Glossary of Common Terms

Glossary of terminology used throughout the allUDL website and within the UDL community.

Assessment as LearningAssessment as learning occurs when students engage in the learning process by reflecting on and monitoring their own progress. This process is tied to explicitly develop short-term and long-term learning goals, which are reached through ongoing evaluation and feedback. Assessment for learning should occur frequently and may be summative or formative (e.g. Peer-evaluation, self-assessments, practice tests, projects, essays, tests, midterms, exams, labs etc.)). It supports students in taking responsibility for their own past and future learning.

Asynchronous Learning: is a general term used to describe forms of education, instruction, and learning that do not occur in the same place or at the same time. The term is most commonly applied to various forms of digital and online learning in which students learn from instruction—such as pre-recorded video lessons or game-based learning tasks that students complete on their own—that is not being delivered in person or in real time. Yet asynchronous learning may also encompass a wide variety of instructional interactions, including email exchanges between instructors, online discussion boards, and course-management systems that organize instructional materials and correspondence, among many other possible variations (The Glossary of Education Reform, 2014).

Blended LearningThe definition of blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns: (1) at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace; (2) at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home; (3) and the modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience (Staker & Horn, 2012).

Construct Irrelevance: Construct irrelevance is the extent to which test scores are influenced by factors (e.g., mode of presentation or response) that are irrelevant (not related) to the construct that the test is intended to measure (American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, & National Council on Measurement in Education, 1999).

Construct Relevance: (In Assessment) Construct relevant refers to the factors (e.g. mode of presentation or response) that are relevant (related) to the construct that the test is intended to measure (Madaus, G., Russell, M. & Higgins, J., 2009).

Constructivism: Constructivism as a paradigm or worldview posits that learning is an active, constructive process. A reaction to didactic approaches such as behaviorism and programmed instruction, constructivism states that learning is an active, contextualized process of constructing knowledge rather than acquiring it. Knowledge is constructed based on personal experiences and hypotheses of the environment. Learners continuously test these hypotheses through social negotiation. Each person has a different interpretation and construction of knowledge process. The learner is not a blank slate but brings past experiences and cultural factors to a situation (Powell, K., & Kalina, C., 2009). 

Diversity (post secondary learners)The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. Understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These differences can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, abilities/disabilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies, as well as international and first-generation students.

Differentiated Instruction: A proactive teaching strategy, which supports the underlying theory, that various learners have different learning needs. Lessons are prepared with all learners in mind and provide a variety of learning options for those students who may require different mediums or approaches to attain and express learning. It remains mainly qualitative in nature and supports the idea that assessment should include many formative options prior to summative evaluation in order to identify problem areas and specific student needs. 

Equity: Equity in education means that personal or social circumstances such as gender, ethnic origin or family background, are not obstacles to achieving educational potential (definition of fairness) and that all individuals reach at least a basic minimum level of skills (definition of inclusion) (Equity and Quality in Education, 2016)

EqualityThe term educational equality refers to the notion that all students should have access to an education of similar quality—the proxy for which is frequently educational inputs such as funding, facilities, resources, and quality teaching and learning. Components that provide a framework for understanding what an equitable education for all students looks like at the classroom level:

1. Access to resources and facilities,

2. Instruction in all areas tailored to their needs,

3. Curriculum that is rigorous and relevant,

4.Educators who are culturally sensitive and respectful,

5. Interactions with staff and other students that are positive and encouraging in an atmosphere of learning, and

6. Assessment that is varied to give each student the opportunity to demonstrate learning (Wisconsin's Guiding Principles for Teaching and Learning, 2015). 

Fairness: Fairness indicates that equity is achieved when every student receives what he or she needs to learn and achieve (Edyburn, D.,2010)

Learner VariabilityLearners vary in the ways that they gain knowledge, in the methods that they interact with information and in the ways that they demonstrate their knowledge understanding. The concept of average does not apply to learning, there is no average way to gain knowledge, learn or show learning. 

OCR – Optical Character Recognition: Optical Character Recognition, or OCR, is a technology that enables you to convert different types of documents, such as scanned paper documents, PDF files or images captured by a digital camera into editable and searchable data. In order to extract and repurpose data from scanned documents, camera images or image-only PDFs, you need an OCR software that would single out letters on the image, put them into words and then – words into sentences, thus enabling you to access and edit the content of the original document (What is OCR and OCR Technology, 2016).

Screenreader: Screen readers are audio interfaces. Rather than displaying web content visually for users in a "window" or screen on the monitor, screen readers convert text into synthesized speech so that users can listen to the content (Designing for Screen Reader Compatibility, 2016).  

Searchable PDF: Searchable PDF is essentially a PDF image file. Unlike static image formats such as TIFF, JPEG and BMP, every PDA document has the ability to contain several layers of information i.e. image layer and text layer. In simple terms the Searchable PDF's text portions of the scanned document gets stored in a text layer, allowing the user to easily search for and locate any keyword within the scanned document (Searchable PDF, 2010).

SmartpenThe Smartpen, a ballpoint pen with an embedded computer and digital audio recorder. When used with Anoto digital paper, it records what it writes for later uploading to a computer, tablet or mobile device and synchronizes those notes with any audio it has recorded. Notes can then be organized, tagged, searchable, shared, replayed and converted to text.

Speech-to-Text: This is a software that takes audio content and transcribes it into written words in a word processor or other display destination. This software reduces the amount of manual typing required when managing material. It is also helpful for individuals who struggle with fine motor tasks, such as using pencils, pens and keyboards. 

Student Learning Outcomes: Student learning outcomes include two categories: Specific Learning Outcomes (SLOs) and General Learning Outcomes (GLOs). Both are comprised of action statements that outline what students should know and be able to do and/or demonstrate by the end of a course or program.

Synchronous Learning: A general term used to describe forms of education, instruction, and learning that occur at the same time, but not in the same place. The term is most commonly applied to various forms of televisual, digital, and online learning in which students learn from instructors, colleagues, or peers in real time, but not in person. For example, educational videoconferences, interactive webinars, chat-based online discussions, and lectures that are broadcast at the same time they delivered would all be considered forms of synchronous learning (The Glossary of Education Reform, 2014).

Text-to-Speech: This software permits students to have text read aloud. This is a useful tool for those students who are auditory learners, students that struggle with reading comprehension and for students who want to hear their own writing for editing, review and improvement. It is also a useful tool for individuals who are physically unable to read and still need to gain access to written information. This software permits students to turn written information into audiobook form. 

Universal Design (UD)Universal design is a design concept that recognizes, respects, values and attempts to accommodate the broadest possible spectrum of human ability in the design of all products, environments and information systems. It requires sensitivity to and knowledge about people of all ages and abilities. Sometimes referred to as "lifespan design" or "transgenerational design," universal design encompasses and goes beyond the accessible, adaptable and barrier-free design concepts of the past. It helps eliminate the need for special features and spaces, which for some people, are often stigmatizing, embarrassing, different looking and usually more expensive (Duncan, 2014).

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)The term UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING means a scientifically valid framework for guiding educational practice that: (A) provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways students are engaged; and (B) reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges, and maintains high achievement expectations for all students (About Universal Design for Learning, 2015).

Zone of Proximal Development: The zone of proximal development is the gap between what a learner has already mastered (the actual level of development) and what he or she can achieve when provided with educational support (potential development). Within the Vygotskian concept of zone of proximal development, social interaction is the basis for cognitive growth. Accordingly, the communication that transpires in a social setting with more knowledgeable or proficient people (parents, instructors, peers, others) assists students in building an understanding of concepts. In a classroom setting, the instructor is responsible for structuring interactions and developing instruction in small steps based on tasks the learner is already capable of performing independently — an instructional strategy known as scaffolding. The instructor is also charged with providing support until the learner can move through all tasks independently (Vygotsky, 1978).

References available here: Glossary of Common Terms – References.