the onehe
A to Z of teaching

Our A to Z of Teaching was created for educators to use. It includes definitions of terms educators need to understand, such as constructive alignment or flipped classroom. Once you are logged into the OneHE community, there are short videos to explain each concept, crowd-sourced resources and links to recent articles.

Is there a missing term that you think should be added? Do you know a great resource we can include? If so, please recommend it and help us grow the A to Z of Teaching. 

AJAX progress indicator
  • action learning
    An approach to learning whereby individuals work on real projects with the support of a group (set) which meets regularly to help members reflect on their experience and to plan next actions. - Read more
  • action research
    A process of inquiry carried out in the course of an activity or occupation, in particular in the field of education, with the purpose of improving the methods and approaches of those involved. - Read more
  • active learning
    Active learning is a process that has student learning at its centre. It encourages educators to focus on how students learn, not just on what they learn, with the aim of moving away from students passively receiving information from the teacher. - Read more
  • Measurement of the achievement and progress of the learner. See programme-focused assessment, assessment literacy, formative assessment, summative assessment, authentic assessment, self-assessment, peer assessment, ipsative assessment, synoptic assessment. - Read more
  • The focus on this assessment takes a holistic approach, looking at the development of learning, with a focus on the learners reflection on their own learning. - Read more
  • Staff and students understanding, and being absolutely clear, what the purpose of the different types of assessment are, to include how the assessments contribute to the achievement of learning outcomes. - Read more
  • Reliability and validity are two important features in designing assessments. Reliability is concerned with the consistency of a measure. Validity refers to the accuracy of a measure - does the assessment test what it claims to be testing? - Read more
  • Usually in the form of a matrix or grid, this is a tool used to interpret and grade students’ work against criteria and standards. - Read more
  • asynchronous learning
    A student-centred teaching method that uses online learning resources to facilitate information sharing outside the constraints of time and place among a network of people. - Read more
  • augmented reality
    A combination of real and virtual (computer generated) worlds, where technology is used to add to a real world image. - Read more
  • Situating teaching and assessment in real world issues, problems and applications. - Read more
  • behaviourism
    Behaviourism in education is a 'traditional' approach to teaching and learning. A behaviourist pedagogy sees learning as educator-centred - the lecturer is the knowledge giver and leader. - Read more
  • blended learning
    A mix of face-to-face and online learning. - Read more
  • Bloom's taxonomy
    Bloom's taxonomy is a model which classifies learning objectives by complexity. It identifies six levels of learning, with learning at the higher levels dependent on having attained the required knowledge and skills at lower levels. - Read more
  • brainstorming
    An active learning technique used to gather ideas from a number of different people to solve a particular problem or to see what people already know about a particular issue. - Read more
  • Bruner
    Jerome Bruner (1915-2016) was an American psychologist, known for his contributions to cognitive learning theory. - Read more
  • buzz group
    A small group activity, typically within a large group, in which students work together on a short problem, task or discussion. So called because of the noise the activity generates. - Read more
  • case method
    A group learning activity in which students are presented with a case study depicting a genuine business scenario. They identify the business problems and ways they might be addressed through enquiry and analysis. Primarily facilitated rather than directly taught. - Read more
  • classroom management
    The process of preventing or minimising the impact of disruptive behaviour during lectures and seminars. Common techniques include setting clear expectations, building good relationships between students and educators, and teaching in an engaging manner. - Read more
  • cognitive loading
    Often termed 'stretch', ensuring that learning activities provide sufficient 'stretch' to take the learner to the next level of sophisticated thinking. - Read more
  • cognitivism
    A learning theory that focuses on the processes involved in learning, rather than on observed behavior. As opposed to behaviorists, cognitivists do not focus on an outward show of learning, but on the internal processes and connections that take place during learning. - Read more
  • constructive alignment
    Ensuring, at least, learning outcomes, teaching methods, learning activities and assessment are compatible with each other. - Read more
  • constructivist
    A number of theories attempting to explain how human beings learn. Characterised by the idea of addition to, and amendment of, previous understanding or knowledge. Without such change, learning is not thought to occur. Theories of reflection and experiential learning belong to this school. - Read more
  • Assessments designed to measure student performance against a fixed set of predetermined criteria or learning standards - concise, written descriptions of what students are expected to know and be able to do at a specific stage of their education. - Read more
  • critical thinking
    Critical thinking is the attempt to ask and answer questions systematically using words like what, who, where, when, how and why and phrases such as what if, what next, taking the process through description, analysis and evaluation. - Read more
  • curriculum
    The lectures, seminars, tutorials and academic content taught in an educational establishment. The curriculum refers to the knowledge and skills students are expected to learn, which includes the learning standards or learning objectives they are expected to meet. - Read more
  • curriculum design
    In many cases, educators develop their own curricula, refining and improving them over years, although it is also common for educators to adapt lessons and syllabi created by other educators, use curriculum templates and guides to structure their lessons and courses, or purchase prepackaged curricula from individuals and companies. - Read more
  • decision making
    Aan active learning technique that identifies critical points in a problem given by the educator to their students. Students then discuss the decisions they'd make at each critical point, reflecting and evaluating throughout. - Read more
  • decolonise
    Primarily used in the context of the curriculum, meaning creating spaces and resources for all to imagine themselves in the cultural and knowledge presentation, and how such constructs frame the various lens through which people view the subject matter. - Read more
  • deep (approach to learning)
    Learning that attempts to relate ideas together to understand underpinning theory and concepts, and to make meaning out of material under consideration (see also surface approach, strategic approach). - Read more
  • didactic teaching
    A style that is teacher-centred, often prescriptive, formulaic and based on transmission. - Read more
  • differentiation
    A teaching technique that involves all students within the community of learners having access to a range of different methods for understanding new information. - Read more
  • direct instruction
    The use of teaching methods such as lecturing and modelling of a skill or technique to students. It is a core element of behaviourist pedagogies. - Read more
  • discourse analysis
    Examination of how communications - oral, written and body language fit together to make coherent meaning. - Read more
  • distance learning
    Learning remotely, away from the institution, without being in regular face-to-face contact with a teacher, as exemplified by the Open University. In the UK such learning has its roots in students learning through correspondence courses. - Read more
  • Open ended assessments designed to test learners thought processes, considered to be more authentic in terms of the development of higher level cognitive skills. - Read more
  • e-learning
    Learning that uses electronic technologies to access the curriculum outside of a traditional classroom. We define e-Learning as courses that are specifically delivered via the internet to somewhere other than the classroom where the academic is teaching. - Read more
  • e-portfolio
    A collection of electronic evidence assembled and managed by a user, usually on the Web. Such electronic evidence may include input text, electronic files, images, multimedia, blog entries, and hyperlinks. - Read more
  • educational technology
    Both hardware and software used to facilitate learning. It includes both e-learning, and the use of technology in face-to-face teaching. - Read more
  • employability
    A set of achievements, skills, understandings and personal attributes that make graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations. - Read more
  • enquiry-based learning
    A form of active learning that starts by posing questions, problems or scenarios for students to solve. The aim is to gain and develop knowledge and skills through investigation, with detailed responses. - Read more
  • experiential learning
    Learning from doing. Often represented by the Kolb Learning Cycle. See also reflective practice. - Read more
  • facilitator
    As opposed to teacher, tutor or mentor, a role to encourage individuals to take responsibility for their own learning through the facilitation of this process. - Read more
  • Information about student work and progress that focuses on future actions rather than past mistakes. The purpose of feed-forward is to ensure that feedback clearly informs students' future learning. - Read more
  • Oral or written developmental advice on 'performance' so that the recipient has a better understanding of expected values, standards or criteria and can improve their performance. - Read more
  • feedback literacy
    Requires learners to act upon comments that they have received. - Read more
  • fieldwork
    Practical or experimental work away from the university designed to develop practical skills (e.g. observation of natural environments), which may be for a single session or coherent period of study lasting several days. Most common in life and environmental sciences, geography, civil engineering and construction. - Read more
  • flipped classroom
    Sessions that are premised on the understanding that students will have done all the preparation (e.g. reading, group work, question formulation, watched screencast lecture) beforehand, so that they come to the session ready to engage in interactive work around the preparatory work. The educator then focuses on the learning process and the areas where students need more help or testing understanding. - Read more
  • flipped learning
    Sessions that are premised on the understanding that students will have done all the preparation (e.g. reading, group work, question formulation, watched screencast lecture) beforehand, so that they come to the session ready to engage in interactive work around the preparatory work. - Read more
  • flipped lecture
    Sessions that are premised on the understanding that students will have done all the preparation (e.g. reading, group work, question formulation, watched screencast lecture) beforehand, so that they come to the session ready to engage in interactive work around the preparatory work. The educator then focuses on the learning process and the areas where students need more help or testing understanding. - Read more
  • focus group
    A technique for pooling thoughts, ideas and perceptions to ensure equal participation by all members of a group. Requires a facilitator. Some versions of the method aim to obtain a consensus view, others the weight and thrust of opinion. More accurately called nominal group technique. - Read more
  • Assessment that is used to help teachers and learners gauge the strengths and weaknesses of the learners' performance while there is still time to take action for improvement. Typically, it is expressed in words rather than marks or grades. Information about learners may be used diagnostically (see summative assessment). - Read more
  • gamification
    The application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. - Read more
  • graduate attributes
    The distinctive qualities, skills and understandings that each university considers its students will have on successful completion of their studies. - Read more
  • graduate demonstrator
    Typically doctoral students who assist with teaching (e.g. facilitating seminars or demonstrating in laboratories/workshops). - Read more
  • group work
    Educators can often assign more complex, authentic problems to groups of students than they could to individuals. Group work also introduces more unpredictability in teaching, since groups may approach tasks and solve problems in novel, interesting ways. - Read more
  • GTA
    Typically doctoral students who assist with teaching (e.g. facilitating seminars or demonstrating in laboratories/workshops). - Read more
  • HEAR
    Higher Education Achievement Report (http://www.hear.ac.uk). - Read more
  • hidden curriculum
    The set of unofficial and often unintended lessons which students learn - for example, cultural values and acceptable behaviours. - Read more
  • hierarchical learning
    A system of classifying different types of learning in terms of the degree of complexity of the mental processes involved, proposed by the American educational psychologist Robert M. Gagn. - Read more
  • Practice which addresses the learning styles and needs to each and every learner. See also universal design for learning. - Read more
  • independent learning
    Often used interchangeably with the terms 'open learning', 'self-directed learning' and 'autonomous learning'. Has a flavour of all these terms. Often associated with programmes of study created individually for each learner. - Read more
  • individualised learning
    A method of teaching in which content, technology and pace of learning are based upon the abilities and interest of each learner. - Read more
  • industrial placement
    A learning experience offered to students to assist them to gain applied knowledge, understanding and skills through an extended period of time based in industry. - Read more
  • inter-professional education
    Refers to occasions when students from two or more professions in health and social care learn together during all or part of their professional training with the object of cultivating collaborative practice for providing client- or patient-centred health care. - Read more
  • internationalisation
    Curriculum materials/design that include content and approaches to promote student awareness of working/living in different countries and aid employability in a global job market. Also used to refer to the diversity of staff and students. - Read more
  • internationalising the curriculum
    Curriculum materials/design that include content and approaches to promote student awareness of working/living in different countries and aid employability in a global job market. Also used to refer to the diversity of staff and students. - Read more
  • internship
    The position of a student or trainee who works in an organisation for a fixed period of time, in order to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification. - Read more
  • jigsaw technique
    A method of organising classroom activity that makes students dependent on each other to succeed. It breaks classes into groups and breaks assignments into pieces that the group assembles to complete the (jigsaw) puzzle. - Read more
  • just-in-time teaching
    An approach to teaching where students complete work between teaching sessions, then submit it to the educator. The educator then looks through the work for patterns of understanding and misunderstanding, and alters the lesson plan accordingly. - Read more
  • Kolb learning cycle
    A theory that learning involves a learner progressing through four stages: concrete learning, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation and active experimentation. - Read more
  • learner analytics
    The increasing use of data to analyse students' progress, for example, module evaluations, on-line tests, other logged performance measures. - Read more
  • learning analytics
    The measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs. - Read more
  • learning cell
    A process of learning where two students alternate asking and answering questions on commonly read materials. - Read more
  • learning community
    A group of teachers, academics and learners who have shared academic interests, and use their interests to help develop teaching and learning pedagogy through sharing ideas and collaborating. - Read more
  • learning gain
    An attempt to measure the improvement in knowledge, skills, work-readiness and personal development made by students during their time spent in higher education. - Read more
  • Learning Management System
    Used to support learning by providing a space where materials can be stored and organised, assessments can be given, and students and teachers can interact using blogs, forums, and so on. It is often a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs. - Read more
  • learning materials
    Teaching aids used by an educator to implement teaching and learning. They can range from textbooks, to photographs, to physical objects, to calculators, and also online resources. - Read more
  • Specific statements that define the learning students are expected to have acquired on completion of a session, course, programme, module, or unit of study. - Read more
  • learning style
    Used to describe how learners differ in their tendencies or preferences to learn. Recognises learning differences, a mix of personality and cognitive processes. The notion of learning styles is increasingly challenged. - Read more
  • learning theory
    There are many theories as to how students learn, and what implications this holds for teaching. Approaches can be categorised as behaviourist, constructivist, or cognitivist. Key theorists include Bloom, Bruner, Piaget, Skinner and Vygotsky. - Read more
  • lecture
    A lecture is a verbal presentation intended to present information or teach people about a particular subject, for example by a university or college teacher. Lectures are used to convey critical information, history, background, theories, and equations. - Read more
  • lecture capture
    Recordings of classroom-based activities that are made available for review after the class. - Read more
  • liberation pedagogy
    A theory developed by Paul Freire, that education should enable oppressed people to focus on understanding and responding to the causes of their oppression. While Freire views it as a revolutionary programme of action, later theorists have often used it as a starting point to critique other pedagogies. - Read more
  • lifelong learning
    Lifelong learning is the "ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated" pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. Therefore, it not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development, but also self-sustainability, as well as competitiveness and employability. - Read more
  • LMS
    Used to support learning by providing a space where materials can be stored and organised, assessments can be given, and students and teachers can interact using blogs, forums, and so on. It is often a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs. - Read more
  • m-learning
    M-learning or mobile learning is "learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices". A form of distance education, m-learners use mobile device educational technology at times convenient to them. - Read more
  • Massive Open Online Course
    An open access online learning course with unlimited participation. - Read more
  • mental health literacy
    Knowledge and beliefs about mental health and mental health issues which aid their recognition, management or prevention. - Read more
  • mentor
    A peer who supports and advises a new student or member of staff by helping him/her to adapt to institutional culture, acting as a sounding-board for ideas and encouraging reflection on practice. - Read more
  • metacognition
    Metacognition is thinking about one's thinking. More precisely, it refers to the processes used to plan, monitor, and assess one's understanding and performance. - Read more
  • mind mapping
    Mind mapping is an active learning technique devised by Tony Buzan. According to Buzan, it is a two-dimensional note-taking technique with which a mind map is made using all the relevant knowledge about a specific subject. - Read more
  • modelling
    A basic teaching technique that allows an educator to demonstrate a particular concept that the students observe, in order to learn. - Read more
  • The process for assuring that grades awarded are fair and reliable and that marking criteria have been applied appropriately and consistently. - Read more
  • MOOC
    An open access online learning course with unlimited participation. - Read more
  • Multiple choice tests can be an easy way to assess the knowledge of a large number of students. They can be used, for example, to quickly test improvements in knowledge after a teaching session. For formative assessment, they can be entirely anonymous and may help students who are worried about giving incorrect or embarrassing answers. However, both students and staff often hold negative attitudes to multiple choice tests, as they do not encourage deep learning. - Read more
  • near peer teaching
    An instructional method in which senior students temporarily assume the role of coach or instructor. It has been referred to as tiered or pyramidal or hierarchical learning. Senior learners solidify learning and develop additional skills by teaching peers. - Read more
  • Co-created with students, exploring what authentic assessment could comprise, which illustrate the achievement of learning outcomes. - Read more
  • new to teaching
    Many people who teach in Higher Education have no previous teaching experience. Institutions often provide little or no training for postgraduate students and researchers who are beginning teaching. - Read more
  • Judges how well the learner has done in comparison with the norm established by their peers. - Read more
  • objectives
    Originally developed by educational psychologists and known as behavioural objectives. Definition and use have become less and less precise in recent years. Their meaning has ranged from exact, measurable outcomes of specific learning experiences to more generalised statements of learning outcomes. The term may be distinguished from or used interchangeably (but loosely) with the term 'learning outcomes'. - Read more
  • one-minute question
    An active learning technique where students discuss ideas and solutions with each other before sharing them with the class. This gives students greater confidence in their answers and a way to correct any misconceptions. Students expand their own understanding by seeing their peers’ responses. As an educator, it allows you to assess students’ comprehension of a concept. - Read more
  • OneHE
    A global network for educators (those who teach and support learning) in higher education. - Read more
  • online learning
    Courses offered by higher education institutions that are delivered virtually. - Read more
  • Oral assessments include presentations and viva voce examinations. Some students find oral assessments an easier way of demonstrating learning outcomes than written assessments. However, oral assessment may present significant difficulties for some students. - Read more
  • ownership of learning
    Developing autonomous learners, who take responsibility for their own learning. - Read more
  • pace of learning
    The speed at which an educator moves through their teaching session. A slow pace can leave students bored, while an overly fast pace can lead to students failing to understand and disengaging. The way in which teaching is delivered can affect the perception of its pace; for example, varying activities within a session can give students time to understand material while maintaining interest. - Read more
  • PBL
    A pedagogical method introduced in the 1960s, much used in medicine. Curriculum design involves a large amount of small-group teaching and claims greater alignment with sound educational principles. Learning and teaching come after learners identify their learning needs from a trigger in the form of a scenario (the problem). - Read more
  • pedagogy
    The method and practice of teaching. It encompasses teaching styles, teaching theory, and feedback and assessment. When people talk about the pedagogy of teaching, they will be referring to the way teachers deliver the content of the curriculum to a class. Educators will use research from many different academic disciplines to inform their decisions. The justifications behind the decisions will become the pedagogical principles, and every educator develops their own pedagogical principles over time. - Read more
  • Assessment by fellow (peer) students, as in peer assessment of team activities. - Read more
  • peer-led team learning
    A teaching method whereby students who have performed well on a course are recruited as peer leaders.  The peer leaders then meet weekly with a small group of students to work through and discuss course material. - Read more
  • peer observation (of teaching)
    Observations of a peers teaching, often with a focus on particular aspects of the practice, thereby aiding learning on both sides, often promoting constructive dialogue. - Read more
  • peer review
    Deploying the expertise of peers to provide feedback on a range of aspects of academic practice. - Read more
  • peer teaching
    Tasking students to lead, e.g., problem solving classes, thereby supporting the confidence of both those teaching, and those working with someone who is closer in terms of understanding the difficulty in grasping particular topics. - Read more
  • Piaget
    Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was a Swiss psychologist, famous for his theories on child development. - Read more
  • placement
    Placing students outside their home institution for part of their period of study, often work placement in which the student learns on the job. - Read more
  • placement learning
    Students learning, as an integrated part of the curriculum, from the real experience of working in a place of employment. - Read more
  • Presenting others' work as one's own. - Read more
  • play in higher education
    Play is ‘purposeless’ and ‘voluntary’. If you think it is play, then it is! - Read more
  • PLTL
    A teaching method whereby students who have performed well on a course are recruited as peer leaders.  The peer leaders then meet weekly with a small group of students to work through and discuss course material. - Read more
  • practicum
    A course involving activities emphasising the practical application of theory, especially one in which a student gains on-the-job experience in a field of study. Unlike an internship, the work experience focuses on observation and documentation. - Read more
  • praxis
    Used by educators to describe a recurring passage through a cyclical process of experiential learning, such as the cycle described and popularised by David A. Kolb. - Read more
  • problem-based learning
    A pedagogical method introduced in the 1960s, much used in medicine. Curriculum design involves a large amount of small-group teaching and claims greater alignment with sound educational principles. Learning and teaching come after learners identify their learning needs from a trigger in the form of a scenario (the problem). - Read more
  • All assessment is based on the programme learning outcomes. - Read more
  • pyramidal learning
    The "learning pyramid", sometimes referred to as the "cone of learning", suggests that most students only remember about 10% of what they read from textbooks, but retain nearly 90% of what they learn through teaching others. - Read more
  • reflexivity
    Standing back and thinking through, and analysing, cause and effect. - Read more
  • research-led teaching
    One style of incorporating research into teaching where students learn about research findings, the curriculum content is dominated by staff research interests and information transmission is the main teaching mode. - Read more
  • scaffolding
    In educational terms, scaffolding is the supporting of a student's learning just beyond the level they can achieve. This could take the form of providing possible essay structures, modelling Cornell notes or exemplar materials. - Read more
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
    Systematic inquiry into student learning which advances the practice of teaching. - Read more
  • SDL
    The learner has control over educational decisions, including goals, resources, methods and criteria for judging success. Often used just to mean any learning situation in which the learner has some influence on some of these aspects. - Read more
  • A form of assessment whereby the student reflects and evaluates their own learning, against criteria. This could take the form of marking their own knowledge tests, then creating a statement to say how they will improve their learning. - Read more
  • self-directed learning
    The learner has control over educational decisions, including goals, resources, methods and criteria for judging success. Often used just to mean any learning situation in which the learner has some influence on some of these aspects. - Read more
  • reflective teaching
    Teaching that is based on one’s own analysis, and reflections, of what is required to bring about effective learning. - Read more
  • seminar
    Used with different meanings according to discipline and type of institution. May be used to describe many forms of small group teaching. Traditionally one or more students present formal academic work (a paper) to peers and a tutor, followed by discussion. - Read more
  • sequencing
    An active learning technique where students organise a series of events/ ideas/ facts into a recognisable order to create a story, solution to a problem, timeline, etc. - Read more
  • simulated patient
    An actor or other third party who role-plays the part of the patient in a clinical encounter with dental, medical or similar students. - Read more
  • simulation
    Often associated with role play, but increasingly used in the context of information and communications technology. A learning activity that simulates a real-life scenario requiring participants to make choices that demonstrate cause and effect. - Read more
  • situated learning
    Learning and understanding often relates to and arises from (social) contexts. Those working in similar contexts (e.g. a discipline or profession) develop understanding about that context (see also Community of practice). In the case of language learning, assistance with vocabulary would be offered in the context of the environment rather than the other way around (see also activity theory). - Read more
  • small group teaching
    A term used to encompass all the various forms of teaching involving small groups of students, ranging from one-to-one sessions to groups of up to 25 (or even more) students. Includes tutorials, seminars, problem classes. - Read more
  • social learning theory
    Developed by Albert Bandura, this posits that people learn from one another, via observation, imitation, and modeling. The theory has often been called a bridge between behaviorist and cognitive learning theories because it encompasses attention, memory, and motivation. - Read more
  • Social Network Analysis
    The process of investigating social structures by characterising networked structures in terms of nodes (individual actors, people, or things within the network) and the ties, edges, or links (relationships or interactions) that connect them. - Read more
  • soft skills
    A broad range of generic skills required for learning and employment, for example managing one's workload, communicating well, learning independently, problem solving, working effectively with others. - Read more
  • SOLO taxonomy
    The structure of observed learning outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy is a model that describes levels of increasing complexity in students' understanding of subjects. - Read more
  • SoTL
    Systematic inquiry into student learning which advances the practice of teaching. - Read more
  • SP
    An actor or other third party who role-plays the part of the patient in a clinical encounter with dental, medical or similar students. - Read more
  • student as producer
    Commissioning students to undertake particular pieces of work, to include research. - Read more
  • student engagement
    Has various meanings. In learning, the active interaction between the time, effort and other resources invested by both students, their teachers and institutions so as to optimise the student experience, enhance learning outcomes and the development of students. Can encompass students as partners (see also students as partners). - Read more
  • student journey
    The total lifecycle of the student, from pre-entry, through to on-going engagement, progress, and success, through to graduation and alumnae status. - Read more
  • student lifecycle
    Breaking down the student journey into the key components impacting on their engagement, progress and success. - Read more
  • students as partners
    Students, institutions (and policymakers at national level) working together for the benefit of the student experience. Implies students should be involved and consulted about virtually all aspects of their institution and their courses, implying two-way operation of responsibilities. - Read more
  • study abroad scheme
    A program, usually run through a university, which allows a student to live in a foreign country and attend a foreign university. - Read more
  • subject benchmarking
    A collection of discipline-specific statements relating to undergraduate programmes, as published by the QAA. Covers all the main disciplines. - Read more
  • The type of assessment that typically comes at the end of a module or section of learning and awards the learner with a final mark or grade for that section. The information about the learner is often used by third parties to inform decisions about the learner's abilities. - Read more
  • supervision
    The relationship between a student and supervisor (member of staff) to facilitate learning and discovery, and to model professional behaviour. - Read more
  • surface approach to study
    Learning by students that focuses on the details of the learning experience and is based on memorising the details without any attempt to give them meaning beyond the factual level of understanding (see also deep approach, strategic approach). - Read more
  • syllabus
    A description of the content of a specific course of study. It typically includes expectations and responsibilities. - Read more
  • synchronous learning
    A learning environment in which everyone takes part at the same time. A lecture is an example of synchronous learning in a face-to-face environment, where learners and teachers are all in the same place at the same time. - Read more
  • teaching assistant
    A range of qualified, fractionally employed staff (increasingly includes PhD students), who are brought in to support teaching, learning and assessment activities. - Read more
  • teaching portfolio
    A personal document containing information about one's teaching activities, commentary and supporting evidence. Will include detailed personal reflection on practice and identify areas for enhancement. May also include student feedback and evaluative input from mentors and colleagues. - Read more
  • teaching style
    While each educator has their own teaching style, informed by their background, context and preferences, there are a few specific approaches to teaching which have been widely discussed. Departmental or university policy may determine the range of acceptable teaching styles. - Read more
  • Team-Based Learning
    An evidence based collaborative learning teaching strategy designed around units of instruction, known as 'modules', that are taught in a three-step cycle: preparation, in-class readiness assurance testing, and application-focused exercise. - Read more
  • Technology Enhanced Learning
    Often used as a synonym for e-learning but can also be used to refer to technology enhanced classrooms and learning with technology, rather than just through technology. - Read more
  • threshold standards
    The basic expectations with respect to the necessary standard to be achieved, for example, to reach a quality kitemark. - Read more
  • TNE
    All types of HE study programmes, courses or educational services in which the learners are located in a country different from that of the awarding institution. - Read more
  • transferable skills
    A collection of skills associated with employability. Variously includes communication, numeracy, learning to learn, values and integrity, use of technology, interpersonal skills, problem-solving, positive attitudes to change and teamworking. - Read more
  • transnational education
    All types of HE study programmes, courses or educational services in which the learners are located in a country different from that of the awarding institution. - Read more
  • tutorial
    Used with different meanings according to discipline, type of institution, level and teaching and learning method. Involves a tutor with one or more students. May focus on academic and/or pastoral matters. - Read more
  • VARK
    The VARK model posits four learning styles, and claims that students can identify which they prefer, and maximise the learning by focusing on that mode of learning. - Read more
  • virtual learning environment
    An online education system that models conventional in-person education by providing equivalent virtual access to classes, class content, tests, homework, grades, assessments and other external resources. It is also a social space where students and teacher can interact through threaded discussions or chat. - Read more
  • virtual reality
    A computer-generated interactive and immersive environment. - Read more
  • visual learning
    Visual learners learn best by seeing things in a pictorial format (see also kinaesthetic learning, read/write learning). - Read more
  • VLE
    An online education system that models conventional in-person education by providing equivalent virtual access to classes, class content, tests, homework, grades, assessments and other external resources. It is also a social space where students and teacher can interact through threaded discussions or chat. - Read more
  • VR
    A computer-generated interactive and immersive environment. - Read more
  • Vygotsky
    Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) was a Soviet psychologist who developed a Marxist theory of human development. - Read more
  • wicked problem
    A problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognise. - Read more
  • WIL
    Educational activities that integrate academic learning of a discipline with its practical application in the workplace. - Read more
  • work-based learning
    A type of curriculum design allowing content and learning to arise from within real working contexts. Students, usually employees, studying part-time and using their workplace to generate a project. Unlike PBL, work-based learners are working on real problems in real time. - Read more
  • Work-Integrated Learning
    Educational activities that integrate academic learning of a discipline with its practical application in the workplace. - Read more
  • The most common forms of written assessment in HE are essays and essay based exams. Other forms of written assessment include lab reports, dissertation, reflective diaries, portfolios, and case studies. - Read more
  • Zone of Proximal Development
    The difference between what a learner can do without help, and what they can do with help. - Read more
  • ZPD
    The difference between what a learner can do without help, and what they can do with help. - Read more

Access the full
a to z of teaching

Help us to build the
a to z of teaching

Is there a missing term that you think should be added? Do you know a great resource we can include? If so, please recommend it and help us grow the A to Z of Teaching. 

0...

become a member

OneHE is focused on better teaching and supports members to be better connected and informed in a questioning and caring environment. Learn more

All new members receive a 14 day trial period, during which no payments are taken.  

We charge a low membership fee (£3 per month for a Global Member) to keep the OneHE community free from advertising and to generate funding for member-led projects.

Fees are halved in low and medium income countries to encourage participation and create an inclusive global community. Find out whether you are eligible.

become a member

OneHE is focused on better teaching and supports members to be better connected and informed in a questioning and caring environment. Learn more

All new members receive a 14 day trial period, during which no payments are taken.  

We charge a low membership fee (£3 per month for a Global Member) to keep the OneHE community free from advertising and to generate funding for member-led projects.

Fees are halved in low and medium income countries to encourage participation and create an inclusive global community. Find out whether you are eligible.

ajax-loader