1839, originally "arrangement of a building, etc., to face east or any other specified direction," noun of action from orient (v.). Sense of "action of determining one's bearings" is from 1868. Meaning "introduction to a situation" is from 1942.
orientation o·ri·en·ta·tion (ôr'ē-ěn-tā'shən, -ən-)
The act of orienting or the state of being oriented.
Location or position relative to the points of the compass.
The relative position of one atom with respect to another to which it is connected.
Introductory instruction concerning a new situation.
Awareness of the objective world in relation to one's self.