Learning is increasingly taking place in a technology-driven mode, whether or not it is combined with traditional classroom settings. Since this trend will become more prominent in the years to come, it is worthwhile to become familiar with these new realities. Here is a mini glossary of terms that will help you do just that.

What is Adaptive Learning?

Based in particular on the artificial intelligence advances and on adaptive hypermedia, adaptive learning is a personalized training mode that uses technologies, not only to transmit content to the learner and to evaluate his/her performance but also to adapt it for him/her.

The technological devices allow us to adapt learning – in particular in eLearning – to the objectives, preferences, and knowledge of the learner, as well as to his/her performances and his/her way of interacting with the system. Among those mechanisms, there are expert systems, interactive tests, and tutorials.

Good to know

The evolution of Web 2.0 propelled the development of devices that allow interaction and personalization especially in eLearning. The growth of big data, generated by digital technologies, is also indissociable from the development of adaptive learning.

Another term used: intelligent adaptive learning

What is Gamification?

In instructional design, gamification is the application of methods proper to games, notably video games, to incite users to gain knowledge or to develop a desired behaviour.

Good to know

Gamification is sometimes confused with serious games. However, the latter refers rather to training that is entirely conceived as a game and not to the integration of game-specific methods as part of a “standard” training, as is the case for gamification.

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning is an eLearning approach based on short informative sessions – which last in general from a few seconds to 15 minutes – on a given topic and with a specific purpose.

Good to know

A microlearning session can take different forms: a short demonstrative video, a multiple-choice quiz sent by text, a recall on a notion sent by email. This type of learning is built on repetition and participation.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality (VR) is a technology that allows the creation of an environment composed of 3D synthetic images that provide the user with the feeling of being immersed in the real world. To interact with the components of this universe, the user must wear equipment designed for this purpose, including a headset. Thanks to the latest technological advances, some headsets can identify hand movements without the need for digital gloves or wireless controllers.

VR can mobilize all the user’s senses: vision, touch, hearing, even smell and taste.

Good to know

Another term used: synthetic reality

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive technology consisting of superimposing, in real-time, virtual elements in 2D or 3D – images or information – on top of real-world images in order to enrich the user’s perception of this frame of reference. The latter has to use a viewing device, for example, smart glasses, holographic headset or the screen of a smartphone or a digital tablet.

Good to know

The term mixed reality (MR) is sometimes used to refer to augmented reality in its most high-tech version where the user can physically interact with 3D elements that are superimposed on reality.

Augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality are part of what is called extended reality (or XR).

Catherine Meilleur

Catherine Meilleur

Creative Content Writer @KnowledgeOne. Questioner of questions. Hyperflexible stubborn. Contemplative yogi.

Catherine Meilleur has over 15 years of experience in research and writing. Having worked as a journalist and educational designer, she is interested in everything related to learning: from educational psychology to neuroscience, and the latest innovations that can serve learners, such as virtual and augmented reality. She is also passionate about issues related to the future of education at a time when a real revolution is taking place, propelled by digital technology and artificial intelligence.