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ツ Cut Through the Online Course Jargon

A Guide for Business Founders & Course Creators

ׂׂૢ་༘࿐ The landscape of online learning has exploded in recent years, with a proliferation of terms used to describe courses delivered through the internet. From “virtual classrooms” to “MOOCs”, the vocabulary can seem overwhelming. But the nuances matter – especially for business founders and course creators exploring online learning opportunities. The terminology used to market and describe online courses can provide key insights into their structure, scale, tools and overall learning experience.

For business founders and course creators, understanding the precise meaning behind the terms is critical. Getting it right ensures you select online solutions that truly align with your needs and audience. Mismatch the jargon, and you risk choosing inefficient, incompatible platforms. Beyond the buzzwords, a detailed look at the terminology reveals the core components, learning models and technologies that power different online learning experiences.

Fun fact: The first documented use of the phrase “online course” dates back to 1981, in an article discussing correspondence courses adapted for electronic delivery. Since then, the terminology has grown exponentially.

With so many options now available, taking the time to define terms sets you up for success. Avoid generalizations like “online course” or “e-learning”. Dig deeper into the specifics. Whether synchronous or asynchronous, instructor-led or self-paced, the distinctions fundamentally shape the learning journey. This guide will equip you with the nuanced vocabulary and framework to nail down exactly what type of online learning is best suited to your goals. When you understand the terms, you understand the training.

Jump over to my LinkedIn profile and click through for a comprehensive list of 18 commonly used terminology and definitions for online courses. Check it out for a quick reference guide to all the key terms and buzzwords.

What other online learning terms have you regularly used or heard? Share in the comments the top buzzwords and jargon that could use clarification.