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SyberWorks Learning and Performance Glossary


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Andragogy: a term coined by Malcolm Knowles to describe the way in which adults learn. The main points include: What's in it for me? Let me decide how I'll learn it. Where does this fit in relation to the other stuff I know? Sell me on learning this. Remove the obstacles from my path, please.

Anecdotes: a short account of an interesting or humorous incident used to encourage creativity or empathy from students. Anecdotes can help students make real-world connections to unfamiliar topics.

Anticipation Guide: a checklist written by the instructor to trigger existing knowledge.

AoD (audio on demand): see CoD.

API (application program interface): a language and message format built-in to an application that provides a way for operating systems or other computer programs to work together, speak to each other and share data.

Applet: a small Java program or application that runs on a browser and can be embedded in the HTML of a webpage. Applets are more secure than Java applications because they cannot access certain resources on the local computer, such as hard drives.

Application: software that allows a user to perform specific tasks or functions, like word processing, email, accounting, database management, creation of spreadsheets, generation of graphics, etc.

Application Cards: at the end of instruction, students write a real-world application of their new knowledge on a small card, and submit it to the teacher.

Applied Behavior Analysis: used to modify student or class behaviors.

Applied Imagination: a technique for simulating creativity, such as the use of questions as prompts to enable people to consider unrelated options.

Apraxia: a severe disorder characterized by the inability to speak or the struggle to speak clearly. This occurs when the muscles of the mouth cannot obey commands from the brain or when the brain cannot send those commands.

ARCS: acronym for Keller's Theory of Motivation (attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction).

Articulation disorders: difficulty with the pronunciation of speech sounds due to imprecise placement, timing, speed or pressure of the throat, lips or tongue.

Artifact Strategy: the teacher presents carefully selected objects (artifacts) to the students, poses a problem, and allows students to conduct research on the object. Afterwards, the students are allowed to formulate answers to the problem.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange): a code that converts characters (letters, numerals and symbols) into numbers that computers can process.

ASP (Active Server Pages): a technology promoted by Microsoft that allows web developers to embed Visual Basic code into HTML documents, to make web applications more interactive.

ASP (Application Service Provider): a company that supplies software applications and/or software-related services over the Internet. ASPs allow companies to save money, time and resources by outsourcing some or all of their information technology needs.

Assessment: a measure or means to evaluate an individual's knowledge level for various purposes, including a determination of readiness for learning, monitoring progress, and measuring the knowledge acquired after instruction.

Assessment item: a question or assessable activity used to determine whether the student truly understands and can apply the learning objective.

Asset: 1) Intellectual property (see Knowledge Asset). 2) Hardware and software owned by an organization.

Assistive Technology: equipment or software that enables people with disabilities to accomplish daily living tasks, assist them in communication, education, work or recreation activities. Some examples include screen readers and voice input software.

Associations: a mental connection or relation between thoughts, feelings, ideas or sensations.

Assumption Smashing: list the assumptions of the problem, and then explore what happens as you drop each of these assumptions individually or in combination.

Astigmatism: blurred vision caused by uneven curvature of lens or cornea.

Asynchronous Learning: a type of learning where interactions between instructors and students occurs with a time delay. Some examples are self-paced courses taken via the Internet or CD-ROM, Q&A mentoring, online discussion groups, and email.

ATM (asynchronous transfer mode): a network technology based on transferring information in packets of fixed sizes, enabling smooth transmission. ATM supports real-time voice and video as well as data, and can reach speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

Attitude: an internal state that influences an individual's choices or the manner in which they behave. Attitudes represent a state of mind or disposition of an individual.

Audio bridge: a device used in audio conferencing that connects multiple telephone lines.

Audioconferencing: voice-only connection between more than two locations using standard telephone lines.

Audio-Visuals (A/V): educational equipment and applications that deal with sound and sight including: posters, paintings, slides, videos, films, audio tapes, videotapes, DVDs and (more recently) WAV and Flash files.

Audio Graphics: computer-based technology that allows simultaneous transmission of voice, data, and graphic images across local telephone lines for instructor-learner interaction.

Augmentative Communication: special equipment that provides an alternative for spoken language.

Authentic Instruction: instruction that focuses on higher order thinking, depth of knowledge, real-world applications, and social interactions, and that is meaningful to students.

Authentic Questions: questions generated and prompted spontaneously by learners, not by instructors, in response to natural curiosity about the content of study.

Authoring tool: a software application used by teachers and instructional designers to create e-Learning courseware. Some examples of authoring tools include instructionally focused authoring tools, web-authoring and programming tools, knowledge-capture systems, and text- and file-creation tools.

Avatar: a virtual digital image representing a person in an online environment. In e-Learning applications, avatars usually represent students and instructors.

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