Learning, Training, and Human Performance Glossary

Words beginning with the letter “S” are listed below. For words starting with a different letter, use the below table:

S T U V W X Y Z Acronyms


A metaphor which describes the support offered by trainers and educators in assisting learners to achieve learning outcomes. It is characterized by the explicit training of skills and knowledge targeting specific individuals, small groups or, where appropriate, whole classes. Prior knowledge of the subject matter or the learning environment can help the learners regulate by providing a ready scaffold (stepping stone or learning aid) for new knowledge, or by making the learning environment easier to use so it doesn't displace the subject matter as the object of study.


1) In learning psychology, the way in which a human processes, store and "recreates" information coming into the brain. 2) A mental model of a person, object or situation. Schema includes cognitive maps (mental representations of familiar parts of one's world), images, concept schema (categories of objects, events, or ideas with common properties), event scripts (schema about familiar sequences of events or activities) and mental models (clusters of relationships between objects or processes).


Acronym for Sharable Content Object Reference Model. It is a collection of standards and specifications for e-learning that defines how learning content communicates with the learning platform. SCORM is a specification of the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative.

segmented training

Modification of existing formal courses into discrete portions.

self-paced learning

Learning initiated and directed by the learner. The term is used by some organizations now to include computer-based, web-based and multimedia training. an example is the Personalized System of Instruction (PSI).

self teaching package

Self instructional study units sent to the learner's location.


Arranging the teaching points, teaching steps, and criterion steps into the most appropriate order for effective learning.

sequential training

The ordering of training so that the learning of new or more complex skills/knowledge is built on and reinforces previously learned material. For example, learning the controls of a piece of equipment, and then learning how to operate it.


The process of gradually changing a learner's performance until it conforms to the desired performance.


A representation or imitation of reality. An instructional strategy used to teach problem solving, procedures, or operations by immersing learners in situations resembling reality. The learners actions can be analyzed, feedback about specific errors provided, and performance can be scored. They provide safe environments for users to practice real-world skills. They can be especially important in situations where real errors would be too dangerous or too expensive.

sitting with Nellie

A form of training where the learner observes an expert (model) performing the tasks. A part of Social Learning Theory.


The ability to perform a psychomotor activity that contributes to the effective performance of a task.

small group instruction (SGI)

A means of delivering training by placeing the responsibility for learning on the students through participation in small groups. The students are led by group leaders who serve as role models throughout the course. SGI uses small group processes, methods, and techniques to stimulate learning.

small group leader (SGL)

An instructor who facilitates role modeling, counseling, coaching, learning, and team building in Small Group Instruction (SGI).

small group trial

Tryout of a training course on a representative sample of the student target population to gather data on the effectiveness of instruction in regard to error rates, criterion test performance, and time to complete the course. Also called “trialing” or “tryout”.

Social Learning

A process of learning caused or favored by people being situated in a common environment and observing one another. This allows the learners to not only perceive each other for comparison and self-evaluation, but also see others as a neutral source of information, which may help or speed several forms of instrumental learning. Not to be confused with Social Learning Theory.

Social Media

Communication tools that allows users to create, modify, and/or distribute content. And rather than being a broadcast model for one-to-many, such as a typical web page, social media are more of a many-to-many model that allows a conversational format for people to create, share, and remix information. Includes such tools as blogs, microblogs (e.g., Twitter and Yammer), file sharing (e.g., Flickr and SlideShare), Virtual Meeting Places, (e.g., Adobe Connect and Elluminate), social sites (e.g. Facebook and MySpace) and wikis.

soft skills

As opposed to hard skills. Whereas hard skills are are well defined in terms of actions to be taken and expected outcomes, soft skills are normally related to Emotional Intelligence that are not well defined. Sometimes called business skills, they are more related to competencies rather than skills, such as leadership, networking, or listening.


Describes the criterion or standards of performance that must be attained. An established norm against which measurements are compared. The time allowed to perform a task including the quality and quantity of work to be produced.


The part of a test item that asks a question.


Anything that provokes behavior. The event, situation, condition, signal, or cue to which a response must be made.

stimulus discrimination

The correct response to a multiple choice situation

stimulus instruction

The part of a discrimination-type situation that tells the learner how to work the exercise, or the stem to a discrimination type exercise.


A series of diagrams or pictures which support the action and content that will be contained in an audiovisual sequence.

student controlled instruction

An instructional environment in which the student can choose from a variety of instructional options for achievement of the terminal objectives. Students can vary their rate of learning, the media used, and other such learning factors. Also called "learner controlled instruction".

student population baseline data

Information about the current level of performance of the student population that can be used to confirm the need to develop new instruction or to assess differences between student performance before (at baseline) and after instruction. Also called “baseline data”.

subject matter expert (SME)

A person who can perform a job or a selected group of tasks to standards. Her experience and knowledge of the job designates her as a technical expert. She must know what is critical to the performance of the task and what is nice-to-know. She must have recent job experience, otherwise, her knowledge of the task may be outdated by new procedures or equipment.


Methodology developed by Georgi Lozanov. Sometimes called Super Learning or Accelerated Learning. In broad terms, it is a research based technology and an philosophy that uses learners' holistic natural talents to provide them the highest probability of maximizing their learning, retention, and performance. It is supposed to create a stress-free, positive, joyful, psychologically and physically healthy environment that enhances self-esteem and focuses on the needs of the learner.

synchronous learning

Places the learners and instructors in the same time, although they may be in different places, such as face-to-face learning or virtual learning. This differs from asynchronous learning, in which the students' learning takes place at the time they choose, thus it does not include real-time instructor guidance.

system approach to training (SAT)

Another term for Instructional Systems Design (ISD).
S T U V W X Y Z Acronyms