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Factsheet:

Learning methods

Resource summary

This facstheet was published in August 2014.

What are learning methods?

Learning methods may be defined as any interventions that are deliberately undertaken to assist the process of learning at individual, team or organisational level.

In a rapidly changing business environment, employees need to be able to continue learning and adapting their capabilities to support organisational strategy. By looking ahead to define requirements and initiate effective learning interventions that support business objectives, organisations can keep pace with changing needs.

More details on developing or reviewing organisational learning and development strategy in support of strategic business objectives can be found in our factsheet on that topic.

Defining training, learning and development

The terms 'training' and 'learning' may be broadly characterised as follows:

  • Training is an instructor-led, content-based intervention designed to lead to skills or behaviour change.
  • Learning is a self-directed, work-based process that leads to increased adaptive potential (as might be provided by coaching or mentoring opportunities, for instance).

The concept of development implies a longer-term or broader process of learning and training – acquiring skills or knowledge by a range of different means such as coaching, formal and informal learning interventions, education or planned experience.

In light of new competitive models, there has been a change of emphasis during recent years from a limited perception of formal training to a broader concept of learning and development: the role of the people development professional in effect becomes learner-centred rather than trainer-centred.

Login or register for a free account to continue reading this factsheet and to learn about:  

  • What are learning methods?
  • Choosing learning and training methods
  • Types of learning methods
  • Work-based learning techniques
  • Learning methods away from the workplace
  • Emerging learning methods
  • CIPD viewpoint
  • Useful contacts
  • Further reading 

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