Back on September 1st, I posted the following over at the Clive on Learning blog:
I think we know what to call a business meeting that’s held online (an online meeting?) and we’re happy with the term for an online lecture/presentation (a webinar of course), but we’re bamboozled when it comes to live online learning. I’ve recently been reading through all the literature I can fins on the topic, and this has highlighted just how many terms we have to cover this seemingly simple idea:
- The virtual classroom (was the established term, at least in the UK, but by no means universal; doesn’t really describe what’s going on here, i.e. a live event).
- Remote instructor-led training (not a bad term, but the words ‘instructor’ and ‘training’ don’t cross-over well into educational settings, and imply a certain pedagogy even within workplace learning).
- Synchronous online communications for learning (this is the term that Xyleme used to describe the podcast I just made with them; it’s not bad, but I’ve yet to meet a learning and development professional outside the e-learning field who even knows what the word ‘synchronous’ means, let alone it’s implications for learning).
- Synchronous training.
- Synchronous teaching and learning online.
- Synchronous e-learning.
- Webinar (many people use this term generically to apply to learning events as well as presentations).
- Webex (its ubiquity, particularly in large corporates, means that more people know what it means to hold a Webex session than a virtual classroom or a synchronous event).
So what term do you use currently and what term would you recommend we use in future. Help required.
Here’s what I got back:
Kolja Schönfeld said: I have two new terms for your collection: virtual instructor-led training and webcast. In our company we use most of the time the term ‘virtual classroom’.
cynan said: Yes indeed. Dealing with this right now you know, with the perspective of using a term that makes sense across our organisation, not within a field of e-learning boffins too! ‘Webinar’ seems to get people intrigued (even if it does tend to cloud the issue with all those one-way sales pitches on t’internet). Quite boringly, ‘live online training’ often seems a pretty good second.
Richard said: I like ‘live e-learning’ – it’s succint, trips off the tongue reasonably well, and everybody can identify with what a ‘live’ experience is – live music being the obvious comparison one can make.
Mark Kirkwood said: Its a good question. I have always been pretty comfortable with ‘Live Learning’ or ‘Live Online Learning’. For someone new to the concept, both terms make them curious about the difference between them and ILT.
Colin Steed said: My vote, from the Hazlemere, Bucks Jury goes to Live Online Learning (it does what it says in language we all understand). Oh, and I loathe the term Webinar (for some reason I cannot explain) and at the Institute of IT Training we use Webcast.
Meri said: Clive, I don’t know why you don’t just call it ‘live online learning.’ I regularly call live, online learning events ‘multimedia dialogue.’ But when I say that I’m referring to a specific type of live online learning event where all parties can and do engage together in the meeting/classroom. These kinds of learning opportunities are still rare, but my business is to make them less so 😉 Because of the way the first virtual classroom/meeting room platforms were engineered, many folks (myself included) already understand a ‘webinar’ to be mostly a one-way presentation (with maybe a poll or some chat available to attendees during their mostly passive experience). It’s a shame the waters have already been polluted on ‘webinar,’ but it seems to me they have.
LauraLJ said: It is a tricky one isn’t it. After reading the responses so far, my vote is ‘live (or real-time) online learning’. It does exactly what it says on the tin. I have used ‘virtual classroom’ but that never sat well with me as this doesn’t say ‘live / real-time’. I agree with Colin that ‘Webinar’ sticks in the throat. I think, for me anyway, this means ‘listen to me talk for an hour or so’ rather than actual learning through interaction and activities.
Thanks everybody. My conclusion? ‘Live online learning’ is the one for me.