Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition

learning on-line or by e-mail.


an activity designed to encourage active engagement by learners in an online environment. It will typically involve some kind of interaction/co-operation.The term was coined by the Australian academic Gilly Salmon.

early education

this term refers to the educational experiences of young children and may include learning experienced in family settings and through informal activities as well as that through planned provision.

early intervention

a term which also occurs in medical discourse referring to a process of assessment and support afforded to (disadvantaged) young children to aid cognitive social and emotional development so that their progression is more in line with their peers

early years

a period of childhood which dependent on the context and understanding used may range from pre-birth to around the age of 8

ecological validity

in a research study the extent to which the findings can be generalised beyond the particular environment and conditions of the original study.

economic rationalism

in its relevance for education a theory that holds that tailoring the school system to meet the perceived needs of the business world will result in economic growth.


a complex term which refers to the process whether planned or not formal or not by which humans develop in ways deemed to be socially acceptable in terms of their knowledge understanding skills attitudes and judgements. State schooling is aimed at providing education but it may be developed elsewhere or even in spite of schooling as some critics suggest. It is certainly the case that some aspects of schooling might not be considered educational and also certainly the case that not all education is provided by schooling.

educational psychology

a branch of psychology dealing with effective educational techniques and with psychological problems experienced in schools.

educational technology

the identification  development  organisation or utilisation of educational resources. It is commonly used in a more limited sense to describe the use of ICT equipment-orientedtechniques or audiovisual aids in educational settings.


used of approaches to assessment which focus on authentic tasks and acknowledge cognitive complexity. Unlike psychometric approaches which emphasise differences between learners on the normal curve edumetric approaches focus on individual learning on within-individual growth.


the state of being successful in producing or achieving desired aims or results. It is a contested term in education because aims in education are the subject of debate and so what is effective from one perspective may not be from another.


the state or quality of achieving aims with minimum waste or cost being well-organised or competent.


a belief in human equality and the desirability of political economic and social equality


the self. In psychoanalysis it is the conscious part of the psyche that mediates between the person and the outside world (see id superego).

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