Today’s Learning Jargon Explained: What You Need to Know Now

Debbie Wooldridge
Posted: July 11, 2017

Let me tell you a story of when my lack of knowledge on learning jargon led me astray. You may have experienced a similar did-that-really-just-happen moment in your early days of training. Well, the world evolves and so does our learning lingo. Joy! In an effort to help keep both your and my own foot out of mouth, I’ve created a fun game to give you a crash course on today’s learning jargon.

But first, let me set the scene…

My Learning Jargon Faux Pas

I had just landed my first solo instructional design contract. Yippeee!! I was excited, and just a little bit nervous, truth be told! I thought at times, “When are they going to find out that I have no idea what I’m doing?” Raise your hand if you’ve been there! ????

Doubts aside, I had received quite a bit of documentation from the client to read and prepare for my first call with the business partner. I started feeling better; I thought, “I’ve got this!”


Included in the documentation was an invaluable nugget providing an overview of the system and the processes that would need updating due to a system change. This information was going to help guide me in determining what to include in the training content. Perfect!

Well, almost perfect. Throughout the documentation, I kept running across this acronym: BAU. B-A-U? What was that? One of the systems? Was it a process? Was it a role? I desperately tried to figure out what this meant based on how it appeared in various sentences, such as, “routing for customer data is BAU.” But I was completely baffled. No worries — I had a client call coming up and felt confident that if I simply listened closely and maybe asked a carefully phrased question, I could determine what it meant without being too obvious! Haha, how clever was I?

Sadly, I was totally over-confident. The clients on the call did mention BAU many times throughout the meeting, but everyone else seemed to understand exactly what it meant and there was no easy or casual way for me to uncover the meaning.

So, I decided I had no option but to admit I wasn’t familiar with this term. There was a moment of absolute silence, then a single voice responded, “business as usual.”


DUH! Okay — that was embarrassing. But hey, I thought it was some company-specific thing!

I’ll never forget that moment; I’m blushing just recalling this story! Ever since, I’ve been hypersensitive to the fact that all industries use acronyms and jargon, including ours! In fact, I think learning and development might be the most jargon-filled line of work that I’ve encountered. And, while some of the acronyms and jargon have been around forever, there are new terms created daily! Sighhhh…

Learning Terms You Need to Know

But don’t worry, Innovator! To help you avoid that embarrassingly-obvious-to-everyone-but-you moment, I’ve created a helpful flashcard game to bring you up to speed on some of the jargon and acronyms being used in the world of training today. You can even download a printable copy of the terms and definitions as a quick reference! ✨


This game is perfect for:

  • Industry newbies
  • Learning professionals who need a refresher
  • Anyone who wants to step up their learning lingo

I hope you’ll enjoy this gaming experience! On that note —

Using Quizlet in Your Training

Quizlet is a great FREE resource to add to your learning tool kit. One of my favorite features (other than it is free to use) learners can choose the way they want to interact with the tool. Personalized learning? Yes, please! Your learners can pick the way they want to learn the terms by selecting Flashcard mode, Learn mode, or Spell mode. They can then “test their knowledge.” Finally, to add even more game-based fun, they can pit their expanding knowledge against a matching game or experience an interactive Asteroids-like game (Gravity mode)!


This tool has a lot of great potential applications, especially in new hire programs where there is so much new jargon to learn!! Why not try it yourself?  See if you can come up with your own engaging Quizlet in your next instructional design project! I’d love to hear your ideas; feel free to share them below!

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