Online Safety Training Glossary: Terms to Know In Your Search for Online Safety Training


Online Safety Training Glossary Image

Looking to buy an online safety training solution? Maybe some online courses, maybe a learning management system (LMS), or maybe both?

But maybe also a little....intimidated by all the jargon and special terms?

Well, you've come to the right place, my friend. We've put together a handy glossary of terms you may run into while you're researching and evaluating online safety training.

We've probably included more words than any one person or company will need to look up, but what's the harm of having extras? On the flip-side, please use the comments section at the bottom of this article if you think we've missed something.

Hope you find this helpful!

2 NOTES: You may also find this free, on-demand webinar about Comparing Online Safety Training Solutions helpful. PLUS you might also find a LOT of stuff interesting and helpful on your online safety training search in the guide below.

Online Safety Training Terms, A-Z



A theory that employees learn most of what they learn at directly from work experience (the 70%), a smaller amount of what they learn from social interactions with coworkers (the 20%), and an even smaller amount of what they learn from formal, assigned training (the 10%).

The percentages (70/20/10) aren’t certain and aren’t especially important. The key part of the theory is that employees learn a great deal from on-the-job work experience and social interactions.

Active Directory

Directory service by Microsoft for Windows computers. When a company has Active Directory installed on their network computers, an employee can log into Windows with a username/password combination and use that same username/password combinations to automatically get access to other software applications without having to log in. This allows an employee to login to a computer when his or her shift starts, and then later click to access an LMS for online safety training without having to log into the LMS.

Adaptive Learning

A feature of some learning systems that automatically “adapt” to the training performance of each individual worker and presents training to the worker accordingly.

This is somewhat like how Amazon keeps track of your browsing and purchasing habits to suggest other things you might want to buy.


The person at your company who uses a learning management system (LMS) to “administer and manage” the safety training program at your work. This typically involved being granted an administrative security role and performing functions such as importing and/or creating training, assigning training, crediting completed training, running reports, and more.


An eLearning standard originally created by the aviation industry (AICC is short for aviation industry computer-based training committee). Although AICC was created for the aviation industry, employers in other industries use it as well.

AICC is still used today but isn’t as common as it once was, and isn’t as common as other eLearning standards, such as SCORM.


In the simplest terms, this means using two or more images to imply motion. More specifically, this is often used to refer to the use of graphic-design programs to create moving visual images that can be streamed or otherwise delivered over the Internet in an eLearning course or in a video file in common formats, such as .WMV or MP4.

In that second, more specific definition, animation is a type of video but one created by graphic designers, not one captured with a video camera of real-world people and events.


An operating system for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. One of two major types of mobile operating systems, the other being iOs. Android was developed by Google and is based on Linux.


Software application that allows other software applications to exchange data, communicate, and work together.

For example, an API can allow your learning management system (LMS) to be integrated with the HRIS system your HR department uses, the CRM system your Sales force uses, and/or the ERP your Operations department uses.


Producer of popular eLearning authoring tools, including new (as of January, 2017) Articulate 360 package, which includes Preso, Peek, Storyline, Studio, and Replay.


ASP, or Active Server Pages, is a Microsoft server-side scripting language that allows dynamically generated web pages to be delivered to the browser. For example, an HTML page is a static web page and is the same for each viewer. An ASP page can have logic that is evaluated on the server and can deliver different content for different users, can make connections to server data-sources, and more.

Asynchronous Learning

When more than one person learn from the same learning activity at different times and/or places.

For example, most eLearning courses are asynchronous because one worker can complete the course on his or her own at 8 am completely independently of another worker who later completes that same course at noon.

Augmented Reality

Technology that imposes computer-simulated sound and/or images onto a person’s view of the physical, real-world reality around them. This typically happens through some types of glasses or goggles.

Authoring tool

A software application used to create eLearning courses in common formats, including AICC, SCORM, and/or xAPI.

Common examples include Lectora, Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, Camtasia, and iSpring.


Microsoft's cloud computing service. Azure is managed through a global network of Microsoft data centers.

Back-End Architecture

The database that stores data inside a learning management system (including things like user names, activity names, completion records, etc.).


A digital graphic that indicates a learner has completed a course, set of courses, and/or certification.

Big Data

Extremely large sets of data that can be analyzed to find useful patterns and/or to make predictions.

In the learning world, “big learning data” can give us insights about how employees are learning and how well our training materials are performing.

In the safety world, big data can be used to help identify safe and unsafe workers, predict future accidents, etc.


Software application that allows you to view Internet pages. Common browsers include Internet Explorer (IE), Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Also known as web browsers.


Name of popular eLearning authoring tool produced by Adobe.

Certificate of completion

A paper or digital acknowledgement that a worker has completed a safety training activity.


Acknowledgement that a person has completed a course of study and can competently perform a job, task, or the role of a given career.

An example is the CPA certification for accountants.

Channel Learning

Learning (typically administered through your LMS) for “channel partners” that are an extension of your company’s sales team.

Channel learning is designed to teach channel partners about your products and services, to help them manage their representatives and contacts, and ultimately to sell more effectively.


In terms of safety training, most commonly a paper-based or digital list that presents the different steps of a process, safe work practice, or standard operating procedure. These checklists are often used to teach employees procedures and/or to evaluate an employee as he or she demonstrates the ability to perform that procedure.


A common web browser.

Classroom Training

Instructor-led training that occurs in a classroom setting. Can be administered with a learning management system, including assigning, notifications, granting credit for completion, reporting, and more.


A learning management system can be hosted on the “cloud.” This means it’s not located on your own servers but you and your employees can access the LMS (and the training in it) via the Internet.

Further, this can mean it’s hosted on a single server (such as one set up by your online safety training provider) or on a series of servers spread out through the world (this is called the “distributed cloud”).


eLearning specification associated with the new Tin Can eLearning standard.

Cognitive Overload

In the context of learning, refers to the widely held theory that the human brain can process only a given amount of information at one time, and that exceeding that amount of input "overloads" the brain, causing the brain to simply "drop" some of the information. Well-designed eLearning and other trainings are designed to avoid cognitive overload.

Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning

Originated by learning theorist Richard Mayer, this theory holds that the brain has two separate channels for processing information, an auditory and a visual channel; that each channel has a limited capacity; and that learning is an active process of attending to, filtering, selecting, organizing, and integrating information from each of these channels.

Collaborative Learning

Learning in groups of two or more. Distinct from learning on your own.

Completion Record

Term many LMS providers use for the credit a learner (employee) gets for completing a training activity.

Computer-Based Training (CBT)

Originally, training completed on a computer that was not connected to the Internet (the term pre-dates the popularity of the Internet). Today, the term is still sometimes used to refer to training that's taken on a computer that's connected to the Internet.


Typically, a term eLearning providers use to refer to a single eLearning activity. This is often also referred to as a module.


Abbreviation for comma-separated values. Information is often stored in CSV format for migration from one system to another or for migration into a system. For example, information about your workforce can be entered into Excel, exported in CSV format, and then migrated into your learning management system. Likewise, OSHA's new online reporting system provides a way to import your incident reports using CSV.


In the context of learning management systems, a dashboard is a screen in the LMS that provides charts and graphs visually displaying important information such as employee training progress, pass/fail rates, and similar key training metrics.

Data Center

Facility used to house many, many computer servers support the Internet.


Structured set of data in a computer, typically in some form of table, that can be accessed and viewed in multiple ways. An LMS typically has a database at the "back end" that stories the data created and or used by administrators and employees on the "front end."

Delivery Method/Media

In terms of training, this means how the training was delivered--eLearning course, video, instructor-led training, written training materials, case studies, role-playing, etc.

Demonstrated Skills

In terms of safety training, most commonly used to describe a process in which an employee performs the steps of a procedure while a supervisor evaluates the employee's performance and determines if it was performed in the safe, proper, and/or approved manner.

See also Checklist and Demonstrated Skills.

Distributed Cloud

One type of "cloud" computing. This means that the information being displayed on a computer and drawn from "the cloud" is in fact being drawn from a network of separate computer servers instead of one single server. See Azure for an example.

Dual-Channel Learning

Well-regarded learning theory that states that people have two processing channels for information, one auditory and one visual. See also Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning.


What many think of a "online training." See also eLearning Course.

eLearning Course

What many think of a "online training." An eLearning course is a multimedia learning activity delivered online through an LMS. It is typically created in common eLearning authoring tools such as those made by Articulate, Adobe (Captivate), Lectora, and others, and are published in common formats such as AICC, SCORM, and the new Tin Can standard.


Optional, non-assigned training an employee "elects" to complete.

Experience API

This is one of the most common eLearning standards, along with AICC and SCORM. xAPI is often referred to as Tin Can and/or xAPI, and it is the most current eLearning standard (you will often here it referred to as "next-generation SCORM).

See also Tin Can, xAPI, and Learning Record Store.

Extended Enterprise LMS

A learning management system intended to be used not just to train the employees of a company, but also other "extensions" of the enterprise, such as potential customers, customers, resellers, distributors, contractors, visitors, and vendors.

Field-Based Training

Safety and/or job training that takes placed in the field/in the work area/directly on the job. Can be administered with many LMSs even if the training doesn't occur online.


One of several common web browsers. See also browsers.


File format used to deliver video content online. Being phased out, with MP4 taking its place.


Learning activity put into the context or form of a game (such as a video game). Widely believed to make training more fun and make employees more likely to complete and learn from the learning activity. Also sometimes known as "serious games."

Game-Based Learning

Learning activities presented in the form of a game. Widely believed to make training more fun and make employees more likely to complete and learn from the learning activity. Also sometimes known as "serious games."


Adding elements of games and/or video games to training, such as putting a visible "leaderboard" in an LMS.


Term used in some LMSs for a "collection" of employees that you can define, name, and then assign training to and run reports on. Typically distinct from and in addition to employee groups based on job role, work area, etc.


Where an LMS is "stored." Typically, an LMS can be stored or hosted on your own servers (on your network), on a computer server provided by your LMS provider (this computer server may be their own or one they rent from another provider, such as RackSpace) and accessible via "the cloud," and/or on a collection of globally connected servers (the so-called "distributed cloud").


Coding language used to create, distribute, and present information on the Internet. HTML5 is the most recent version of HTML and your LMS and eLearning courses should use it.

Internet Explorer (IE)

One of the most common web browsers. See browsers.


Learning activity that combines words and pictures (still images) to teach something. Typically "focused" one a single topic. Can be on a safety training topic, such as Lockout-Tagout, and can be delivered through an LMS to employees.

Informal Learning

Learning that occurs on the job in addition to formal, assigned learning/training. Some studies and theories suggest that MOST learning that occurs on the job is informal learning. See also 70/20/10.

Instructor-Led Training (ILT)

Training led by an instructor, especially in a classroom environment.


The process of making linking two or more computer software applications together so they can communicate and exchange data. For example, an LMS can be integrated with your company's HRIS, ERP, CRM, and even another LMS. This often or typically happens through an API. See API.


Training that requires the learner (employee) to interact. There are multiple types, levels, and degrees of interaction (in both online and offline training) that are possible. Some aid learning, some don't affect learning, and some may detract from learning. This is why it's good to have training activities developed by training experts.


An operating system for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. One of two major types of mobile operating systems, the other being Android. iOS was developed by Apple.

Job Aid

Something created to supported the worker while he or she is performing a job task while actually on the job. An example would be a checklist for the worker to follow. Job aids are often created instead of training or in addition to training.

Just-In-Time Training (JIT)

Training delivered to employees just before they need to use it on the job.

Landing Page

The webpage a person goes to in order to login to a learning management system. Often can be customized and/or branded for the individual company.


A different term used to refer to the employee taking/completing safety training or other forms of training.

Learning Community

A group of people who have similar learning goals and cooperate to learn materials on a given topic together. Modern learning theories often emphasize the role of the learning and development expert in helping to create and then support learning communities at work.

Learning Ecosystem

A more holistic way of thinking and talking about learning environments. If an learning environment is the environment in which a specific learning activity takes place, a learning ecosystem is the combination of people, resources, places, technologies, and times during which learning can occur at a company. This includes a combination of formal and informal learning; training and learning on the job; etc.

Many learning and development theorists believe it is the role of the L&D department to help create a rich, compelling, and effective learning ecosystem.

Learning Management System (LMS)

Software system used to administer training. This includes things like making assignments, delivering online training, notifying employees of training, creating completion records, generating reports, and more.

Learning Object

Kind of nerdy way to refer to materials in a learning event that, combined, are intended to teach a learning objective. Often used in context of eLearning courses, and often used when discussing eLearning courses.

Learning Objective

What the learners (employees) should know and/or be able to do after training is over. The entire point of holding training. All training materials should be designed to help the learner satisfy the learning objective, and all assessments should be designed to determine if the learner can satisfy the learning objective.

Learning Outcomes

Different term for learning objectives. See learning objectives.

Learning Record Store (LRS)

Software system that stores learning records. Most commonly used when discussing the new Tin Can/xAPI learning standard. Learning record stores (LRSs) can be used alongside and/or in combination with learning management systems (LMSs), and some LMSs include a built-in LRS.


Name of popular eLearning authoring tool produced by Trivantis.


Abbreviation for learning management system. See LMS.


Learning delivered in small, bite-sized chunks, typically 1-5 minutes. Many believe that learning can be improved when delivered in microlearning format, especially if it's delivered to allow for spaced practice. See also spaced practice.


Moving data from one computer system to another. This is often done during an LMS implementation (for example, moving information from an old LMS to a new one, or from an HRIS system to the LMS).


Online learning activities viewed and completed on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. These are often designed so they are more appropriate for viewing and completing on smaller phones and tablets and are also designed so they are technically compatible with those devices.

Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)

Federal agency responsible for safety regulations at U.S. mines. MSHA created and enforces the Part 46 and Part 48 mining safety training regulations.


Use of mobile devices for training, including viewing and completing training, crediting training, accessing training for in-the-field job support, and more.

Mobile Compatible

Online learning activities and management systems that are designed and optimized to be used on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.


File format used to delivering videos online. Typically seen as replacing Flash as current industry standard.


When a learning management system (LMS) sends an email, text, or other form of message notifying an employee of something related to training. Typically used to notify the employee that training has been assigned, or that the due date of training is coming soon, and/or that training the worker has completed in the past has "expired" and the worker must complete it again.

Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA)

Federal agency that regulates most job safety issues in the US (see also the mining equivalent, MSHA). OSHA wrote and enforced the 1910 General Industry regulations, the 1926 Construction regulations, the Part 1915, 1917, and 1918 Maritime regulations, the 1904 Recordkeeping requirements, and the 1928 Agriculture requirements.

There are also a number of state-level OSHA plans.


Can be used to refer to "traditional" training that does not occur on a computer, such as classroom-style training and field-based training, or to refer to computer-based training that can be completed even without a working Internet connection.


One of several payment options for online training. The idea is that the online training is available at a third-party website, not in a learning management system (LMS) that you administer for your own company. Payment can take different forms, including pay-per-view and/or subscription. This is somewhat similar to on-demand movies (like Netflix) and on-demand music (like Spotify).


Term used to refer to training viewed and completed online via a web browser. Typically used to differentiate this type of training from classroom training and field-based training. Often used to refer to eLearning.

Organizational Structure

A term some learning management systems will use to refer to the way you can divide your workforce into different units to match your organization structure in order to make specific assignments and run reports on specific parts of your workforce.

Units may include Regions (such as the US, Mexico, and Europe), Sites (such as Dallas, Miami, and Seattle), Departments (such as Operations and Warehouse), Teams (such as Converting and Forklift Operators), and individual workers.

See also Groups.

Part 46

Mandatory safety training requirements for surface miners. Written, regulated, and enforced by MSHA.

Part 48

Mandatory safety training requirements for underground miners. Written, regulated, and enforced by MSHA.


One possible payment model for online safety training.

Like the name implies, you'll pay for each viewing of safety training. Depending on the provider, you may have to pay immediately before launching each course, or you may pre-pay for a specific number of course launches, or even for an unlimited number of launches for a specific amount of time.


Electronic file type that allows an electronic image of text or graphics to be distributed electronically

Often a file type that can be imported into an LMS and used as part of a blended learning solution for online safety training.

Performance Support

Information provided to a worker while he/she is at work in order to help the worker perform better. An example would be a checklist an operator can refer to, or an SOP a worker can follow while performing the procedure.

Performance support is often created and supplied instead or in addition to training.

See also Job Aid.

PowerPoint Presentation

Presentation made with Microsoft's popular PowerPoint software application. Often used for safety training.

Can be imported into many LMSs and delivered online.


Ability that many LMSs often to generate data on employee training progress, including completion status, and other key safety training data.

Data is typically shown in tables, graphs, or charts.

Responsive Design

Web design technology/method that allows the website (or in our case LMS and/or eLearning course) to be viewed on screens of different sizes, including mobile.

In the context of online safety training, this is especially important for viewing courses and administering an LMS on mobile devices such as smartphones and mobile tablets.

Return on Investment (ROI)

In the most general terms, seen as the benefits one receives in return for the cost of a benefit. Often expressed as a ratio.

ROI is typically analyzed in financial terms, so essentially it's a calculation of money spent compared to money saved as a result of the money spent.

ROI for safety training, and most training, can be difficult to measure precisely since so many benefits of training are indirect, not immediately apparent, and/or hard to quantify.


Common web browser, comes installed on Apple computers.

See also browser.

Scenario-based learning

A learning activity that requires requires the learner to make choices/actions in real or simulated experiences like those they'd face on the job and that allows the learner to see the consequences of their decisions (and get feedback).


An eLearning standard, along with AICC and Tin Can/xAPI. There are two different SCORM standards--SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004.

The basic idea is that a SCORM-compliant eLearning course can be used in a SCORM-compliant LMS. In short, they provide plug-and-play interoperability--or should, in theory.

SCORM 1.2 is the most common of the two types of SCORM and probably the most common of all eLearning standards.

Self-Guided Learning

Learning in which individual learner is free to proceed at his or her own pace.

Serious Game

Learning game designed to teach employees useful knowledge and skills to be used on the job. Typically elements elements of games that people play for fun, including video games.


A computer on a network that acts as a central resource and delivers information, files, or services to other computers. Examples of servers include web servers, FTP servers, mail servers, and application servers.

In the context of online safety training, a training management may be hosted on your own network server, on the provider's server, or in "the cloud."

Shareable Content Object (SCO)

Sometimes used as a "short" way to refer to a single eLearning course created in the SCORM eLearning standard.

See also SCORM.


Microsoft's equivalent of Flash.

It is sometimes necessary to have Silverlight installed on a computer before you can use an LMS.

Silverlight is available as a free download.

Single Sign-On

Allowing a worker to sign-on once to a computer network and have access to multiple software applications and systems without having to sign in to each system individually.

Many workplaces look for an LMS that supports single sign-on capabilities.

See also Active Directory.

Skill Demonstration

In terms of safety training, most commonly used to describe a process in which an employee performs the steps of a procedure while a supervisor evaluates the employee's performance and determines if it was performed in the safe, proper, and/or approved manner.

See also Checklist and Demonstrated Skills.

Social Learning

Loosely, learning socially (from coworkers and/or other people).

More specifically, learning via social media tools, such as wikis, bulletin boards, chat groups, and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, and others.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Way to pay for software, including safety training software, on a subscription based. Software application is centrally hosted on the providers server or on the cloud. This is sometimes referred to as on-demand software.

Spaced Practice

Well-established learning theory that people learn more effectively if they get exposed to learning content and get an opportunity to practice with that content during shorter training sessions spaced out over time.

Story-based learning

Learning theory that states learners learn more effectively when the learning materials are presented in the form of a story.


Payment option for many online safety training courses and systems in which the user makes repeated payments on an on-going basis (such as monthly or yearly).

Synchronous Learning

When people learn the same topic together, such as in a traditional instructor-led classroom setting or on a live webinar.

Distinct from asynchronous learning.


Color and design schemes for online safety training course and/or LMSs.

Can sometimes be modified/customized for individual customers.

Tin Can

An eLearning standard, along with AICC and SCORM. The most recent eLearning standard.

Also sometimes referred to as the "Experience API" and/or xAPI.

Requires the use of an LRS to collect learning records.

See also Learning Record System.


A term some online safety training solutions use to refer to the people who use the systems. This can include the average employee, who uses the system to complete training, as well as the administrator, who uses the system to manage and/or administer the training.

See also Learner and Administrator.

User Experience

The overall experience a person has when using a product or service.

In the context of online safety training, this means the overall experience of completing safety training online (for employees/learners) and of using the system to administer the safety training (for administrators).

Key elements of user experience include being intuitive, being easy, and requiring fewer actions/clicks.

User Interface (UI)

The visual design by which a person using an online safety training system (including both learners/employees and administrators) interact with and "use" the system.


In general terms, recording and broadcasting moving images.

In the context of online safety training, videos can be imported into a training management system and then viewed/completed by the employees as part of their safety training.

This can include a link to a video hosted online, such as on a site like YouTube, MSHA, OSHA, and/or the Chemical Safety Board website. It can also include a video file in common formats (such as MP4) directly imported into the LMS.

Videos may include real representations of people and the world captured with video cameras, but can also include animations created by graphic designers.

In addition, eLearning courses can and often do include video files.

Virtual Classroom

A classroom-like instructor-led training session held through a webinar.

Virtual Reality

A computer-generated, three-dimensional representation of the world (or a fictional world) that a person can experience and interact with, typically through some form of goggles/headset.

In the context of online safety training, virtual reality is increasingly being discussed as a potentially effective way to administer effective, realistic safety training, and in some cases is being used today.

Web-Based Training (WBT)

A bit of an older term that essentially means the same thing as online training, computer-based training, and eLearning.

Web Browser

Software application used to view web pages on the Internet. Common types include Internet Explorer (IE), Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.


A way to communicate over the Internet; often involves video, audio, text chat, and the ability to share and view one another's computer screens.

In the context of safety training, webinars are often used as a replacement for traditional instructor-led classroom training, especially for remote and/or widespread workforces.


A website that allows multiple users to collaborate, write, and edit.

Wikipedia is an example of a wiki, but not the only wiki.

In the context of online safety training, many companies set up internal wikis that they use for safety information.


Abbreviation for Experience API. This is one of the most common eLearning standards, along with AICC and SCORM. xAPI is often referred to as Tin Can, and it is the most current eLearning standard (you will often here it referred to as "next-generation SCORM).

See also Tin Can, Experience API, and Learning Record Store.


Computing markup language that makes the transmission of data across the Internet simpler and more effective.


Upcoming standard by ANSI and ASSE covering best practices for "virtual safety training," which is essentially the same as online safety training. The committee for this upcoming standard is currently being created.

Conclusion: That's Our Online Safety Training Glossary

That help? We hope so!

Let us know if you think we missed something by adding a note in the Comments section below.

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