All About Training and Development (Learning and Development)

Sections of this topic

    Much of the information on this topic is adapted from the books Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision in Business
    and Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision for Nonprofit Staff.

    Training and development — or “learning and development” 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

    What is Learning? Training? Development?
    Reasons and Benefits Regarding T&D
    How Adults Learn – Principles and Theories
    Roles of Management and Learners in T&D

    Different Types of T&D Designs and Activities

    Different Designs
    Numerous Types of Activities
    Recent Movements in Organizational T&D

    Preparation for Developing T&D Programs

    Systematic Designs of T&D
    Guidelines to Design T&D Program
    Examples of Programs in the Workplace
    Suggestions to Enrich the Activities of Learning
    and Development

    Design Your T&D Program

    Assessments: What Need to Learn?
    Designs: How to Learn It?
    Development: What Resources Needed?
    Implementation: Conduct Training
    Evaluation: Desired Results Achieved?

    Business of T&D

    Various Practitioners in T&D
    Starting a Training Business

    Resources for Teachers and Trainers

    General Resources
    Library’s Blogs Related to Training and Development

    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 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.
    Library’s Career
    Management Blog

    Library’s Human Resources

    Library’s Leadership Blog
    Library’s Supervision

    Training and Development Blog


    What is Learning? Training?

    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 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
    into 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, 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

    Here are more definitions of terms in T&D.
    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.
    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.
    of — and Myths About — Adult Learning

    Theories of Learning

    When designing training, 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.
    of Learning Theories

    of Learning and Development
    Educational Learning Theories
    Learning Theories for Mobile Learning

    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.
    of Learning Styles
    Guide to Understanding and Adapting To Different Learning Styles
    Learning Styles Controversy – Arguments For and Against

    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.
    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.
    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.
    of Chief Learning Officers

    Types of T&D Designs and Activities

    Different Types of Design

    There are different, major forms of designs for training and development activities.
    We’re most familiar with formal and other-directed forms of learning and development
    that include 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
    Training and Development

    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.)
    Learning Organization
    Knowledge Management


    Systematic Designs of T&D

    Instructional system design (ISD) is the activity to ensure that the design
    of training is very successful in achieving the goals of the training. One of
    the most common ISD model 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.
    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 explain 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.
    of Various Formal Training Processes

    New Employees (New Hires, On-Boarding)


    It might help to broaden your understanding of how learning and development
    are 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. The development includes
    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.
    Board Development




    Team Development

    Sales Training
    Solutions for the “Dumbest Management Concepts of All Time”

    Suggestions to Enrich the Activities
    of Learning and Development

    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

    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.
    Needs Assessment and Analysis: Identifying Training Goals
    for Conducting Needs Assessment

    Purpose of Training Assessment and Analysis

    Approach — Four Steps to Conducting a Needs Assessment

    Approach to Needs Assessment to Determine Your Overall Training Goals

    Resources for Training Needs Assessment and Analysis

    Also, see
    Business Research Methods
    Action Plans and Alignment

    Phase 2 — Design: How Do You Want to Learn

    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.
    Training Plans and Learning Objectives
    for Designing Your Training Plan

    Your Learning Objectives

    Your Learning Objectives for Relevance, Alignment, Sequence, and Testability

    Training Rooms (Classrooms)

    Information About Designing Training

    Ideas for Ways to Learn (including distance and online learning)

    Also, see
    of Technology in Training: Pros and Cons
    Beginners Guide to Massive
    Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

    Management Systems

    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.
    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.
    Resources 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.
    Training Activities and Materials
    for Developing Your Training Activities and Materials

    Considerations to Develop Your Training Activities and Materials

    Consideration — Selecting a Trainer

    Possible Types of Training Activities

    Resources to Develop Your Training Activities and Materials

    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.
    Training: Conducting the Training with Learners
    for Implementing Your Training Plan

    Considerations During Implementation

    Advice for Any Trainer

    Resources to Guide Implementation of Your Training Plan

    Also, see
    All About
    Group and Team Facilitation
    How to Know When to Facilitate, Train, or Coach
    to Improve Your Communications Skills

    Tips and
    Tools for Trainers and Teachers
    to Do Public Speaking and Presentations

    Phase 5 — Evaluation: Accomplish Desired

    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, an 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.
    Training and Results (ROI of Training)
    for Evaluating Training Activities and Results

    on Evaluating Training

    for Evaluating Training

    Approach to Calculate Return on Investment (ROI) of Training

    Resources to Guide Evaluation of Your Training

    Also, see
    Activities in Organizations


    Various Types of Practitioners in Learning and Development

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


    Performance Technologists

    Human Resource

    of the Field of Organization Development

    Education for Learning and Development and Social Change


    Trainers (Corporate
    Trainers) (includes guidelines about training)

    Do You Need An Instructional Design Degree?
    Best Performance Enhancer

    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 evaluation
    from other trainers and participants in your training.
    How to Start a Training Business

    General Resources

    Online Resources for Training and Development
    Online Educational Directories
    Free Training

    For the Category of Training and Development:

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    Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

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