not distance learning. Instructors must be involved in receiving feedback from learners.
  15. Podelation: Oh wait, that’s not a word…..yet!


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