Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Some Thoughts on Terminology

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Aug 12, 1997

Posted to DEOS-L on 12 Aug 1997

From: Lawrence Tagrin One thing that has struck me ever since the early days of CBT has been the use of the word "based" in the description (CBT/WBT/IBT). This implies, to many, that the training is based upon the computer/web/internet, when actually the training SHOULD be based on the needs of the learner. I propose that we try to change the emphasis to WDT/IDT which stands for Web Delivered Training or Internet Delivered Training. In my discussions with clients and prospective students I find much more acceptance of the internet as a delivery vehicle than as the foundation upon which training is to be "based."

You are equivocating on two meanings of the word 'based':

  1. 'base' = physical platform upon which something rests
  2. 'base' = logical foundations for a belief system


  1. Computer communications is based on a TCP-IP network
  2. Descartes's rationalism is based on his theory of mind

Thus, we have:

  1. Computer-based training, ie., training which is delivered using a computer platform
  2. Student-based learning, ie., a philosophy of learning in which the needs of the student form the foundation for subsequent pedagogical principles.

I don't think there's any need to change the terminology. Distance learning can be both student-based and computer-based, with no fear of contradiction.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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