Learning Media Glossary (Clive Shephard)

Note: You may download the entries for this glossary here. If you wish to use this in your own Moodle course, first make a blank glossary and then follow the instructions for importing glossary entries here.

Clive states: "This glossary contains definitions of 47 different types of learning media, past and present. It may well be useful for teacher training."

Browse the glossary using this index

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16mm film

A now obsolete medium for the delivery of educational films, replaced firstly by videocassettes and now DVDs.


35mm slides

A medium for projection of high quality still images, typically for speaker support, although also capable of synchronisation with a soundtrack. Now almost obsolete, superceded by the projection of images directly from a computer.


Audio cassette

A device for recording and playing back analogue audio. Playable from hand-held devices, stand-alone players, hi-fis and car stereos. Now largely superceded by CD Audio and digital computer files.



A reusable writing and drawing surface used by teachers in the classroom. Words and diagrams can be prepared in advance of a class or written/drawn in response to real-time classroom activities.


A blog (shortened form of web log) is an online journal. In a learning context, a blog can be used by learners as a way to reflect on their learning experiences. Depending on how the blog is configured, the postings may be available to be read by fellow learners and/or tutors, who can then add their own comments to any posting. A blog may also be maintained by a tutor, to provide an ongoing commentary, reflecting on events occuring during a course.



CD-Audio is a device for playing back digital audio tracks. A CD-Audio disc can contain up to 99 tracks with a maximum total duration of about 72 minutes. Can be played back from a hi-fi, a car stereo or a computer's CD-ROM drive. In a learning context, CD-Audio has one simple purpose - to play back audio, in particular speech or music.


A specialised form of CD-ROM developed by Philips as a means for delivery of interactive multimedia material, including games and educational programmes. Launched in the early 90s, CD-I never took off on a widescale basis and has been discontinued.


CD-ROM is a read-only digital data storage medium that can contain any types of computer file, just like a standard computer hard disk. In a learning context, CD-ROMs are typically used to store interactive self-study materials and multimedia files. Maximum capacity is about 720K.

Chat room

Chat rooms provide synchronous communication capabilities for large numbers of users within the context of a web site. Most Internet chat rooms are open to all comers, but in the context of a virtual learning environment (VLE) or learning management system (LMS), access is usually restricted.

Dialogue in chat rooms is usually restricted to text and sometimes emoticons (little pictures representing different emotions).

Chat sessions can be usefully employed in online, distance learning courses to allow for real-time group collaboration.


DVD Video

DVD Video is a device for playing back high quality digital video along with its accompanying soundtrack. DVDs have much greater capacity than standard CDs, which makes it possible for entire feature films to be contained on single discs. Interactive capabilities make it possible for users to access segments of content by selecting from on-screen menus. In a learning context, DVD Video is likely to be used as a simple video playback medium, but could also be configured as an interactive device.

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