Learning & Development

In recent years, the emphasis has shifted from what was called ‘Training & development’ to the now more common term ‘Learning & development’. This shift reflects an increased focus on the individual and their involvement in, and responsibility for, their own learning, rather than a focus on the activities of the trainer in delivering learning material.
‘Learning needs’ refer to gaps in knowledge, skills and attitudes. They exist when there is a difference between what knowledge, skills or attitudes someone, or a group of people, actually have and what they require for some purpose.

• Learning happens when a person acquires new knowledge, new skills or new attitudes leading to a permanent change in their behaviour.
• Knowledge is information that a person stores in and can access from their memory. Learning new knowledge involves paying attention to new information and rehearsing it so that it remains in memory over time.
• A skill is an ability to do something. Skills may be intellectual (e.g., reading, thinking, planning), physical (e.g., writing, typing, sewing) or social (e.g., questioning, listening, debating). Learning and retaining skills tends to require practice.
• Attitudinal learning occurs when someone revises or acquires new beliefs, opinions or values. Attitudinal learning tends to happen through debate, open-minded consideration or significant and memorable events.

A practical example
Learning to drive a car involves learning a complex range of knowledge, skills and attitudes. At a simple level the learner driver has to:
• Know (Knowledge) – the purpose and function of various controls, the rules of the road
• Be able to (Skills) – operate controls, identify and predict hazards, ‘read the road’, perceive distance, respond to hazards
• Value (Attitudes) – life, defensive driving, the rules of the roads, other road users.