What Is Learning and Development?
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What Is Learning and Development?

  Apr 28 2019

# Human Resources and Training

Learning and development (L&D) is a critical function of any HR department. The goal of learning and development is to build on and increase the knowledge and skills of your employees.

Your learning and development strategy should give your staff the tools to do their job more effectively, and ultimately, bring everyone into alignment with the company’s long-term goals.

Training vs. Learning

The terms “training” and “learning” are sometimes used interchangeably. While they may overlap and intertwine, they are certainly not the same. Ideally, training should result in learning

Unfortunately, you can invest in all kinds of training for your employees and not achieve much in the way of learning. In some cases this may be due to the quality of the training material or the effectiveness of the instructor. In other cases it may be the result of a mismatch between an employee’s individual learning style and the training course selected for them.

Types of Learning Interventions

When managers send employee to randomly chosen training programs, they're taking a gamble because, as we have seen, training does not always result in new knowledge. However, a proper learning intervention will help managers make better suited training decisions that will increase the employee’s rate of learning. Learning interventions help the manager gauge needs and assess learning styles before investing time and money into a training program. Learning interventions include:

  • Mentoring or shadowing
  • Simulations
  • Group discussions/brainstorming sessions
  • Role-playing

A successful learning intervention gives you valuable insight into where your employees need improvement and helps you pinpoint the best and most cost-effective ways to get them the training they need.

The Benefits of Training

Training is an investment, and if it doesn't produce learning, your money was wasted.

One major component of an effective learning and development strategy is keeping track of the return on your training investment. On a quantitative level, you should be able to calculate the costs of training and compare it to the financial gains you believe are a result of said training. The financial gains can be in the form of the following:

  • Increased productivity
  • Lower turnover rate
  • Better customer retention
  • Increased profits
  • More effective marketing efforts (attracting new customers)

If you're not seeing tangible results from employee training, it might be time to consider a new approach.