Key words and concepts that have shaped the concept of open learning, open learning communities and man's relationship to technology.
APPROPRIATION - processes by which individuals and communities
consciously take both conceptual and operational control of an
idea, a tool, a technology, etc. within the context of their real
and perceived culture.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) - tools that exhibit human
intelligence and behaviour including self-learning robots, expert
systems, voice recognition, natural and automated translation.
COLLABORATIVE LEARNING - when learners work in groups on
the same task simultaneously, thinking together over demands and
tackling complexities. Collaboration is here seen as the act of
shared creation and/or discovery. Within the context of electronic
communication, collaborative learning can take place without members
being physically in the same location.
CONSTRUCTIVISM - sees learning as a dynamic process in
which learners construct new ideas or concepts on their current/past knowledge and in response
to the instructional situation. Constructivism implies the notion
that learners do not passively absorb information but construct
CYBERSPACE - the virtual shared universe of the world's
computer networks, it has come to describe the global information
space. As an example, telephone conversations, 'chatroom' discussions,
computer communications and ATM transactions all take place in
DISTANCE EDUCATION - an educational process and system
in which all or a significant proportion of the teaching is carried
out by someone or something removed in space and time from the
learner. Distance education requires structured planning, well-designed
courses special instructional techniques and methods of communication
by electronic and other technology, as well as specific organizational
and administrative arrangements.
DISTANCE LEARNING - a system and a process that connects
learners to distributed learning resources. Distance learning
can take a variety of forms, all distance learning, however, is
characterized by (a) separation/distance of place and/or time
between instructor and learner, amongst learners, and/or between
learners and learning resources; and (b) interaction between the
learner and the instructor, among learners and/or between learners
and learning resources conducted through one or more media.
DISTRIBUTED ENVIRONMENTS - physical and virtual diversification
of learning resources.
ELECTRONIC MAIL - network tool that allows an individual
to send a message to the computer mailbox of another user. Mailboxes,
have unique and specific addresses which can generally be mailed
to or by anyone else on the Internet. Email can also be
sent automatically to a large number of addresses (through a Mailing
EMPOWERMENT - how individuals/communities engage in learning
processes in which they create, appropriate and share knowledge,
tools and techniques in order to change and improve the quality
of their own lives and societies. Through empowerment, individuals
not only manage and adapt to change but also contribute to/generate
changes in their lives and environments.
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING - learning by doing.
FIBER OPTICS - communications infrastructure that uses
optical fibers for transmission. Optical fibers transmit large
amounts of complex and varied information such as text, diagrams
and graphics more quickly and efficiently than the traditional
GUI (Graphical User Interface) - a graphics-based user
interface that incorporates icons, pull-down menus and a mouse,
as in Microsoft Windows or the interface on Macintosh computers.
The GUI has become the standard way users interact with a computer.
HARDWARE - machinery and equipment (CPU, disks, tapes,
modem, cables, printers, scanners, CD drives, etc.). In operation,
a computer is both hardware and software.
HOMEPAGE - The home page is the first Web page you come
to when you access a Web site. Many companies, individuals and
universities, for example, have Web pages.
HTML - HyperText Markup Language is the underlying document
format used on the World Wide Web. Webpages are built with HTML
tags, or codes, embedded in the text, that allow different web
browses (like Netscape, Mosaic, Ms Internet Explorer, etc.) to
display formatted Web pages.
INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY - a broad term used for the many
emerging and existing paths for accessing electronic information.
They include computer networks, electronic mail, enhanced cable
TV systems, electronic shopping and banking, etc.
INTERACTIVITY - reciprocal process of information exchange
between two or more "players" in communication, or more
specifically learning. "Players" can be pupils, facilitators,
peers but also automated learner resources, like databases and
other CAL devices.
INTERACTIVE RADIO INSTRUCTION - Instruction through radio
which allows for a return of communication via telephone, fax,
INTERACTIVE TELEVISION (ITV) - television programmes which
typically consist of oneway video transmission (students
see instructor at a distance) and twoway audio (students
hear instructor either through the television or by telephone
and the instructor can hear students by telephone). With the advent
of compressed video, ITV programmes are now being implemented
that allow both students and teachers to see, hear and respond
to each other via video and audio in realtime.
INTERNET - the world-wide network of networks. Known as
'The Net,' it is a wide collection of interconnected computer
networks that allow electronic mail, files, and other information
to flow between computers.
INTRANET - An in-house Web site that serves the employees
of an enterprise. Even if intranet pages can be linked to the
Internet, an intranet is not a site accessed by the general public.
With programming languages like Java, client/server applications
can be built on intranets.
JUST-IN-TIME LEARNING - a term to describe ways of making
information available over Internet to people when they need it
and at a level equal to their ability to understand it.
LAN - local area network, or a group of computers connected
for the purpose of sharing resources. The computers on a local
area network are typically joined by a single transmission cable
and are located within a small area, often not more than a few
square kilometres, and a single building or section of a building.
LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS - an organization that shares and
constructs knowledge, resources, and experiences towards a common
LISTSERV/MAILING LIST - application on the Internet that
gives users the opportunity to distribute mail, send to other
addresses. Automated mailing lists allow for online discussions
conducted by electronic mail.
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS - frameworks for interacting, understanding,
interpreting, and constructing meaning based on local knowledge,
oral traditions, and historical experiences of given area or group.
LOGIN - to identify oneself to a computer system or network
and start to use it. Usually logging on requires a password, depending
on the system. Same as log on; opposite of log-off.
MEDIA - means and ways of distribution and communication.
From text, audio, graphics, animated graphics to full-motion video.
Media is the plural of "medium." Multimedia is the mix
or combination of media.
MEDIA LITERACY - the ability to access, analyze, evaluate,
and produce communication and information in a variety of forms
METACOGNITION - thinking about one's thinking processes.
It has to do with the active monitoring and regulation of cognitive
MUD - Multiple User Domains/Dungeons/Dialogues are also known as 'chatrooms.' They are text-based environments in which many users are able to communicate and construct an environment in 'real-time.'
MULTICHANNEL LEARNING - learning processes whereby the
interaction between learners and learing source takes place through a variety of communication
channels (for example, print, TV, e-mail, Internet and video)
MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES - Howard Gardner identifies at least
seven different human intelligences that allow us to engage in
learning and help us make sense of the world: (1) language; (2)
logical-mathematical analysis; (3) spatial representation; (4)
musical thinking; (5) the use of the body to solve problems or
to make things; (6) an understanding of other individuals; and,
(7) an understanding of ourselves. Within the framework of learning
with technology, each has a specific role and capacity.
NETWORK - an arrangement of objects or people that are
interconnected electronically or not. See LAN. In communications,
the transmission channels interconnecting all client and server
stations also support hardware and software.
ON-LINE - when a computer is connected to a network and
logged in. On-line is the opposite of off-line.
OPEN LEARNING - instructional systems in which many facets
of the learning process are under the control of the learner.
It attempts to deliver learning opportunities where, when, and
how the learner needs them.
SERVER - a computer that provides a service across a network.
The service may be file access, login access, file transfer, printing
and so on.
SOFTWARE - instructions for the computer. A series of instructions
that performs a particular task is called a programme. Two major
categories of software are system operating software and application
software. See hardware.
SURFING THE NET - Scanning online material, such as databases,
news and forums. The term originated from"channel surfing,"
the rapid changing of TV channels to identify something of interest.
TELECOMMUNICATION - the electronic process that enables
communication across distances, large and small, from one sender
TELECONFERENCING - ("long distance" conferencing)
describes meetings at a distance using electronic means such as
satellite, telephone, Internet, radio etc. in which participants
have direct visual or aural contact.
TELEMATICS - mixing of resources and services of computer
science and telecommunications.
URL - (Uniform Resource Locator) the Internet addressing
scheme that defines the route to a file or programme. For example,
a home page on the World Wide Web is accessed via its URL.
VIRTUAL COMMUNITIES - a community accessible only online
via computer, enabled by computer conferencing systems that allow
people around the world to participate in public conversations
or exchange private messages via electronic mail.
VIRTUAL REALITY - an immersive and interactive simulation
of either reality-based or imaginary images and scenes. See Cyberspace.
VIRUS - software programme used to infect a computer. After
the virus code is written, it is buried within an existing programme.
Once that programme is executed, the virus code is activated and
attaches copies of itself to programmes in the system.
WORLD WIDE WEB - a hyper-text-based system for finding and accessing resources on the Internet.