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Here are some terms you may encounter when working with Adapt and e-learning.

Adapt is an open source software project. "Adapt Learning" is also used to refer to the same. "Adapt" is sometimes used to refer in a general way to the organization and/or community that produces the software.
Adapt is the software that produces e-learning courses. Depending on context it might refer to the framework, to the authoring tool, or to both.
Adapt is the authoring tool which uses the Adapt framework to produce e-learning courses.
Adapt is the name of a significant JavaScript object found in the framework source code.

The Adapt framework is software that produces e-learning courses. It uses standard web technologies such as JavaScript, HTML, CSS, JSON, grunt, Backbone, Handlebars, React, and Less. It is licensed under GPLv3.

The Adapt framework can be manipulated from the command line or within a development environment to create e-learning. It does not have a user interface.

The framework is the engine of the Adapt authoring tool.

authoring tool

The authoring tool is web browser-based application that produces e-learning courses. It provides a user interface that makes the Adapt framework accessible to persons with widely ranging technical skills. It serves the same general purposes of other commercial authoring tools.

The authoring tool is a Node application intended to be used by learning teams. It uses MongoDB as its database. It is housed on GitHub and can be downloaded at no cost.


Custom made.


Screen width measurements used in responsive design to trigger certain CSS styles. Adapt supplies the following breakpoint defaults
0px: Start of small, e.g. mobile phones
720px: Start of medium, e.g. tablet devices
960px: Start of large, e.g. laptop/desktop computers
1280px: Start of xlarge, e.g. hd laptop/desktop computers


A discrete unit of e-learning. The word is borrowed from academia and so carries connotations of learning that is evaluated with assessments. Frequently used with imprecision, it may refer to the content of a SCO or to an e-learning project under development—whether knowledge/performance is assessed or not. See module.


A category applied to an element that will be abandoned in a future release. The element may be supported in the near term to ease transitions; but users must be ready for support to discontinue without further notice.


Document Object Model. From MDN Web Docs:
"The Document Object Model (DOM) is the data representation of the objects that comprise the structure and content of a document on the web...A web page is a document that can be either displayed in the browser window or as the HTML source. In both cases, it is the same document but the Document Object Model (DOM) representation allows it to be manipulated."


IDE stands for "integrated development environment." Think of it as a text editor on steroids. Most developers work on code using an IDE. IDEs facilitate development with features such as code hightlighting, formatting, and completion. IDEs try to make it easy to organize code and to debug it.

IDEs popular with Adapt developers include Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, and WebStorm.


JSON stands for "JavaScript Object Notation." It is usually pronounced jay-sahn, not like the personal name Jason. JSON is a human-readable format. Adapt uses JSON in code files to represent text content and configuration values. Learn more about JSON with Mozilla's "Working with JSON."


Less is a CSS preprocessor used by the Adapt framework. Learn more and how to use it at https://lesscss.org. A CSS preprocessor brings the convenience of a programming language to CSS. During build/compile, standard CSS is generated from the Less files.


"minified" describes code that has been processed to greatly reduce the file size through different techniques such as removing unnecessary white spaces and syntax notation and human-readable variable names. Files that have been minified are commonly denoted by a min.js name extension.


A discrete unit of e-learning. Virtually synonymous with course in industry jargon.


A plugin is a self-contained software module that is intended to be used in a broader application. The Accordion component is an example. It is a self-contained module intended to be used with the Adapt framework and authoring tool. The Accordion cannot be used outside of Adaot, but the framework and authoring tool can function without the Accordion. The Accordion plugin only needs to be installed when it will be included in a course.

Adapt uses plugins extensively in order to facilitate customization. Common categories of plugins are themes, menus, components, and extensions. As Adapt continues to develop, more of its code is being reorganized as plugins.


Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) is a set of standards for communicating various states of completion of an e-learning course to a learning management system (LMS) for reporting. For a quick introduction, watch Rustici's "SCORM in 60 Seconds" on YouTube.

SCORM package

"SCORM package" is one of several ways to refer to the actual SCORM compliant [zipped] course that gets loaded into a delivery platform such as a learning management system (LMS). Other names include "SCO" and "package interchange file" or "PIF".


"SCO" (Shareable Content Object) is one of several ways to refer to the actual SCORM compliant [zipped] course that gets loaded into a delivery platform such as a learning management system (LMS). Other names include "SCORM package" and "package interchange file" or "PIF".

VS Code

"VS Code" is a shortened form of the name "Visual Studio Code," a Microsoft integrated development environment.