Training & Development For Dummies
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Is it soup yet? Alphabet, that is. If you associate with training types, you may at times think they are speaking in a foreign tongue. Perhaps it is time to introduce a few of the acronyms and technical terms you hear in the training field:

  • Active training: An approach that ensures participants are actively involved in the learning process.

  • ADDIE: This is the classic model of a training design process. The acronym is formed by the steps in the process: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation.

  • Andragogy: A term developed in Europe to describe the art and science of adult learning. Malcolm Knowles is sometimes incorrectly credited with coining the word. He actually introduced and promoted it through his work and writing. Typically refers to adults' capacity to direct and motivate their learning, utilize past experience and knowledge, and evaluate the relevance of training content to their personal needs.

  • Assessment: Refers to a questionnaire, exam, test, or other evaluation process.

  • Asynchronous training/learning: Typically a self-paced, online tutorial that doesn't require the trainer and learner to participate at the same time; could also be a self-paced learning module using worksheets or books.

  • Audiovisuals: Any medium used to deliver information that enhances the presentation through auditory and/or visual means, for example, PowerPoint presentations, video clips, flipcharts, recordings; frequently abbreviated as AV.

  • Blended learning: The practice of using several mediums in one curriculum. Typically refers to a combination of classroom and self-paced computer training.

  • Bloom's Taxonomy: A hierarchical ordering of learning outcomes developed by Benjamin Bloom and a university committee. The three learning outcomes cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (attitude) are frequently referred to as the KSAs.

  • Breakout groups: Private meetings where participants have discussions and collaborate on tasks. In an in-person classroom, it may occur in separate physical rooms or different places in the classroom. In a virtual classroom, the facilitator creates a breakout as a whiteboard or chat.

  • CBT: Computer Based Training, a generic term for any learning delivered via a computer.

  • Chunking: Separating learning information into small sections to improve learner comprehension and retention.

  • Cognitive neuroscience: Also called brain research, the science of how people learn.

  • CPLP: (Certified Professional in Learning and Performance): The professional credential offered by the ATD Certification Institute.

  • Criterion referenced instruction: A system of training developed by Bob Mager where the results are measured by the learner's ability to meet specified performance objectives (criterion) upon completion.

  • Delivery method: The way training is provided to learners — for example, virtual classroom, videoconference, CD-ROM, audio tape, classroom.

  • Design: The formulation of a plan or outline for training.

  • Development: The stage of creating a training program in which the materials are created and training methods are finalized.

  • E-Learning: Inclusive set of electronic computer delivery methods of every kind.

  • Evaluation: The final step in The Training Cycle used to measure results.

  • Experiential learning: Occurs when learners participate in activities, identify useful knowledge/skills, and transfer learning to the workplace.

  • Facilitate: Interchangeable with training, maximizing guidance and support of the learner.

  • Flipped classroom. A form of blended learning when new content is learned independently first and is followed by interaction with a trainer.

  • Gamification: Applying the essence of games to real-world scenarios.

  • Icebreaker: An activity conducted at the beginning of a training program that introduces participants to each other, may introduce content, and in general helps participants ease into the program.

  • ILT: An acronym that trainers toss about in every discussion. It stands for Instructor-Led Training.

  • Informal learning: Gaining knowledge or skills outside a structured ­program, such as reading, peer feedback, discussion, and on-the-job observation.

  • ISD: Instructional Systems Design, a process used to analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate training. Hey, isn't that the ADDIE model? It is also The Training Cycle, discussed in this chapter.

  • Job aid: A tool to provide on-the-job direction for a specific task; may be in paper, tablet, laptop, or mobile device format.

  • KSA: Knowledge, skills, attitude — the three learning categories based on Bloom's Taxonomy.

  • Learning objective: A clear, measurable statement of behavior that a learner demonstrates when the training is considered a success.

  • SME: Subject Matter Expert, the most knowledgeable person regarding specific content for a training program; pronounced "smee."

  • Social learning: Occurs by interacting with others. It's usually informal and unconscious, but can be designed into a training event.

  • Soft skills: Term used to describe a type of nontechnical training, for example, communication, leadership, listening, stress management.

  • Task analysis: The process of identifying the specific steps to correctly perform a task.

  • Virtual classroom: An online learning space where learners and trainers interact.

  • WIIFM: Acronym for What's In It For Me? — to remind trainers to always ensure participants know how the learning benefits them.

About This Article

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Elaine Biech is president and managing principal of ebb associates inc, an organizational and leadership development firm that helps organizations work through large-scale change. Her 30 years in the training and consulting field include support to private industry, government, and non-profit organizations.

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