“The professor flipped the classroom to provide blended learning using rotation and face-to-face driver methods for advanced self-paced learning, with scaffolding to provide a more personalized approach than a MOOC.”

Huh? The lingo of student education is changing dramatically. The meaning of ‘going to class’ depends on the approach to learning—and teaching.

That’s why we’ve started a glossary to explain some of the more confusing education jargon used to describe modern teaching techniques and lesson planning. Master these terms and dazzle your colleagues with your jaw-dropping, up-to-date vocabulary.


Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework for flexible learning, meant to accommodate different learning styles (otherwise known as learning modalities). UDL principles provide a blueprint for curriculum development, including goals, methods and materials—but this blueprint isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, it’s one that can be customized for the individual needs of students.


This approach is often used when teaching new concepts and skills; the teacher uses instructional techniques such as modeling or demonstrating, and then steps back to allow students to try on their own. The idea is to provide greater independence in the learning process, offering support as needed.


A massive open online course (MOOC) is aimed at open, unlimited participation, and typically includes recorded lectures and interactive user forums. There are two subcategories of MOOCs. xMOOCs, or, extended MOOCs, are based on a more traditional university course structure with recorded lectures and self-testing. cMOOCs aim to connect students for a more collaborative approach to learning; the ‘c’ stands for ‘connectivist.’

Flipped Classroom

This teaching model flips the traditional learning environment—typical classroom lecture followed by homework—so students watch instructional content (including recorded lectures) on their own time before class, while in-class time is devoted to ‘homework,’ such as projects, discussions and group work.

Blended Learning

Sometimes referred to as hybrid learning, blended learning combines self-paced learning with online content and traditional classroom instruction. It requires the presence of both teacher and student, and includes traditional face-to-face instruction.

Blended learning comes in several different flavors. Some of the most important ones:

Self-Blended Learning

In this approach, students opt to take online courses on their own to supplement traditional classroom instruction. This allows students to read further than what is offered at their post-secondary institution.

Rotation Teaching

A highly structured version of blended learning, where students rotate between learning modalities on a fixed schedule or at the teacher’s discretion. These different kinds of teaching could include traditional classroom instruction and self-paced online learning, as well as individual tutoring, small group instruction and group projects.

Flexible Learning

This teaching method primarily involves online instruction, supplemented by on-site support through tutoring or small groups. As the name suggests, it’s designed to increase flexibility in time and location of study, as well as assessment and certification, within the formal education process.

Face-to-Face Driver

Online instruction is decided on a case-by-case basis by the instructor as a supplement to the curriculum. Only certain students participate—typically those who are either struggling or working above their grade level—so they can progress at their own pace.

Online Driver

Opposite to the face-to-face driver is the online driver, a form of blended learning where the course is delivered via an online platform and students work remotely. Face-to-face check-ins with the instructor are optional; however, students can also chat with the instructor online if they have questions.

Bookmark this, as we’ll be adding to it in the next few weeks and months.

Learn more about how to implement new teaching models in our free active learning handbook.

Related pages

Learn more about what collaborative learning is

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