Talent Development Glossary Terms
Section Map

Talent Development Glossary Terms

This easy-to use quick reference guide provides essential trainer's terms, along with many need-to-know expressions for learning professionals.

All definitions are research-based, expert-vetted, and come from the Talent Development Body of Knowledge.


360-degree feedback evaluation is based on opinions and recommendations from superiors, direct reports, peers, and internal and external customers on how a person performs in any number of behavioral areas.


ADDIE is an instructional systems design model. It is composed of five phases:
Analysis is the process of gathering data to identify specific needs—the who, what, where, when, and why of the design process.
Design is the planning stage.
Development is the phase in which training materials and content are selected and developed based on learning objectives.
Implementation occurs when the course is delivered, whether in person or electronically.
Evaluation is the ongoing process of developing and improving instructional materials based on feedback received during and after implementation.

Adult Learning Theory is a term that encompasses the collective theories and principles of how adults learn and acquire knowledge. Popularized by Malcolm Knowles, adult learning theory provides the foundation that training and development professionals need to meet workplace learning needs.

Affective Learning is the acquisition of knowledge based on Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy in which he identified three learning domains: cognitive (knowledge), affective (attitude), and psychomotor (skills). This taxonomy or classification of the processes of thinking and learning provides the framework for the creation of instructional strategies, materials, and activities used to improve individual workplace learning and performance. Affective refers to the learners’ outlook or mindset.

Analysis is the breaking up and examining of parts of a whole. In workplace learning and performance, analysis is the process of determining the following:
Gap, which identifies the discrepancy between the desired and actual knowledge, skills, and performance, and specifies root causes.
Job, which identifies learners’ workplace duties and responsibilities, and tasks done on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.
Needs is the process of collecting and synthesizing data to identify how training can help an organization reach its goals.
Task is the process of identifying the specific steps that need to be taken to correctly perform a job function.

Andragogy (from the Greek meaning adult learning) is the method and practice of teaching adults. It was advanced by Malcolm Knowles, whose theory outlines five key principles of adult learning: self-concept, prior experience, readiness to learn, orientation to learning, and motivation to learn.

AOEs (Areas of Expertise) are the specific technical and professional skills and knowledge mastery areas for success in the WLP profession.

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) Theory is an approach to large-scale organizational change that involves the analysis of positive and successful (rather than negative or failing) operations. The AI four-D cycle (discovery, dream, design, destiny) includes identifying problems, analyzing causes, searching for solutions, and developing an action plan.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is typically defined as the ability of a machine to simulate human cognitive processes, such as perceiving, reasoning, learning, interacting with the environment, problem solving, and creativity.

Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) is a certification for talent development professionals who are in the early part of their careers or whose professional roles and aspirations are focused on a few areas of expertise. The capabilities included in the APTD are the basics of talent development that professionals can use every day, no matter the level within an organization or company. It may be a destination for some or a stepping stone to the CPTD for others.

Asynchronous Learning is when the trainer and the learner do not participate simultaneously in time or location; for example, asynchronous e-learning.

Authoring Tools are software programs that allow a content expert to interact with a computer in everyday language to develop courseware.


Balanced Scorecard Approach is a strategic planning and management system for measuring and tracking an organization's performance through four perspectives: the customer, learning and growth (or innovation), internal business processes, and financial.

Behavioral Career Counseling is a scientifically precise approach to career decision making that leverages concepts from psychology.

Behaviorism is a learning theory focused on observable and measurable behavior. It is usually associated with psychologist B.F. Skinner, who predicted that animal and human behavior occurs through conditioning, which is the reinforcement of desired responses.

Benchmarking is a measure of quality by comparing business process metrics to standard measurements or the best industry measures. The purposes of benchmarking are to compare and analyze to similar items to learn how other organizations achieve performance levels and to use this information to make improvements.

Blended Learning is the practice of using several media in one curriculum. It refers to the combination of formal and informal learning events, such as classroom instruction, online resources, and on-the-job coaching.

Bloom's Taxonomy developed by Benjamin Bloom, is a hierarchical model used to classify learning into three outcomes or domains—cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (attitude)—referred to as KSAs. The domain categories use verbs to define behavior in a hierarchical relationship that becomes progressively more complex and difficult to achieve. The taxonomy is useful for writing learning objectives.

Business Insight is the understanding of key factors affecting a business, such as its current situation, influences from its industry or market, and factors influencing growth. It also includes understanding how an organization accomplishes its mission or purpose, makes and spends money, and makes decisions, as well as the internal processes and structures of how work gets done.


Career Advising is professional guidance for making vocation and occupation decisions. It may include outlining required development options.

Career Development is a planned process of interaction between an organization and an individual that allows the employee to grow within the organization.

Case Study is a learning method in which a real or fictitious situation is presented for analysis and problem solving.

Certification is a process for increasing technical competencies through studies, testing, and practical application while also working toward a recognized designation.

Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) is a professional certification for TD professionals with at least five years of experience. It is broad and measures a professional’s knowledge and skill application across the breadth of talent development capabilities.

Change Agent is any person or group responsible for initiating or implementing organizational change. It is also a person who understands organizational and personal change dynamics and seeks to affect a different condition in an organization.

Change Management is the process for enabling change within an organization by using structured approaches to shift individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a future state. It is considered an organizational capability in ATD’s Capability Model.

Chief Learning Officer (CLO) oversees organizational learning in a corporation. The role came about in the late 1980s to align corporate learning strategy and people development with business goals. Since then, it has helped to make organizational learning a key player in the success of an organization.

Chief Talent Development Officer represents the talent development function at the executive level of an organization. Known in some organizations as chief learning officer, this role reports directly to the CEO.

Cloud Computing is a model for enabling shared network access of computing resources. It is a concept still in the early stages of development, and its definition and potential effects are still evolving. It is the driver of an important shift in information technology, one that will affect everyone who uses computing and telecommunications technology.

Coach is a qualified professional who partners with individuals or teams to maximize their potential through a process that involves establishing goals, using strengths, pursuing development, and achieving results.

Coaching is a widely used term with multiple definitions. The International Coach Federation defines coaching as "a professional partnership between a qualified coach and an individual or team that supports the achievement of extraordinary results, based on goals set by the individual or team. Through the process of coaching, individuals focus on the skills and actions needed to successfully produce their personally relevant results.” It is not counseling, mentoring, training, or giving advice. Coaching may also be used on the job, when a more experienced person, often a supervisor, provides constructive advice and feedback to develop or improve an employee’s performance.

Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through the five senses, thought, and experience. The word dates back to the 15th century, meaning thinking and awareness.

Collaboration is behavior in which two or more individuals work together toward a common goal with equal opportunity to participate, communicate, and be involved. During conflict it is when both parties work together to develop a win-win solution.

Collaborative Learning is an instructional approach in which two or more learners work together to discover, learn, solve problems, and share information either in person or online. It may be used by facilitators to encourage engagement and involvement.

Communication requires active listening, facilitating dialogue, and the ability to express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly, concisely, and compellingly.

Communication’s 6 Cs are the six basic attributes required for sending a message or sharing information:

· clear—choosing audience-appropriate words that are precise and descriptive

· correct—selecting words that ensure accuracy and using correct grammar; avoiding misusing words

· complete—articulating comprehensive messages that include all the details

· concise—choosing short specific sentences and phrases; avoiding rambling

· coherent—maintaining consistency, selecting simple sentence structures, and presenting in an easy to follow order

· courteous—using words that are respectful, friendly, positive, gender-neutral, and sensitive; avoiding accusing or blaming.

Community of Practice (CoP) is a group of people who have a common interest in an area of competence and share the experiences of their practice.

Competency-Based Learning is an instructional approach that focuses on individual skills or outcomes, known as competencies (usually defined in a competency dictionary created from an occupational analysis of the skills required for successful performance). The approach is focused on individual learners who work on one competency at a time, with the ability to skip a learning module if they can demonstrate a mastery of the skills contained within it. It’s applied most often to skills-based learning.

Compliance is an action that is mandated by a law, agency, or policy outside the organization’s purview. It is generally accompanied by a training program requirement.

Computer-based training (CBT) is any course of learning that encompasses the use of computers in both instruction and management of the teaching and learning process. There is no single definition because many other terms are included under the CBT umbrella, including computer-aided instruction, computer-managed instruction, and computer-based instruction.

Confidence interval is the defined range within which a set of values are expected to be.

Conflict management is the ability to limit the negative aspects and increase the positive aspects of disagreements, battles, and differing opinions and desires.

Constructivism is a learning theory that states that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world through their experiences and reflecting on them. Swiss developmental psychologist Jean Piaget was a key proponent of constructivism suggesting that learners construct knowledge from assimilation and accommodation.

Consulting is the short-term, internal or external defined process for solving problems and helping individuals, groups, or organizations move from a current state to a desired state.

Content management system (CMS) is a computer software system that supports the creation, organization, and modification of digital documents and other content by multiple users for an organization's web content or digital assets.

Creative thinking is a way of looking at problems or situations from a fresh perspective that suggests unorthodox solutions. Creative thinking can be stimulated by an unstructured process such as brainstorming and by a structured process such as lateral thinking.

Criterion-referenced is a kind of test or assessment that measures learners’ performance against a specific set of predetermined criteria or standards.

Critical path method (CPM) is a chart that is similar to a program evaluation review technique (PERT) chart. A CPM chart indicates the critical path, which is the path of tasks that together take the longest time to complete.

Critical thinking is a form of analysis that helps evaluate an issue to form a judgment that is logical and well thought out. It does not accept all arguments and conclusions on face value. Rather, it requires viewing the evidence that is involved to support an argument or conclusion. The skills that comprise critical thinking include analytical thinking, open-mindedness, problem solving, and decision making.

Crowdsourcing is a term referring to the ability of many to accomplish what has been traditionally accomplished by a smaller, more specialized group. The attraction of crowdsourcing is the idea that it calls to action people who are best able to solve problems, channel creativity, and do smart work.

Culture represents the collective assessment of an organization based upon deeper, relatively enduring, often unconscious values, norms, and assumptions.

Cultural Awareness and Inclusion refer to the ability to convey respect for different perspectives, backgrounds, customs, abilities, and behavior norms, as well as ensure all employees are respected and involved by leveraging their capabilities, insights, and ideas.


Data and Analytics are key drivers for organization performance and should be drivers for talent development.

Data collection is the act of gathering of all facts, figures, statistics, and other information for analyses and assessments; examples of data-collection methods or tools include questionnaires, interviews, and observations.

Define, measure, analyze, improve, and control (DMAIC) methodology is a five-step data-driven improvement process used for reduction of defects, process improvement, and customer satisfaction. It is the core tool used to lead Six Sigma projects.

DEI stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Delivery is any method of transferring content to learners, including instructor-led training, virtual training, CD-ROMs, and books.

Design thinking is a human-centered process that provides a means for defining problems from multiple perspectives, brainstorming possible solutions, prototyping those solutions, and then testing and iterating to optimize the best approach. It focuses on the spot where business needs, user needs, and technology or environmental constraints meet.

Development is the acquisition of knowledge, skill, or attitude that prepares people for new directions or responsibilities. It may also refer to the third phase in ADDIE, in which training materials and content are selected and developed based on learning objectives.

Discovery learning is a specific learning process in which participants encounter a problem in an activity, respond to the problem, identify useful knowledge or skills gained, debrief what was learned, and plan for transferring what they learned. This process is also known as experiential learning or experiential learning activity. See also Experiential Learning Activity (ELA).

Distance learning is an educational delivery in which the instructor and students are separated by time, location, or both. Distance learning can be synchronous or asynchronous.

Diversity is the presence of differences that may include, but are not limited to, race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, language, physical or mental ability, and age. Diversity may also include differences in political perspective, learning preferences, personality, and communications preferences.

Double-loop learning is changing underlying values and assumptions as decision making progresses. It is also referred to as reframing or changing the context.


Effect size is a way of quantifying the difference between two groups using standard deviation. For example, if one group (the treatment group) has had an experimental treatment and the other (the control group) has not, the effect size is a measure of the difference between the two groups.

Elaboration is a deliberate practice technique where learners put content into their own words and connect it with existing memories such as skills or knowledge they already have.

E-Learning (Electronic Learning) is a term covering a wide set of applications and processes such as web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration.

E-Learning Professional is an individual who serves in a range of roles that support the creation of structured courses or learning experiences delivered electronically, including online or computer-based learning, virtual classrooms, performance support materials, and digital collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to accurately identify and understand one's own emotional reactions and those of others. This eighth intelligence, based on Gardner's multiple intelligence theory, was popularized by Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence.

Empathy means recognizing emotional needs in others and effectively supporting them in the way that they require. It is the ability to view and understand other’s feelings, needs, and concerns, and is key to effective interpersonal relationships.

Employee experience, sometimes called the employee journey, is the perspective employees have about an organization that is influenced by their workspace, communication, work-life balance, interactions with their teams and supervisor, the technology and tools they use, and many other touchpoints of their jobs.

Employee training and development includes any activity that helps employees acquire new, or improve existing, knowledge or skills. Training is a formal process by which talent development professionals help individuals improve performance at work. Development is the acquisition of knowledge, skill, or attitude that prepares people for new directions or responsibilities.

Energizer is an activity designed to invigorate a group.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is business management software, typically a suite of integrated applications that an organization uses to collect, store, manage, and interpret data from all business activities and departments.

Equity promotes justice, impartiality, fairness, and equal access to opportunities, advancement, and participation. Equity addresses structural inequalities and barriers through fairness in procedures, processes, practices, and the distribution of resources. It differs from equality in that equality implies treating everyone as if their experiences and backgrounds are the same, whereas equity considers differences in people’s experiences and backgrounds in determining what fairness looks like.

Evaluation of training is a multi-level, systematic method for gathering information about the effectiveness and impact of training programs. 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 training to the organization.

Executive Coach provides a safe, structured, and trustworthy environment in which to offer support for senior managers or leaders within an organization.

Experiential learning is a specific learning process in which learners participate in an activity, review the activity, identify useful knowledge or skills that were gained, debrief what was learned, and transfer what was learned to the workplace. It is also known as discovery learning.


Facilitation refers to the trainer’s role in the learning process—helping learners acquire, retain, and apply knowledge and skills. May also be referred to as training delivery.

Feedback is advice or information from one person to another about how useful or successful an event, process, or action is. In coaching and all TD activities, learners receive feedback regarding their progress, which helps with learning retention and behavior change.

Formal learning is a planned learning program that derives from activities within a structured learning setting and includes instructor-led classroom, instructor-led online training, certification programs, workshops, and college courses. There is a curriculum, agenda, and objectives that occur within a pre-established timeframe.

Formative evaluation occurs throughout the design of any talent development solution. Its purpose is to improve the draft initiative and increase the likelihood that it will achieve its objectives. For example, in performance improvement the assessment measures the progress throughout the HPI model, such as a client’s expectations and whether the root cause has been identified.

Future Readiness refers to intellectual curiosity and constant scanning of the environment to stay abreast of forces shaping the business world, employees and their expectations, and the talent development profession and to handle the changes in how work is done in the years ahead.


Gagné's Nine Events of Instruction were developed by Robert Gagné, a pioneer in the field of instructional design. The nine events are meant to help ensure that learning occurs—from gaining attention and informing learners of the objective to assessing performance and enhancing retention and transfer.

Gamification is the application of typical elements of game playing (point scoring, competition, rules of play) to the design of development initiatives. It is used as either the optimal learning approach or as a technique to encourage engagement.

Gig Economy is the workforce environment where temporary, independent, and short-term engagements are routine.

Goal refers to an end state or condition toward which human effort is directed.

Group Dynamics refers to the interaction of individuals working or learning together and includes communication, goal-setting, decision making, providing leadership, and resolving conflict.

Groupthink is an unhealthy group decision-making behavior that occurs when all members of a group conform their thinking to the perceived consensus of the group.

Growth mindset is a concept developed by Carol Dweck in which people believe they are in control of their abilities and can learn, improve, and develop them.


Hackathon is an event that started in technology, where a large group of people with expertise from multiple professions gather to quickly create new software or hardware. The event has spread to other professions, occurring when large numbers of people gather for a day or more to collaborate in small groups to work on a project or create a new approach or venture.

Hard Data consists of objective quantitative measures that can be stated in terms of frequency, percentage, proportion, or time.

HR/OD Professional is a person who may serve in various roles aimed at optimizing talent and organizational processes or systems toward the achievement of business goals.

Human capital describes the collective knowledge, skills, competencies, and values of the people in an organization.


Icebreakers are activities conducted at the beginning of training programs that introduce participants to one another and may introduce content, to help participants ease into the program.

Inclusion is creating and fostering an environment in which everyone, including members of traditionally underrepresented or marginalized groups, feels respected, welcome, and that they belong.

Independent Consultant in the talent development profession helps teams and organizational leaders assess employee learning and performance gaps and recommends or creates solutions to address those gaps.

Individual development plan (IDP) is a plan for personal improvement in a current job or for job advancement. Content may be tied to performance data; however, a development discussion is usually held at a different time from a performance appraisal discussion.

ILT (Instructor-Led Training) usually refers to traditional classroom training, in which an instructor teaches a course to a room of learners.

Informal learning is what occurs outside a structured program, plan, or class. This type of learning occurs naturally through observations, trial and error, and talking and collaborating with others. It is usually spontaneous, and could include coaching, mentoring, stretch assignments, or rotational assignments. It can also include reading books and blog posts, watching online video platforms such as YouTube, listening to podcasts, searching the Internet, and retrieving other digital content.

Instructional Design,also known as instructional systems design or instructional systems development (ISD), is the practice of creating learning experiences to support learning. It is a systems approach to analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating any instructional experience based on the belief that training is most effective when it gives learners a clear statement of what they must be able to do after training and how their performance will be evaluated.

Instructional Designer is an individual who applies systematic methodologies rooted in adult learning principles and instructional theories and models to design and develop content, experiences, and other solutions that support the acquisition of new knowledge or skills. An instructional designer also creates mechanisms to assess the learning and evaluate its impact on the individual and the organization.

Instructional systems design or instructional systems development (ISD) is the practice of creating learning experiences. It is a systems approach to analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating any instructional experience based on the belief that training is most effective when it gives learners a clear statement of what they must be able to do as a result of training and how their performance will be evaluated.

Instrument is a Human Resource Development (HRD) device such as an assessment, checklist, inventory, questionnaire, survey, or test used to gather information.

Integration involves combining hardware, software (and, in e-learning, content) components together to work as an interoperable system. The process of integration may also include front-end planning and strategy.

Intellectual Property is an idea, invention, formula, literary work, presentation, or other knowledge asset owned by an organization or individual. Intellectual property can be protected by copyrights, patents, trademarks, or service marks.

Interleaving is a deliberate practice technique where topics within the instruction are alternated—so one is started before the other is completed. This technique weaves topics together and repeats them.

Intrapreneurial is a situation where an employee works internally but is expected to act using entrepreneurial attributes.


Job Aid is a tool that provides guidance about when and how to carry out tasks and steps. Job aids reduce the amount of recall needed and minimize error. They may take the form of checklists, video demonstrations, or audio instruction.


Kirkpatrick, Donald is considered the father of training evaluation, which he first postulated in the 1950s. He created the four levels of evaluation: reaction, behavior, results, and business impact.

Knowledge Management (KM) is a systematic approach to achieving organizational goals by creating, capturing, curating, sharing, and managing the organization’s knowledge to ensure the right information and knowledge flow to the right people at the right time.

Knowledge mapping is a process for identifying and connecting the location, ownership, value, and use of knowledge and expertise in an organization. Examples of knowledge maps include network charts, yellow pages of experts, or a matrix relating knowledge to key processes.

Knowles, Malcolm, is considered the father of adult learning theory. He defined six assumptions about adult learning and published The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species in 1973.


Learning Content Management System (LCMS) is software technology that provides a multi-user environment where developers, authors, instructional designers, and subject matter experts may create, store, reuse, manage, and deliver digital e-learning content from a central object repository. An LCMS focuses on the development, management, and publication of content that is typically delivered via a learning management system (LMS).

Leadership Development is any activity that increases an individual’s leadership ability or an organization’s leadership capability, including activities such as learning events, mentoring, coaching, self-study, job rotation, and special assignments to develop the knowledge and skills required to lead.

Learning and Development is a function within an organization that is responsible for empowering employees’ growth and developing their knowledge, skills, and capabilities to drive better business performance. The function may be organized centrally, either independently or sitting under human resources (HR); decentralized throughout different business units; or be a hybrid (sometimes referred to as federated) structure.

Learning Experience Platform (LXP) goes beyond a traditional LMS to provide personalized social and online learning opportunities.

Learning Management System (LMS) is software technology for delivering online courses or training to learners while performing learning management functions, such as creating course catalogs, keeping track of learners' progress and performance across all types of training, and generating reports. An LMS is not used to create course content; that work is performed using an LCMS.

Learning Sciences refers to the interdisciplinary research-based field that works to further the understanding of learning, learning innovation, and instructional methodologies.

Learning Technologist is an individual who manages and executes the technology infrastructure necessary to enable an organization’s talent development strategy.

Learning Modality is how information is received through the five senses: hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching.

Learning Objectives are clear, observable, measurable goal statements of behavior that a learner must demonstrate for training to be considered a success.

Lifelong Learning is the ongoing, self-motivated quest for knowledge to develop personally or professionally.


Machine learning incorporates algorithms that are composed of many technologies (including deep learning, neural networks, and natural language processing) that operate guided by lessons from existing information.

Metric is a number that is generated by a standardized procedure and method of calculation; a measurement could result from a different calculation or measuring technique each time.

Microlearning enhances learning and performance in the most efficient and effective manner possible through short pieces of content.

Mind-mapping is a creative, converging technique that organizes thoughts and ideas in branching subcategories around one central topic.

Mobile Learning is learning that takes place via wireless devices such as smart phones, tablets, or laptop computers.

Model is a representation of an idea, object, process, or phenomenon.

Modules, sometimes called lessons, are units of learning that provide content and practice based on predefined learning objectives. Each module contains objectives, information, task content, practice activities, and an assessment mechanism to determine whether the objectives were reached.

Multisensory learning engages the learner and increases retention by using different senses. When the brain receives information visually, it stores that content differently than if the information was heard or gained using the other senses. If more senses are involved in learning, more of the brain is involved in storing the information.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is an instrument that helps determine personality type based on preferences for extraversion or introversion, intuiting or sensing, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving. It’s often used in career development and team building.


Needs analysis is a systemic process of collecting and synthesizing data and information to determine the difference between the current condition and the desired future condition.

Needs assessment is a process for identifying and measuring the discrepancy between current conditions and desired conditions.

Neuroplasticity describes the brain’s ability to reorganize itself, both physically and functionally, due to environmental, behavioral, learning, and emotional influences.


Objective is a target or purpose that, when combined with other objectives, leads to a goal.

Observation occurs when participants are told to witness an event and be prepared to share their reflections, reactions, data, or insights. This also is a methodology for data collection.

OJT (On-the-Job Training), one of the oldest forms of training, is a delivery system that dispenses training to employees as they need it.

Onboarding is the process through which organizations equip new employees with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed at their jobs.

Organization Development (OD) is the process of developing an organization so that it’s more effective in achieving its business goals. OD uses planned initiatives to develop the systems, structures, and process in the organization to improve effectiveness.


Pedagogy is the art or practice of teaching that usually refers to children. Pedagogy focuses on the skills teachers use to impart knowledge and emphasizes the teacher’s role. It is contrasted with andragogy, the teaching of adults, which focuses on the learner who is assumed to be self-directed and motivated to learn. See also andragogy.)

Performance Management is the ongoing communication process between supervisors and employees to establish expectations that support accomplishing the organization’s strategic objectives, including clarifying expectations, setting objectives, providing feedback and coaching, and reviewing results.

Performance Improvement is a holistic and systematic approach to meeting organizational goals by identifying and closing human performance gaps.

Performance Support provides just enough information to complete a task when and where a performer needs it. The support is embedded within the natural workflow and is organized for use within a specific context, such as the location or role that requires completion.

Professor/Educator is responsible for teaching learners through an academic institution or course of study. This role encompasses those who work in primary education, secondary education, higher education, and executive academic education.

Project Management is the planning, organizing, directing, and controlling of resources for a finite period of time to complete specific goals and objectives.


Rapid Instructional Design (RID) is a flexible approach to the conventional ISD model that uses a collection of strategies to quickly produce instructional packages. RID strategies include incorporating existing material, using templates, and using subject matter experts efficiently.

Return on Investment (ROI) is a ratio of the benefit or profit received from a given investment to the cost of the investment itself; for example, it can be used to compare the monetary benefits of training programs with program costs. ROI is usually displayed as a percentage or cost-benefit ratio.

Retrieval Practice is a deliberate technique in which learners build retention by recalling the skill or knowledge directly from memory, rather than reading a text or watching a demonstration.

Retrieval, sometimes called recall, is how the brain accesses information that has been encoded and stored.


Sales Enablement supports a sales team in achieving its goals by providing it with the tools and resources it needs to win. It spans sales strategy, sales training, coaching, content creation, process improvement, sales career development, and sales compensation, among other areas.

Scope Creep is when work or deliverables are added to a project that were neither part of the project requirements nor added through a formal change process.

SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) defines a way of constructing learning management systems and courses so they can be shared with other compliant systems.

Self-directed learning (SDL) is when the learner determines the pace and timing of content delivery. It occurs through a variety of media (print products or electronically).

Simulation is a broad genre of experiences, including games for entertainment and immersive learning simulations for formal learning programs. Simulations use simulation elements to model and present situations; portraying actions and demonstrating how the actions affect relevant systems, and how those systems produce feedback and results.

Six-Sigma Methodology is a disciplined, data-driven approach for improving business processes; the goal is to improve output quality by identifying and eliminating causes for defects (driving toward six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest specification limit) in a process. The fundamental objective of the Six-Sigma methodology is the implementation of a measurement-based strategy that focuses on process improvement and variation reduction through the application of projects.

Subject Matter Expert (SME) is an individual who is recognized as having proficient knowledge and skills in a particular topic or subject area.

Social Learning occurs naturally when two or more people interact. Organizations are now beginning to use social media tools to enhance social learning and knowledge-sharing, resulting in more informed, effective workplace collaborations.

Strategic planning is the process an organization uses to identify its direction for the future. No single process exists, but it usually includes envisioning the future, defining goals and objectives, aligning structure and resources, and implementing the plan.

Succession Planning is the systematic process of identifying, evaluating, and developing personnel who have the potential to assume leadership or mission-critical positions upon the resignation, termination, transfer, promotion, or death of an incumbent.

Synchronous Training occurs when the facilitator and the learner participate in the training at the same time. It is most often used when discussing virtual training, which can be synchronous or asynchronous.


Talent Acquisition is a process for filling vacancies in a timely manner.

Talent Development (TD) refers to the efforts that foster learning and employee development to drive organizational performance, productivity, and results.

Talent Development Director/Executive is a person who leads and sets the strategy for a talent development unit within an organization. This unit may be comprised of multiple functional areas that have broad responsibility for developing talent in the workplace.

Talent Development Manager is a person who supervises and oversees the work of a group of people and processes responsible for fostering learning and employee development to drive organizational performance, productivity, and results. This individual may serve as a department of one in small organizations.

Talent Strategy and Management are the practices used to build an organization's culture, engagement, capability, and capacity through the implementation and integration of talent acquisition, employee development, retention, and deployment processes, ensuring these processes are aligned to organizational goals.

Taxonomy is a system of order that serves as the foundation for codifying knowledge. For example, a KM taxonomy focuses on enabling the efficient retrieval and sharing of knowledge, information, and data across an organization. It is built around work processes and knowledge needs in an intuitive structure.

Team building is a process for transforming an ineffective or dysfunctional group into an efficient, productive team through various experiential learning activities, including data review, interpersonal activities, exploring problems and challenges, and establishing action plans for change.

Technology Application refers to practitioners ability to identify opportunities to adapt and leverage the right technologies at the right time to meet organizational and people development goals.

Theory X is a theory of human motivation developed by Douglas McGregor in the 1960s. The theory assumes that employees are inherently lazy, dislike work, and will avoid it if they can. Belief in Theory X leads to a management philosophy of close supervision and tight control of employees.

Theory Y is a theory of human motivation developed by Douglas McGregor. In contrast to Theory X, Theory Y assumes that most employees are self-motivated, enjoy working, and will work to achieve goals to which they are committed. Belief in Theory Y leads to a management philosophy of trust that employees will take responsibility for their work and do not need constant supervision.

Train the Trainer is an initiative or training program to teach training and facilitation skills to those who are new to training or a subject matter experts (SMEs) who have been tasked to train others.

Trainer/ Facilitator is a trainer or facilitator who facilitates learning in a traditional or virtual classroom, one-on-one, or on-the-job in an organization to help individuals improve their performance.

Training/Talent Development Coordinator is a person who plans, administers, and implements learning programs, either developed internally or outsourced, that foster employee performance, development, and growth.

Training Delivery (and Facilitation) are means by which talent development professionals help individuals improve performance at work by learning new skills and knowledge.

Training Objective is a statement of what the instructor hopes to accomplish during the training session.

Training Transfer Evaluation is a process to measure the success of the learner's ability to transfer and implement learning on the job.

Triple-Loop Learning is a model (along with single- and double-loop learning) that helps TD professionals understand the dynamics of learning that is frequently defined as "learning how to learn." Learners reflect beyond what they learned to how they learned, how they think about what they learned, and how others feel about what was learned. This causes them to transform by willingly altering their beliefs and values about themselves and about the world.


Unconscious biases are learned stereotypes that unintentionally influence behavior. They are deeply ingrained, which causes them to occur automatically.

Upskilling is training designed to augment existing skills with new or significantly enhanced knowledge. This enables individuals to continue to succeed in the same profession or field of work. Upskilling does not refer to normal, ongoing development.


VAK Model is a model of the way that individuals learn and retain information. Some people learn primarily through one style, others through a combination of three: visual (learners need pictures, diagrams, and other visuals), audio (learners need to hear information), and kinesthetic (learners prefer hands-on learning).

Virtual classroom is an online learning space where learners and facilitators interact.

Virtual reality (VR) is computer-generated simulation that uses a head-mounted display to give learners the ability to explore a fully rendered digital environment and manipulate objects with handheld controls and voice commands. This powerful tool allows learners to perform skills in a realistic, engaging simulation of a real-life environment. It’s especially valuable in for training learners in dangerous or hard to replicate situations, such as emergencies or heavy equipment simulations.


Wants-Based Approach is a customer approach that focuses primarily on satisfying the client’s needs.

Web-based training (WBT), more often called virtual learning, is the delivery of educational content via a web browser over the internet, a private intranet, or an extranet.

White paper is a short report based on a particular topic of concern to an organization.

Wiki is a collection of web pages in one location on which anyone with access can contribute or modify the content. It’s useful for collaboration and data compilation.

Workplace Learning and Performance (WLP) encompasses the professions of training, performance improvement, learning, development, and workplace education. It is often colloquially referred to as training or training and development.


xAPI is the Experience Application Programming Interface, an e-learning software specification to record learning experiences an individual has on and offline. It’s also known as Tin Can API or the experience API.