Precise words are important to the meaning of the ideas being expressed. It is interesting that we use the words, “learning and development” to describe the training or learning activities in the majority of organisations. The definitions of these words are quite different, though.
Noun: the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, practice, study or being taught. Knowledge acquired in this way.
Synonyms: knowledge – scholarship-erudition-science-lore
Noun: The process of developing or being developed or a specified state of growth or advancement.
Synonyms: growth, evolution, progress, expansion
My experience with organisations is that the focus is typically on “learning” with minimal activities in the “development” area. It is understandable. Certainly, knowledge-based activities have always been easier to deliver and track even before the advent of Learning Management Systems. Whereas, development activities have always been more challenging to define, more challenging to develop and definitely more challenging to track even with the use of Learning Management Systems.
The greater challenge in tracking development activities with Learning Management Systems is probably because the realm of development is conceptually somewhere between learning activities and activities within the management of performance. And not all Learning Management Systems include performance management features like DOTS so the tracking of “development” within a system is not as mature as tracking “learning”.
Delivering true development programs via a Learning Management Systems (when it includes performance management features) is also an emerging area because there isn’t a lot of “development content” that is readily available as off-the-shelf content. Whereas, there is a plethora of knowledge-based courses and content where knowledge is delivered and assessed. Development courses that provide employees to document development performed in on-the-job activities are rare. And creating development courses or content from scratch would be a daunting and expensive exercise.
With our new development courses, you have a complete capability framework to help the transition from “learning” into “development” in the workplace. The combination of short instructional videos followed by downloadable step by step on-the-job Implementation Guides helps employees put into practice the instruction they just completed and provides the structure for documented (in an LMS) coaching and mentoring sessions.
Keep an eye out for our Development Best Practices Webinar, coming soon in March 2013.