Essentials of Learning and Development Training

Sections of this topic

    Maximizing Potential: All About Training and Development

    Training and development — or “learning and development training” as many refer to it now — is one of the most important aspects of our lives and our work. In our culture, we highly value learning. Yet, despite our having attended many years of schooling, many of us have no idea how to design an approach to training and development. This topic in the Library provides an extensive range of information about training and development, including depicting how the many aspects of training and development relate to each other. Also, this topic explains how training and development can be used, informally or formally, to meet the nature and needs of the learner.

    Sections of This Topic Include

    Introduction to Training and Development

    Different Types of T&D Designs and Activities

    Preparation for Developing T&D Programs

    Design Your T&D Program

    Business of T&D

    Resources for Teachers and Trainers

    Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to Training and Development

    In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to Training Services and Development. Scan down the blog’s page to see various posts. Also see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the sidebar of the blog or click on “next” near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.


    What is Learning? Training? Development?

    It’s amazing how so many of us go through so many years of schooling, but have such little understanding of T&D. Before reading about the many aspects of T&D in this topic in the Library, it’s best to start with a basic understanding of T&D is and how to best benefit from it.


    Traditionally, learning is viewed as new knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA). Knowledge is gleaned by organizing information. Typically, information evolves to knowledge by the learner’s gaining context, perspective and scope about the information. Skills are applying knowledge in an effective and efficient manner to get something done. One notices skills in an employee by their behaviors. Abilities result from applying the skills to the extent that the applications become natural or intuitive to do. Some professionals view learning as enhancing one’s capacity to perform.

    It’s important to note that learning is more than collecting information — more than collecting unreferenced books on a shelf. Ideally, the skills are applied to the most appropriate tasks and practices in the organization, thereby producing performance — results needed by the organization. Here’s another perspective.


    This term is often interpreted as the activity when an expert and learner work together to effectively transfer useful information from the expert to the learner (to enhance a learner’s knowledge, skills and abilities) so the learner can better perform a current task or job. A trainer might use a variety of methods to enhance a learner’s learning, including other- or self-directed, and formal or informal. Here’s another perspective.


    This term is often viewed as a broad, ongoing multi-faceted set of activities (training activities among them) to bring someone or an organization up to another threshold of performance. This development often includes a wide variety of methods, e.g., orienting about a role, training in a wide variety of areas,
    ongoing training on the job, coaching, mentoring and forms of self-development. Some view development as a life-long goal and experience. Here’s another perspective.

    Here are more definitions of terms in T&D.
    Employment Training and Development: Reasons and Benefits

    Reasons and Benefits Regarding T&D

    We often think that the biggest benefit of learning is that we get a diploma or credential. As we get wiser, we realize there are so many more benefits than that. Knowing the benefits will help motivate you to design your own training plans and programs, and to motivate others to participate as well. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits is the appreciation that you can be learning all the time, even if you are not in a formal training program.
    Employment Training and Development: Reasons and Benefits

    How Adults Learn – Principles and Theories

    Principles of Adult Learning

    If you will be doing training and development with yourself (and almost every adult will be at some time in their lives) or with others, you should know the differences between training children and teens versus training adults. Adults have very different natures and needs in training.
    Principles of — and Myths About — Adult Learning

    Theories of Learning

    When designing trainings, it helps to consider the influences that might be causing the learning to occur. That’s where theories of learning can be useful. A theory is a set of highly integrated ideas meant to explain how something works. Thus, a theory of learning is meant to explain how a person or group attains new knowledge, skills and abilities.

    Learning Styles

    Research suggests that each person has a style of learning that best suits their nature. Educators and parents are encouraged to learn the style of their students and children and to adapt their educational activities to the nature of the learner.

    Roles of Managers and Learners in T&D

    A person or group will not learn unless they want to learn, regardless of how well the training was planned and how well the trainers do their jobs.
    Role of Learners in Training and Development

    Although the learning is primarily up to the learners to accomplish, the role of management is critical in the support and continuation of learning. That includes executives, managers and supervisors.
    Role of Management in Learning and Development

    In larger organizations with sufficient resources to operate a carefully designed and managed T&D program, it is useful to have a Chief Learning Officer.
    Role of Chief Learning Officers

    Different Types of T&D Designs and Activities

    Different Types of Designs

    There are different, major forms of designs of training and development activities. We’re most familiar with formal and other-directed forms of learning and development that include the strong attention to the systematic structure and evaluation of the learning and development, especially as used in schooling. That is somewhat ironic because the most common forms are informal and self-directed — they occur without strong attention to a systematic design and evaluation and without many experts guiding us through those experiences.
    Ways to Look at Training and Development Processes: Informal/Formal and Self-Directed/Other-Directed

    Numerous Types of Activities

    There are many approaches to learning and development and many types of activities that can be undertaken to learn. An awareness of these other types will broaden your possibilities for intentional learning and for designing training for yourself and others.
    Numerous Ideas for Learning Activities

    Recent Movements in Organizational T&D

    The field (or many would argue, the profession) of training and development has undergone dramatic improvements, especially with the inclusion of computer-and Web-based technologies. We’re also expanding the concept of learning beyond the learning of individuals — we’re thinking that groups and organizations can learn, too.

    (Although the topics of the learning organization and knowledge management are fairly recent and still popular, many people would disagree that they’re actually learning and development programs — those people might assert that they’re actually forms of organizational performance management. However, the two topics still seem to be so broad and changing, that they’re referred to here as movements.)


    Systematic Designs of T&D

    Instructional system design (ISD) is the activities to ensure that the design of training is very successful in achieving the goals of the training. One of the most common ISD models is ADDIE, which is an acronym for assessment, design, development, implementation and evaluation — you can discern from the acronym that ADDIES is a systematic design of training.
    Formal Training Processes — Instructional Systems Design (ISD) and ADDIE

    Guidelines to Design T&D Programs

    Formal approaches to learning and development often have the highest likelihood of transfer of training. A formal approach to learning and development usually follows a systematic and consistent framework. Systematic means that the framework is designed to guide learners to achieve an overall set of goals — goals to address a need or situation, then associates objectives and activities to achieve those overall goals, and evaluates the activities and results to be sure the goals were achieved.
    Guidelines to Design T&D Programs

    Examples of T&D Programs in the Workplace

    Before this Library topic goes on to explaining how to design and develop training programs, it’s useful to get a quick impression of various types of training programs. A training program is an intentionally designed, (hopefully) highly integrated set of activities that are aligned to accomplish a certain set of results among learners. Many of us might not be used to thinking of the following as programs in the workplace, but they are.

    It might help to broaden your understanding of how learning and development is applied in life and organizations by considering various forms of development. Development is often referred to as the activities to raise the performance of a person, team, process or organization to another level. Development include a wide variety of forms of learning and development. The following links are to a wide variety of forms of development in people and organizations.

    Suggestions to Enrich T&D Activities

    Now we’ll tie the many guidelines together into a set of suggestions that will be useful, especially when undergoing or designing training programs for yourself and others. The second link is to a guide you could consider when designing a training program.
    Suggestions to Enrich Learning Any Training and Development Plans


    Phase 1 — Assessment: What Do You Need to Learn?

    What overall results or outcomes should be accomplished by learners? Those outcomes usually are identified from the results of assessments, or measurements, of what a person or workplace needs to accomplish in order to achieve some desired level of performance. An outcome might be the ability to perform a complex job.

    Also see

    Phase 2 — Design: How Do You Want to Learn It?

    Phase 2 — Design: How Do You Want to Learn It?

    What learning objectives must be accomplished by learners in order to achieve the overall outcomes, and what activities must be undertaken by trainers and learners to accomplish those objectives? The integration of the overall outcomes, objectives and activities and also how they will be evaluated comprise the design of the learning and development program. Learning objectives often are described in terms of new learning — new knowledge, skills and competencies.

    Also see

    How to Design Transfer of Training — Training That Sticks

    One of the biggest concerns of trainers — and those paying for training — is whether the learners will indeed understand and apply the new information and materials from the learning and development activities, that is, whether the new information and materials will transfer to the learners. The following link is to many resources with guidelines to increase the likelihood of transfer of training.
    How to Ensure Transfer of Training — How to Reinforce Learning

    Phase 3 — Development: What Resources Do You Need?

    Now it’s important to get even more clear on what resources must be obtained and developed in order to undertake the activities to achieve the objectives. Resource might include certain expertise, facilities and technologies. Development might include several trainers and learners reviewing the design of the training to ensure it meets their nature and needs.

    Phase 4 — Implementation: Conduct the Training

    Now you’re ready to have trainers and learners participate in the program, to undertake the activities and evaluations of learning. Implementation often results in refining the original design of the training program.

    Also see

    Phase 5 — Evaluation: Were Desired Results Achieved?

    As trainers and learners participate in the program, evaluation should occur of the quality of the activities and the extent of achievement of the objectives. After the program, evaluation should occur to assess the extent of achievement of the overall goals of the program. Evaluation might focus on short-term, intermediate and long-term outcomes.

    Also see
    Evaluation Activities in Organizations


    Various Types of Practitioners in Learning and Development

    The following links are to numerous types of positions that often have official
    responsibility for various forms of learning and development.

    Starting a Training Business

    This topic assumes that you already have some expertise in training and are thinking about starting a business to be a professional trainer. The guidelines in this topic are focused on helping you to start a new organization, expand a current organization, or start a new service. If you do not yet have expertise in training, you should review much of the contents of the topic Training and Development, and then certainly practice training in a variety of venues, including with evaluation from other trainers and participants in your trainings.
    How to Start a Training Business

    General Resources and Various Perspectives

    General Resources

    Various Perspectives

    For the Category of Training and Development:

    To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

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