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PD Glossary A to L

Have you ever been listening to a presentation or reading an article, and then stumbled on a term you weren’t familiar with? The American Society of Training and Development has a great glossary to demystify professional development lingo for new and experienced PD professionals alike. There are too many terms to list here, and many terms merit their own blog post, but here are my A to L “nice to knows” so you can feel confident that you know what everyone else is talking about. Check back next week for M to Z.

Accreditation: A type of quality assurance process under which services and operations of an educational institution or program are evaluated by an external body to determine if applicable standards are met. (Missing from the ASTD list but important in my view.)

Active Learning: Active learning is learning in which learners play an active role in the process of learning instead of passively receiving information. (Add-on to the ASTD glossary.)

Asynchronous Learning: Learning in which interaction between instructors and students occurs intermittently with a time delay. Examples are self-paced courses taken via the Internet or CD-ROM, Q&A mentoring, online discussion groups, and email.

Benchmark: A standard of reference used for comparison.

Blended Learning: Learning events that combine aspects of online and face-to-face instruction.

Case study: A scenario used to illustrate the application of a learning concept. May be either factual or hypothetical.

Coaching: A process in which a more experienced person, the coach, provides a worker or workers with constructive advice and feedback with the goal of improving performance. (See also mentoring, which focuses on career development and advancement).

CoD (Content on demand): Delivery of an offering, packaged in a media format, anywhere, anytime via a network. Variants include audio on demand (AoD) and video on demand (VoD).

Collaborative Learning: An instructional method that emphasises students working together in small groups to complete a task or reach a common goal; in some cases students may be responsible for each other’s learning. (Again, missing from the ASTD glossary but important in my view).

Cost-benefit analysis: Method of analyzing competing business alternatives based on comparing total costs to total benefits. A proper cost-benefit analysis takes into account all benefits, including productivity, savings, and motivation, and weighs them against all costs, including expenditures, overheads, and lost opportunities.

Delivery: Any method of transferring content to learners, including instructor-led training, web-based training, CD-ROM, books, and more.

Distance education: Educational situation in which the instructor and students are separated by time, location, or both. Education or training courses are delivered to remote locations via synchronous or asynchronous means of instruction, including written correspondence, text, graphics, audio- and videotape, CD-ROM, online learning, audio- and videoconferencing, interactive TV, and FAX. Distance education does not preclude the use of the traditional classroom. The definition of distance education is broader than and entails the definition of e-learning.

E-learning (electronic learning): Term covering a wide set of applications and processes, such as web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration. It includes the delivery of content via Internet, intranet/extranet (LAN/WAN), audio- and videotape, satellite broadcast, interactive TV, CD-ROM, and more.

Evaluation: Any systematic method for gathering information about the impact and effectiveness of a learning offering. Results of the measurements can be used to improve the offering, determine whether the learning objectives have been achieved, and assess the value of the offering to the organization.

F2F (face-to-face): Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment.

ILT (instructor-led training): Usually refers to traditional classroom training, in which an instructor teaches a course to a room of learners. The term is used synonymously with on-site training and classroom training (c-learning).

IT (information technology): The industry or discipline involving the collection, dissemination, and management of data, typically through the use of computers.

Knowledge management: The process of capturing, organizing, and storing information and experiences of workers and groups within an organization and making it available to others. By collecting those artifacts in a central or distributed electronic environment (often in a database called a knowledge base), KM aims to help a company gain competitive advantage.

Learning: A cognitive and/or physical process in which a person assimilates information and temporarily or permanently acquires or improves skills, knowledge, behaviors, and/or attitudes.

Learning environment: The physical or virtual setting in which learning takes place.

Learning objective: A statement establishing a measurable behavioral outcome, used as an advanced organizer to indicate how the learner’s acquisition of skills and knowledge is being measured.


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