Clear and concise statements that describe what the tutor, teacher or trainer hopes to achieve in a learning session.


Continuing professional development sometimes referred to as staff development. Any activity that helps tutors, teachers and trainers maintain, improve or broaden their knowledge, understanding and skills, and become more effective in their role.


Differentiation is about identifying and addressing the different needs, interests and abilities of all learners to give them the best possible chance of achieving their learning goals.

E-learning *

E-learning is learning supported or enhanced through the application of ICT. There are a broad spectrum of activities which constitute e-learning, from straightfor-ward applications which enhance classroom activities to full distance, online and remote learning.


English for Speakers of Other Languages.

Expert learner

A learner who is encouraged and supported by their teachers/trainers and programme of study to develop a range of effective learning styles and to be confident, informed and inquisitive, taking on responsibility for managing their own learning.

The Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) is working with other agencies across the schools and learning and skills sectors, to develop a definition of and standards for the 'expert learner'.


Information and Learning Technology. Supporting and delivering effective learning supported by technology.

Individual review, action planning and target setting

A form of formative assessment that takes place outside the classroom or workshop where learners review their progress on a one-to-one basis and formulate actions and targets for improvement.


Recognising and responding to individual needs.

Initial assessment

The overall process of assessing individual learners' needs, aptitudes, preferences and prior learning in order to plan and provide an appropriate learning programme to meet their needs.

Learning cycle

The learning process in which the experience of trying something new is followed by reflection and evaluation on what was effective. Reflection is supported by reference to existing theory and then followed by a new plan of action, taking into account what has already been learnt. The learning process is cyclic and can go on indefinitely.

Learning outcomes

Statements indicating what a learner should know/be able to do at the end of a given period.

Learning preferences

A preferred way of learning, for example, learning through computer technology or learning through visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or practical activities.

Learning programme

Strategic programme for learning including schemes of work and session plans that ensure coherence and continuity across the learning experience.

Learning styles inventory **

A diagnostic instrument used to assess learners' preferred learning styles.

Motivational dialogue

Motivational dialogue is a learner-centred approach to influencing a young person's motivation to change behaviours that stand in the way of their progress. It was designed as a non confrontational way of trying to help individuals recognise and do something about their present or potential problems.


Precise and measurable statements describing what you intend learners to learn in the time specified.

Open/closed questions

Open questions cannot be answered with a 'yes' or 'no' response or a one-word answer and encourage higher-level thinking skills. Closed questions have only one satisfactory answer, usually very short. These questions can be useful when testing knowledge.

Peer assessment

Learners check each other's work, using clear criteria. This helps them develop and use skills required to check or evaluate their own work.


The process whereby a learner takes time to consider an experience they have been involved in or any new learning experience and reflect on how it has been done. It may also refer to teachers' and trainers' consideration of their own work.


The type of assessment undertaken by the learner in order to evaluate his or her performance, strengths and weaknesses. It may also refer to teachers' and trainers' consideration of their own work.

Session plan

A timed plan for a learning session that specifies aims, learning objectives, learning activities, resource and support needs.

Summative assessment

An end test or assessment, usually at the end of a unit, module or programme, to record a learner's attainment for that unit of learning.


Objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-related.

Team teaching

Working with a colleague to deliver learning sessions that can provide you both with useful feedback on the effectiveness of your strategies.

*Based on LLUK's definition of e-learning

** If you look up 'learning styles' on the Internet, you will discover dozens of different questionnaires for assessing learning preferences. But beware! A study by the Learning and Skills Research Centre found that some of the most widely used instruments had low reliability and poor validity. The report recommended that 'teachers and trainers should look instead at broader notions of how learners approach learning. (Coffield al., Learning styles and pedagogy in post-16 learning. A systematic and critical review, 2004, Learning and Skills Research Centre/Learning and Skills Development Agency.)