Analysis is the first step in the instructional design process and has multiple components. Various types of analysis include: business, performance gap, root cause, content, and audience.


Assessing a learner’s progress or success at achieving training goals can encompass tests and quizzes, surveys, activities, simulations and other methods. The key is to systematically measure and evaluate this progress.

Asynchronous Learning

Asynchronous learning separates the learner from the time constraints of face-to-face instruction. eLearning is essentially asynchronous, although some exceptions such as webinars exist. Learners go at their own pace, following their own schedule, and without the need for the live presence of an instructor while they learn.

Behavioral Change

Training generally involves some sort of behavioral change, which can range from proficiency at a technical task to improved interactions with co-workers or customers. The amount of behavioral change achieved is the subject of assessment and evaluation.

Blended Learning

Learning activities can be blended for an enhanced learning experience. Classroom training can be preceded by an online course to set the foundation for a more efficient use of classroom time. Online courses or other asynchronous techniques can then be available to reinforce the training and provide refresher training.


Branching allows training to take a learner down a particular path based on choices made in the lesson.


Computer-Based Training, or CBT, is the precursor to web-based training. It is another term for eLearning, but was primarily used to deliver courses via physical media such as CD-ROMs, or a LAN. With greater bandwidths available, most eLearning is now web- based.


Chunking is the art of reducing large amounts of information into digestible pieces. These organized, discrete units are easier for the learner to process, and help them comprehend the material.


Development is the process of creating training materials. For eLearning the development process involves coding and may include the creation of images, animations, audio, or video. Development for face-to-face training includes preparation of all course materials.

Distance Learning

In distance learning, the distance can be temporal or physical. It can occur at the same time over many geographic locations such as remote classrooms, webinars, or videoconferencing. It can also be asynchronous, available at any time in a variety of formats from interactive courses to written correspondence.

eLearning definition

eLearning covers a broad spectrum of learning activities which are based on digital media. It can range from elaborate LMS based curricula of courses to a quick how-to animation delivered to a smartphone. It is very flexible, allowing for self-paced learning and global accessibility, adapting to numerous delivery options.


Evaluation uses a variety of methods to systematically gather information about the effectiveness of the training. The results of evaluation can be used to assess how closely goals have been met, where improvements can be made, and the benefits to the learner.


Goals are the high-level statement of the desired end result of the training. From the goals objectives are developed, which form the framework of the organization of information used to develop the training.

Informal Learning

When a learner sets their own goals and objectives, and finds their own path to the information and knowledge they need, it is natural, or informal learning. Having conversations, asking questions, working with someone else, practicing – these are all common, unstructured ways to learn.

Instructional Design

Instructional design is a systematic approach to identify training needs, gather the information to fill those needs, and organize and design the presentation of those materials. The ADDIE process—Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation—is a basic instructional design model.

Interactive Multimedia

Interactive implies action and reaction; cause and effect. Multimedia implies multiple forms of media, such as text, graphics, sound, video. With interactive multimedia, the user performs actions to which the program reacts—click a button and a graphic changes, roll over a term to get a definition, input text to answer a question, or make a gesture to zoom in on a picture.

Learning Style

Learning style refers to the variety of ways we perceive information. The most commonly referenced learning styles are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.


A Learning Management System is the software that tracks and manages courses and their users. It maintains the database of developed courses, and handles everything from login to completion certificates. It keeps track of users, manages scores, produces reports, and many other tasks.

Mobile Learning

Mobile learning is eLearning delivered to a mobile device such as a phone or tablet. It is tethered only by the availability of wi-fi or other wireless communication.


Objectives state what a learner will be able to do. Objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Online Learning

Online learning is delivered to the target audience via the internet.

Performance Improvement

The desired result of training is performance improvement, in knowledge or skills. Performance improvement is assessed on the job.

Project Management

Project management involves first creating a plan that meets the criteria of the deliverables required by the client, and then managing and adjusting the execution of the project so that it follows the plan from design to delivery.


Quality Assurance uses reviews and testing to ensure the course meets all standards and requirements, and is free from errors.


SCORM, or the Sharable Courseware Object Reference Model, is a set of standards for developing web-based training materials. It produces small, reusable units, which can be shared in multiple courses or curricula. It also standardizes tracking based on learning objectives.


One of the first steps in designing a course is capturing information from Subject Matter Experts, or SMEs. These are the individuals whose knowledge must be shared – by gathering, organizing, and presenting it in a meaningful way.

Social Learning

Social learning occurs when people share knowledge and/or skills with one another.

Virtual Classroom

Anything that is not a physical classroom is a virtual one—a simulated classroom environment using software that allows a teacher and students to interact.


As the name implies, a webinar is a seminar that takes place over the web. At a set time, participants sign in to a collaborative software program that allows the presenter and participants to view the same screen, and communicate via chat and comments. This synchronous event is often recorded and archived for asynchronous access.