Pedagogical vocabulary

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Pedagogical vocabularies refer to the languages used to describe learning designs and activities.

Sarah Currier et al. (2005) in a JISC Report, define vocabularies that may be used to describe pedagogy, particularly in the sense of the practices of teaching, which are inherently and dialogically related to the practices of learning. The rational for this sub-project was that “The e-Learning and Pedagogy strand of the JISC e-Learning Programme in particular has highlighted the fact that educational practitioners and learning technologists perceive a real and pressing need for pedagogical vocabularies.”. In particular it was pointed out, that clear vocabularies could help with:

  • Application and tool development
  • Personalisation of content, tools, teaching and learning environments and knowledge and resource management strategies
  • Articulation, i.e. help teachers and learning technologists to reflect on their practice and discuss it in coherent terms.
  • Help cross-domain communication between developers, learning technologists, educational developers, practitioners and learners.
  • Be useful for resource description and discovery, e.g. learning object repositories
  • Conceptual modelling of the learning design domain.

See also: educational modeling language, design pattern and educational design language. These entries partly look at the same issue under a different perspective.

Controlled vocabularies

“A controlled vocabulary is a vocabulary consisting of a “prescribed list of terms or headings each one having an assigned meaning.”1 The way a controlled vocabulary defines the relationships between these terms or headings will vary in degree of complexity according to the purpose of the vocabulary, from simple alphabetically arranged flat lists to ontologies with richly defined relationships.” (Currier et al., 2005:9)

See controlled vocabulary for more details.


In this wiki, we present quite a lot of simple pedagogical vocabularies in various forms. Often, taxonomies are organized in a way that they could be called conceptual model.



  • Currier Sarah, Lorna M. Campbell, Helen Beetham (2005). Pedagogical Vocabularies Review, JISC Pedagogical Vocabularies Project, Final Draft, 23rd December 2005 Pedagogical vocabularies project
  • Falconer, Isobel, Gráinne Conole, Ann Jeffery, and Peter Douglas (2006). Learning Activity Reference Model – Pedagogy, LADIE reference model guides, The e-learning framework. word doc -archive (broken)
  • Garshol, Lars Marius (2004). Metadata? Thesauri? Taxonomies? Topic Maps! Making sense of it all. Journal of Information Science, 30 (4), pp. 378-391. HTML Preprint.
  • Reitz, Joan M. (2004). Dictionary for Library and Information Science, Libraries Unlimited, ISBN 1591580757.