The Learning & Development industry has a vocabulary all its own: microlearning, SCORM, gamification (is it pronounced gamma-fication or game-ification?).

Picking up on all the essential eLearning terms can take a while. We grouped together the major ones so you can focus on big picture strategy rather than picking up context clues and connecting dots.

Leaderboards are one way you can gamify your LMS.


Gamification is when elements of video games — such as badges, points, or leaderboards — are used to help drive learner engagement. Almost everyone in America has played a video game. And the gaming industry has worked hard to make sure advancing levels is fun and interesting, even when it’s a challenge. It makes sense for L&D pros to utilize these techniques. After all, nearly 80% of learners said they’d be more productive if their educational experience was more game-like.

Blended Learning

Blended learning is when L&D content mixes online learning with real-world training. The learner is empowered with this approach. They get to control the pace of learning, but also get to benefit from in-person instruction. For instance, a manager-in-training can learn about group dynamics and management techniques at their own pace online, and then apply those concepts through role play during a live training event.

Informal Learning

Research shows that traditional classroom learning accounts for only 10% of what you learn. The other 90% comes from informal learning. That massive percentage is also called social learning. It’s done mostly through real-world experience and talking with others. But an LMS can facilitate informal learning if users are able to upload content into the system, or comment and interact with content and other users.

Short, hyper-focused videos are a great way to utilize microlearning to engage your learners. And they’re a good way to bolster your content library on your own.


Microlearning is when content is delivered in short, hyper-specific blasts. Usually microlearning content is a video that runs 90 seconds or less—sometimes even 30 seconds or less. It’s a great tool for a modern L&D strategy because, research shows, learners most often reach for content right when they need it. If learners can find what they need exactly when they need it they’re more likely to turn to the company LMS than a search engine.


LMS stands for Learning Management System. It’s the home base for your organization’s L&D content. LMSs have all kinds of features, but mainly they serve to store, organize, deliver and track onboarding and professional development content. All learners are organized in the system too, so each learner can quickly and easily find content relevant to them.

Mobile Responsive Design

Mobile responsive design is the way content morphs to fit the screen size of whatever device a learner uses. When a learner logs in from a tablet or smartphone, the content scales and rearranges to fit the screen. The learner just scrolls through and opens the needed content. We run into mobile responsive design every day. You notice when sites aren’t mobile responsive—it’s a pain when you’re forced to pinch and zoom on your smartphone just to use a site.


Engagement is the emotional investment and intellectual curiosity a learner has in your training program. Engagement is important because if a learner is actively engaged with content, they refer back to it more often and retain more information when they do. It’s one of the hardest L&D pieces to measure objectively. But because it’s so important, we put our minds to it and crafted a metric that takes into account both required and discretionary actions learners take in an LMS.

System-wide reports give you an simple tool to track the effectiveness of your L&D strategy.


Reporting is a common feature of LMSs. Reports tell you who’s using your LMS and how they’re using it. Generally, reporting provides you with information about learners, courses, and the LMS as a system. It’s important that an LMS have robust reporting capabilities for compliance training but also because it can provide a sense of learner engagement.


Integrations are when software systems work together, and are most often used to streamline an LMS. For instance, integrating a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) can ease the administrative burden of updating learner profiles and simplify the roll out of training initiatives. Integrations with scheduling or employee benefits software can help make your LMS an indispensable part of your learners’ workday, too.

Instructor-led Training

Instructor-led training is a fancy term for traditional education, when learning material is taught in person by a teacher or expert. ILT (acronyms abound in L&D) is a broad term that covers everything from workshops to webinars. Weaving expert-led and real-world training into an eLearning program is immensely valuable. They give learners a chance to get immediate answers to questions and to put skills into practice.


SCORM is another acronym. This one stands for Sharable Object Reference Model. It’s a file format—a way to package online training material, akin to a CD. SCORM is a great way to share content between systems, because almost every LMS is SCORM-compliant. Most traditional eLearning content is published in SCORM. SCORM content that is viewable on modern tablet and mobile devices is known as a “HTML5 compatible.”

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