Blended learning, flipped learning... a glossary of important edtech terms

Monday, August 14, 2017 11:15

Katherine Hockley by Katherine Hockley

EdTech brings with it an array of terms that we may not all be familiar with. Here we aim to define clearly what several commonly used terms actually mean. 

Adaptive learning - This is a type of personalised learning. It uses data and technology to provide customised learning for the user. This is important as it is said to give a greater user experience for students. 

Asynchoronous learning - This is related to people learning together at different times - for example on a discussion forum. It allows students to take things at their own pace and contribute to discussions more thoughtfully. 

Blended learning - This is a mixture of traditional face-to-face learning and online learning. It is said to be more student-centric as students have more control over how they learn. 

BYOD - This literally means 'bring your own device.' In the context of higher education, this means allowing students to use their own devices (phone, tablet) to undertake their work. This is important because it raises several issues for HE, such as mobile responsive sites or VLEs as well as cyber security concerns.

CBL/CBE - Competency-based learning or education is centred around mastering practical skills rather than gaining credits by completing specific modules and turning up week after week to lectures. It is seen to address employability concerns.

READ MORE: The pros and cons of competency-based learning in higher education

EdTech - Shorthand for education technology, edtech is the practice of using technological processes to improve learning.

Flipped classroom - A flipped classroom is one that flips the traditional method of learning on its head. Students look at content normally associated with a lecture at home and spend the time at university discussing the content or doing exercises related to it. This allows for a deeper understanding of the content as well as a better environment for learners to ask questions. 

edtech in higher education

Gamification - In higher education this means adding game-like features to learning, such as earning 'badges' for specific activities. This is meant to encourage and motivate learners.

Game-based learning - This is different from gamification. Where gamification uses elements of gaming to improve learning, game-based learning uses fully fledged games that incorporate lessons within them. For example, Stop Distasters! is a disaster simulation game that gives users the opportunity to build and re-build places where a disaster will strike (such as a tsunami), giving users an undestanding of methods that are used to increase safety in such areas (useful for International Development students). 

READ MORE: How to make classes more interactive with edtech for higher education

Synchronous learning - This is where users work together at the same time - e.g. in a chat room, through a webinar, or on a system like Slack. This is seen to bridge the gap of face-to-face learning in online courses.


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Posted in Higher Education, IT and Digital