“Successful communication depends on your mastery of a lexicon!”

I’m on a mission to help people make and use video for learning purposes. The Glossary of Learning Video Terms – a learning video lexicon, is the foundation of creating a professional video for learning purposes.

This is part four of Video for Learning Fundamentals. Please review the other parts to help you create learning videos.

Part 1: The Case for Video
Part 2: We Need Learning Video Production Skills
Part 3: 5 Phases of Video Production for Learning
Part 4: Glossary of Learning Video Terms

So let’s get to it!

Why We Need a Glossary of Learning Video Terms

As a child, my dad would ask me, “What did you do today?” I would tell him a story about Ryan and Willie. This one day I told him about Ryan throwing a bottle at the train tracks.

“Ryan wasn’t ambivalent, Chris, he was determined to break the bottle.” My father stated confidently.

“What does ambivalent mean?” I asked.

Silence. He would just keep walking next to me looking straight ahead. Allowing the wait time to do its thing. I couldn’t take it. I was just as impatient for knowledge at age 10 as I am now.

“JUST TELL ME WHAT IT MEANS!” I would scream at my dad. “Why do you always do this?”

Silence! He did not look at me. Instead, I saw a subtle wry smile form in the corner of his mouth. This was his tell. It was a signal that his lesson was working.

With rising sarcastic inflection, he asked, “You don’t know that word?”

“You know I don’t! DAD!”

I said this in a bitchy little huff, extra bitchiness in the word DAD!

“It means uncertain or without care. Ryan was determined to throw the bottle. He was NOT ambivalent!”


Until I was at university majoring in education, I never realized what my Master Teacher father had been doing all those years. He was offering me vocabulary words to improve my English language lexicon. He couldn’t help himself. As a trained teacher of English and German, he spent his professional and personal life teaching the use of language. He would use his red pen to correct notes that we left for him when we went places. (For the pre-internet, pre-cellphone people: leaving notes for people used to be a normal, daily form of communication).

Once I reached my post-secondary studies, I had a vocabulary that allowed me to thrive in the rigors of intellectual discourse. My life lesson, and the purpose of my Glossary of Learning Video Terms, is that we need a common vocabulary to communicate successfully.

If we are to make better learning videos we need a common language. We need to improve our lexicon in order for us to deliver on the promise of video for learning: to improve knowledge, skills, and behaviors. This glossary of learning video terms is meant to be that place of reference.

Glossary of Learning Video Terms

The glossary of learning video terms is a living document because language is a living organism. Linguistics teaches us that language changes with usage, interpretation, and innovation. We make decisions at the “linguistic buffet” when we choose words to describe a topic.

Please offer insights from your experience to improve this glossary of learning video terms. Submit your entries or alterations with this form.


The ADDIE model is a common process used by trainers and instructional designers. By merging the Analysis (A) and Design (D) into the phases of video production as the Design phase, we immediately focus video production on learning and not marketing/advertising/entertainment. Instructional Designers have used the ADDIE method since the 1970s. ADDIE stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation.



The interpretation of measured data that was designed to be collected for the purpose of identifying areas for improvement within a learning course, plan, or initiative. Examples include total time spent, completion rate, exit rate, satisfaction rating (poll results), progress, and proficiency.

Art Director

Provides direction for the overall look of the video including following brand guidelines, font and color choices, set décor, filming style, and sound design.


Audio Engineer

Oversees quality of the sound capturing process on a video set or in a sound booth.


Authoring Tool

Software used to create eLearning courses. Derived from the term “Authorware,” these applications enable the “author” to sequence text, images, video, and audio into attractive and useful learning products.


Blended Learning

The combination of instructor-led and computer-based instruction or training. Blended learning is believed by many to be the best form of training as it gives the best of both worlds: a human, face-to-face learning experience combined with the convenience of autonomous online/computer-based instruction.


Call Sheet

A schedule that lets the production crew and talent know where to be and when based on the scenes being shot that day.



Content management system, a software application that is used to organize and manage the creation of digital content such as video. Examples: WordPress, Joomla, Wix, Squarespace.



Another name for programmers, the developer uses Authorware to create a custom sequence of text, images, video, and audio to execute the plans laid out in the Instructional Designer’s storyboard, script, or planning document. An Instructional Designer may also serve as the Developer for projects.



Manages the production crew and provides guidance in the physical filming and editing to execute a specific vision for the video.


Director of Photography (DP, Cinematographer)

Works with the Director and Producer to direct the recording of the visual imagery; often operates the camera.



Uses software to assemble the project assets (video, audio, images, music) in a sequence that matches the script and visual storyboard plan.



Moves/sets up production equipment and makes sure the set is electrically safe.



Acronym for Hypertext Markup Language version 5. This is the eLearning standard as of 2020. It is a computer code that describes the structure and presentation of web pages to a browser like Chrome, FireFox, Edge/Explorer or Safari.


Home Video

The opposite of professional video. Home video is made informally, spontaneously, with the intention to document and share with family and friends. Home video is made without the phases of video production. Informal, amateur, and homemade are other names for home video.


Informal Video 

Creating a video without process or professional knowledge of the phases of learning video production and without the conscious decision to make video that delivers on the promise of video for learning. Informal video is also referred to as homemade or home video.


Instructional Design

The process of designing, developing, and delivering learning products. A learning product is a video, online course, instruction manual, job aid, webinar, tutorial, simulation, or game.


Instructional Designer (ID)

A writer tasked with planning, creating, and often deploying an eLearning course. The ID works closely with the leaders of a project to identify gaps in performance, skills, knowledge, information, and attitude. Using current instructional theory, the ID creates a learning experience that will close the identified gaps. This includes laying out plans to structure content and delivery methods.



Acronym for Learning Management System. A platform that enables the development, deployment, and measurement of eLearning course content.


Location Scouting

Physically visiting a place to determine if it is suitable for the recording of video or photos. Various factors determine suitability, access to electricity, audio levels, privacy, and aesthetics.



The process of translating and reformatting learning videos and online courses for use in another region or country. Translating the words on-screen and spoken words is the primary function of localization. However, proper localization also includes altering iconography and imagery so that local audiences comprehend the intended meaning.



Another name for mobile learning. Accessing learning or training content via a mobile device such as a cellular phone, tablet or laptop. In 2020 mLearning is rapidly growing in popularity because it provides the learner with the ability to learn wherever and whenever they want.


Makeup Artist

Works with actor, director, producer, to apply makeup to on-camera talent. They are tasked with helping the on-camera person look camera-ready and adjusting the look as the day progresses.



Small, bite-sized, chunks of training or instruction that are less than 10 minutes in length.


Motion Graphics Editor

Performs the duties of a video editor and adds graphic design and visual effects to a video.



Video combined with text, graphics, imagery, and audio. Multimedia is a term that grew in popularity as personal computing found its way into home and work. Prior to multimedia, media was singular in its creation and delivery. Video was film. Audio was radio. Text was printed in newspapers and magazines. The Personal Computer, PC, changed single media to multimedia.



Assembling the recorded assets (audio, video, images, animations) into a viable training video. During this phase, an editor places the files into a sequence that makes sense logically. By adding transitions and text, the editor turns the assets into a video that will improve knowledge, skills, and/or behavior. The final sequence should match all of the plans you made during the design and pre-production phases (or come pretty close).



Pre-production is a sophisticated way to refer to any task you complete before you press “record.” Everything you do in pre-production will be tied in some way to supporting the creative brief you wrote during the previous phase. This includes scriptwriting, visual storyboarding, and preparing a production schedule (also known as a call sheet)



Manages the video project by communicating with the client and the production team. On lean projects, the Producer may also serve as Director and Project Manager, too.


All of the work that results in the physical creation of project assets is production.



Another name for a developer, the programmer uses Authorware to create a custom sequence of text, images, video, and audio to execute the plans laid out in the Instructional Designer’s storyboard, script, or planning document. An Instructional Designer may also serve as the Programmer for projects.



Acronym for Return On Investment. It refers to the cost of making a video for learning (investment) and the value or returns accrued after implementing the learning video.



Creates the script for a video. This includes writing dialog, concise targeted language for an audience, and clear screen directions for the production crew.



Acronym for Subject Matter Expert. A person who is considered to be highly knowledgeable in their field. A learning video project’s success depends upon effective communication between the SME and the production team.



Uses verbal and non-verbal communication techniques to effectively convey a designed message on camera.



The adjectival derivative used to denote the language of people who write “storyboards” for a living. Terms like “scene number” and “text on screen” are common. For example, “If you look at scene number 4 in module 2, I’d like to change the text on screen so that it aligns with our learning objective. Right now, it’s too vague!”



Video and audio that is downloaded to a device as a continuous stream of data. Used to define a way of watching entertainment such as Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO GO. Also, used as a term to describe video streams on live-action platforms like Twitch where multiple people are connected to an open video feed of a personality (streamer) as they talk over a video game.


Teleprompter Operator

Transcribes or enters the script into a teleprompter and then prompts the actor to read from it.



Operates the camera, responsible for moving and setting up camera equipment.



Off-screen narration provided by a voiceover artist, voice talent, or an actor. It is called a voice “over” because the audio recording can be heard “over” the visual imagery. Voiceover or narrated audio is placed on a timeline in a video or eLearning course along with a timed sequence of images to create a multi-sensory experience for the viewer.


Voiceover Artist

Reads scripts with appropriate tone, inflection, and pronunciation to effectively convey the desired message.



A conference conducted over the internet featuring interactivity in real-time. As a form of video, the webinar uses audio and visuals to communicate a message. Typically, a webinar is presented to an audience live and in real-time, but they can be pre-recorded and delivered by a presenter who answers questions in real-time or interjects within the recordings to give the appearance of a live performance.


Web-Based Training 

Digital instruction presented over the internet. Also referred to as CBT, Computer-Based Training.



Acronym for Application Programming Interface. AKA: Experience API, xAPI, Tin Can). A communication protocol that allows various hardware and software to share data easily. In the learning space, SCORM has been the standard for delivering training since 1999. xAPI is quickly growing in popularity largely because it can track virtually any activity the learner performs whereas SCORM is more limited.



To create video for learning, we must master the discipline. Mastery begins with knowledge. This glossary of learning video terms contains the knowledge that you can apply to your instructional design video projects. Results are limited only by your creativity when designing learning videos that will improve knowledge, skills, and/or behaviors.

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