A Glossary is an alphabetical list of words relating to a specific subject. In this instance, subjects specific to the FE & Skills sector and we will of course add more as the site develops. If you have a category which needs ‘defining’, please let us know via our contact page.

AR (Augmented Reality)
Communication in Teaching, Learning & Assessment
Digitised Learning Materials
Digital Literacy
Enhanced learning resources
Flipped Classroom
Information Technology (IT)
Mobile Technology
Online Teaching, Learning & Assessment
QR code
Reporting and Data
Screen Capture
Skills Scan
Staff development
Virtual Learning Environment
Virtual Reality

ARThe ability to add digital content to the physical world. This can be achieved in a variety of ways: triggered by location (GeoPOI Geographic Point of Interest); triggered by an image or 3d article; and now triggered by a physical condition (eg fitbit sensing physical motion).

The physical world is a part of the experience as opposed to virtual reality (VR) where the viewer is immersed in an alternative world with no reference to reality.

Read more: Tell me more about Augmented Reality

ComputingAn umbrella term to refer to subjects which are focused on teaching about digital technology and its use, including: Computer Science, Information Technology, and Digital Literacy.

CommunicationIs as it says on the tin, but there is no one definition or example it is simply a method of interacting with a learner on-line what would otherwise be delivered in a classroom or face to face. On-line may include a telephone, mobile-phone and or the internet from a multiple choice of devices. The obvious advantages include reaching individuals or groups that would not otherwise be able to attend a learning centre, or be assessed at a time or place when they are ‘ready’ to be assessed. Current technology enables the digital tools that enhance the learner experience and may be recorded for further use or as evidence of learning.

Read more: How do you communicate with your learner?

DigitisedDigitising learning resources opens up a wealth of opportunities to enhance existing or create new learning materials making them more engaging, interactive and accessible within a classroom or on-line via a variety of platforms and mobile devices.

Read more: FELTAG a directive, an aspiration or just common sense?

Digital LiteracyThe ability to operate effectively as a citizen in the 21st century. It covers the following areas:

  • Understanding the impact of new technologies on society, including the ways in which new technologies change disciplines (e.g. history, chemistry, English, etc)
  • Being able to interact safely in a digital world (encompassing e-safety, cyber-bullying, data security, etc)
  • Being able to locate, organise, understand, evaluate, analyze and (re)present information using digital technology (including using dynamic and procedural representations).

Read more: Developing student’s digital literacy

EnhancedLong before the FELTAG report, myself and colleagues within the RSC, were raising awareness of and demonstrating how teachers and trainers could make classroom delivery engaging and interactive with minimum of ITC skills or training. Invariably the enhanced resources could then be made available on-line and therefore accessible 24/7.

Read more: Tools to enhance learning resources

ePortfolioThere are three main types of ePortfolio, although in practice, the first two overlap considerably, they are designed for distinctively different purposes.

  1. RaRPA
    A system designed for reflective Recording and Reporting Progress and Achievements
  1. CPD
    A system designed for Continuing Personal Development, teaching and assessment.
    Although there are many ‘home grown’ systems in Universities and colleges, the most commonly known and widely used for the above are : Mahara and Pebble Pad.
  1. eAssessment Portfolio
    Is a web based Learner Management System (LMS) developed specifically to meet the requirements of competency based teaching and assessment. But beware, there are very few that meet the advanced criteria needed for current demands, there are ‘good, bad & ugly’. Contact us!

Read more: What is an ePortfolio?

eSafetyeSafetyOnline safety is an essential element of all education settings, safeguarding responsibilities and requires strategic oversight and ownership to be able to develop appropriate policies and procedures to protect and prepare all members of the community. The e-Safety agenda has shifted towards enabling children and young people to manage risk, rather than filtering/blocking and therefore requires a comprehensive and embedded curriculum which is adapted specifically to the needs and requirements of pupils and the technology with which they are exposed to.

Read more: Safeguarding children and young people and young vulnerable adults policy (PDF file)

ETAGIn 2014 ministers from DfE and BIS set up the Education Technology Action Group (ETAG). An independent group and asked to advise on how digital technology might empower teachers and learners by enabling innovation across schools, further education and higher education sectors for the benefit of students, employers and the wider economy. 

Read more: ETAG Report

FELTAGFELTAG (Further Education Technology Action Group) is a group set up by Matthew Hancock, the minister of state for business and enterprise at the time, in order to champion the use of digital technology in FE. See report and government response:

It is in effect a driver to make effective use of technology in FE & Skills, includes making the quality of learning resources and courses fit for purpose and made accessible across multiple platforms and devices in keeping with the 21st century learner. For example the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) has included a requirement for a percentage of online delivery (10%) for future courses.

Read more: FELTAG a directive, an aspiration or just common sense?

FlippedIs a reversal of traditional methods of classroom delivery and in my opinion well suited for WBL It is a form of in which students access ‘stand alone’ materials from home or the workplace, such as videos, bite-size tutorials, quizzes, mock tests etc. and what might have been homework is done in class with teachers and students discussing and solving questions. Teacher interaction with students is more personalized – guidance instead of lecturing.

Read more: Flipped classroom

ICTThe cross curricula use of digital technology to enhance learning.


ITThe assembly, deployment, and configuration of digital systems to meet user needs for particular purposes. (Note that this is narrower than the use in industry, which generally encompasses Computer Science as well).

MobileEveryday devices that may be used for education is rapidly becoming ’the norm’ for the majority of learners and must be taken into account when planning coursework or simply providing information, to access via a Smartphone, tablet or personal laptop from outside of the training centre.

Read more: Why mobile devices are an absolute must in vocational learning

OnlineThe method of interacting with a learner on-line what would otherwise be delivered in a classroom or face to face. On-line may include accessing a course and or tutor over the internet from a multiple choice of devices as a webinar (delivering to many), on-line training (delivering to a small group), or one-to-one which is appropriate for on-line assessment. Although not commonly used in FE & Skills, it is widely used for personal and staff development, meetings for ease of access and other efficiencies.

Read more: How do you communicate with your learner?

QRQR, or Quick Response codes, are two-dimensional barcodes that can be read using smartphones, tablets, laptops and dedicated QR reading devices. They link directly to articles, emails, websites, phone numbers, videos, social media pages and more.

ReportingIs essential to the success or otherwise of any organisation, and whilst all learning providers have an MIS, a high percentage have not integrated it with other vital information such as tracking learner progress. For vocational courses, apprenticeships etc. If using a paper based system,  there will be issues around time delays, lack of visibility or progress and considerable unnecessary cost.  In this respect a fully integrated eAssessement Portfolio enables an organisation to manage its business.

Read more: What is an ePortfolio?

ScreenNot to be confused with ‘Print Screen’ is a means by which everything showing on a screen including video, actions, tutorials, may be ‘captured’, edited and saved as a video for use in a multitude of ways.  Until recently the  software required was relatively expensive and challenging to use. But there are now a number of ‘user friendly’ examples,  with excellent features that are free and therefore practical for teaching staff to be able to ‘create’ engaging resources that are compatible to use across multiple platforms.

SkillsOr skills audit is the process by which an organisation measures the ability of individuals to use technology to set against the technology which the organisation uses or plans to use. The subsequent programme of CPD may then be focused on individual needs and or aspirations.

StaffFor the purpose  of using technology in education is generally a low priority, citing time or the lack of it as the main cause. There are many ways in which effective CPD may be provided without attending ‘staff development’ days. Including on-line training and creating tutorials for delivery over a VLE, making the training accessible 24/7 at a time when the ‘learner’ is able to access it. Many of the articles on this site feature examples of ‘how to’ enhance resources using software which is free or low cost – and as important, within the skills set of individuals with little or no ICT skills.

Read more: Tools to enhance resources

StrategyA strategic plan For using  and or introducing technology is essential for its effective use.  e.g Strategy Aim/Objective

The key objective that drives an action plan is the Organisation’s ambition to provide the most effective use of technology through developing a culture where all staff are equipped with effective methods of delivering teaching, learning and assessment.  The key priority is to support all staff in the confident use of ICT and in so doing will address the expectation of current learners in the use of technology for learning taking into consideration the requirements of Ofsted within the guidelines of the Common Inspection Framework (2012).

VirtualA Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is a system for delivering learning materials to students via the web. These systems may include assessment, student tracking, collaboration and communication tools.

Read More: Tell me more about VLEs

VRVirtual reality (VR) is an artificially created digital space. The viewer is immersed in the environment mainly through sound and vision. Haptics (sense of touch) can also be part of the experience. All sense of the real world is suspended.

Read more: Tell me more about Virtual Reality

WebinarA webinar is an online event that is hosted by an organization/company and broadcast to a select group of individuals through their computers via the Internet.  A webinar allows a speaker to share  presentations, videos, web pages or other multimedia content with audiences that can be located anywhere.  A webinar is appropriate for delivering information to any number of people over multiple devices and for practical purposes interaction is usually restricted to inviting questions or comment, via a ‘chat box.’  Most such broadcasts may be recorded for later use.

As with most technology, the cost of using appropriate platforms has greatly reduced,  making it feasible for learning providers to reach learners that ‘cannot be there’ as well as new audiences beyond the organisations usual geographic boundaries.

Read more: How do you communicate with your learner?

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