Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition

see emancipation; freedom; negative liberty; positive liberty

lifelong learning

the process by which people beyond the age of compulsory education continue to engage in learning in a variety of settings and formats.

Likert scale

a scale commonly used in questionnaires which measures the degree to which people agree or disagree with a statement. It usually has a 5-point scale but other configurations also exist. It is named after the US psychologist Rensis Likert (1903-1981).


a psychological term for the experience of transition where one is on the threshold of a new experience or environment and encounters some uncertainty disorientation and a loss of identity.

linguistic codes

see restricted code elaborated code


the ability to read and write. The judgement as to what level of competence constitutes 'literacy' varies over time and across cultures. Increasingly the term 'literacies' is used to stress the range of skills involved and the different media contexts such as audio-visual and electronic.

literature search

the process of identifying sources such as books and journal articles related to a topic under study.

local (education) authorities

the controlling or administrative body for state education at local government level.

locus of control

a term from psychology for the explanations individuals use to explain behaviour or performance. An external view attributes control to forces beyond the individual's control whereas an internal explanation puts more emphasis on the individual's own agency.

logical positivism

a philosophical position which holds that statements are only meaningful if they can be empirically verified or if they can be verified by logical analysis. It dates from the 1930s but was dogged by the problem that it was not clear that its own principles could pass its own test for meaningfulness.

longitudinal study

research which studies the same items/people over a period of time. This type of study is common in educational psychology aimed at tracking development or change over time.

lower order questioning

questions which demand little of the learner beyond factual recall. They are principally designed to test knowledge rather than higher order questioning which can have a role in creating or expanding knowledge.

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