I recently started working for a new company (in a different sector) and can't believe how many three letter acronyms there are for new employees to get to know. Has anyone in the group got experience of implementing a low cost and easy to use technology that would host an acronyms database? In addition to having a pre loaded A-Z of terms we would ideally like employees to be able to add new ones directly which would be self moderated.

Thanks in advance for your ideas!


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Hi Nigel, 

What sort of learning systems do you have in place there already? Do you have access to a Moodle, Blackboard or one of the other commercial LMSs? What about Microsoft SharePoint?

What you are describing sounds like a perfect example of where a Wiki would help. This allows you to set up the initial list of acronyms and start explaining what they mean, then leave it in the hands of your colleagues (perhaps with some occasional, but regular moderation and maintenance of your list - this is usually pretty important.)

Almost all LMSs include a wiki function. Alternatively you can set up your own, either by using the Media Wiki software on your own servers, or by using one of the cloud-based solutions. Here are a few I've used in the past:

https://www.wikispaces.com/(my personal favourite)

http://www.pbworks.com/wikis.html (used to be good. Has changed a lot, don't know what it's like now.)

Hope this helps a little. Please excuse me if I'm teaching the proverbial granny to suck eggs. I'll check back and see your answers later. I can give you more help if we know what you've got/where you're at so far.

Best wishes,

Seth Dickens 

Thanks Seth for the detailed reply. This is really useful. Nigel

As per Nigels suggestion, I did similar using open source wiki software called DocuWiki



cheers Lee, very helpful. How many hours work do you think it would take someone with average office IT skills to create such a database?

I'm just starting to do this too - I'm using a wiki. It's a feature in our LMS (provided by Learning Pool) which we haven't really exploited yet.

Thanks Kirsten, do employees need to sign into access the acronym database?

If possible use whatever systems you already have (let us know what you have - someone here is bound to have relevant experience!)

I'd suggest keeping it out of the LMS if you can. If you want people to refer to this regularly and build on it, keep it as close to the work as possible. 


Thanks Barry for your suggestion it makes real sense. We are using a Totara LMS.

Hi Nigel,

I have used wiki functionality (in my case from SharePoint) to solve this acronym problem. You can allow all employees to edit, or restrict to specific groups.

A note on moderation though, based on my experience. While you can expect employees to contribute and grow the wiki in a mostly self-moderated fashion, I would plan on some scheduled maintenance work anyway: in addition to unintentional errors such as duplicate entries and lack of overall vision (for example for cross-references or related acronyms) the initial page distribution and structure may not scale well over time. Both will require at least some supervision.

On the other hand, a well populated and actively maintained wiki will allow you to tackle the problem of acronyms for new employees in onboarding programs in a more interactive, fun way.

Thanks Antonio, we do have a corporate intranet using Sharepoint so this is definitely on my short list to consider using. Your point about building in some planned maintenance is really good advice, thank you for that.


Hi Nigel, I'll be interested to hear how you get on and if you manage to achieve this in SharePoint. We've also attempted to do a glossary of terms however only in a discussion area so far. So, this needs to be put into a format that is easier to use. We're using easyshare and are just looking at further functionality to plan on introducing throughout the year.

Your Totara LMS is Moodle based and so there is a glossary tool within Moodle which I assume could be implemented in Totara if not there already. However, as Barry mentioned above it might well be best to sit nearer to the business and so within the intranet environment rather than your LMS.

Totara does indeed implement the Moodle glossary activity, so well worth having a look at that.



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