L&D Glossary: The Basic Learning Terms and Job Titles You Should Know in 2024

June 28, 2024
Skills Caravan
Learning Experience Platform
June 28, 2024
, updated  
June 28, 2024

L&D Glossary: The Basic Learning Terms and Job Titles You Should Know in 2024

In the continually changing landscape of Learning and Development (L&D), keeping up with the latest terminology and job titles is critical for professionals looking to advance in their careers. As we approach 2024, the L&D industry continues to evolve, fueled by technological developments and creative instructional approaches. Whether you're an experienced professional or a novice to the sector, recognizing the major terms and positions is critical for navigating this dynamic market. This L&D glossary will serve as your thorough guide to the basic learning words and job titles you'll need to know in 2024, ensuring you're ready to keep up with the ever-changing demands of the L&D industry.

10,000 Hour Rule

The concept, introduced by journalist Malcolm Gladwell, posits that achieving mastery in complex skills requires 10,000 hours of intensive practice. While Gladwell's idea has been critiqued by psychologists, he clarifies that he does not claim that 10,000 hours of practice guarantees success. This notion is tied to Anders Ericsson's research on high performance, which emphasizes 'deliberate practice' over genetic inheritance as the key to excelling in specific tasks. Ericsson also warns against overextending the application of the '10,000-hour rule.'

5 Moments of Need

This model identifies moments when learners need specific information to perform tasks efficiently and effectively. These moments are critical for expanding knowledge and skills, offering opportunities for performance improvement and skill enhancement. Although the '5 moments of need' model is not based on scientific research, it draws on the extensive professional experience of Mosher and Gottfredson.


This organizational learning model suggests that effective leaders acquire 70% of their knowledge from job-related experiences, 20% from interactions with others, and 10% from formal education. These proportions were derived from data collected through interviews with a small group of leaders conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership in the 1980s. While these exact figures have not been replicated in academic research, proponents argue that the model is a useful framework for emphasizing the importance of experiential learning.


Active Listening

A soft skill requiring full attention to a speaker, involving open-ended questions and reflective responses to understand the message before replying.


A framework used by content developers and instructional designers, consisting of five phases: analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation. These phases can occur either concurrently or sequentially.

Adult Learning Theory

A theory focused on how adults learn, essential for designing effective training programs. It provides a framework for developing learning and development (L&D) programs that cater to the needs of professionals throughout their careers.

Adaptive Learning

Courses or platforms that personalize learning experiences based on the learner’s role, knowledge, goals, or behavior through initial questioning, assessments, and behavioral data. This can involve branching logic or algorithmically generated syllabuses.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Refers to machine intelligence that enables systems to mimic human decision-making and problem-solving. Applications in AI include natural language processing, machine vision, and speech recognition. AI has been integral to technology-enabled learning, with recent advancements using deep learning to generate course content from source materials.

AICC (Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee)

An international association of technology-based training professionals (1988-2014), which developed guidelines for the aviation industry and broader training community. These guidelines include a standard protocol for tracking digital learning module completion, a precursor to SCORM. Although AICC is considered obsolete compared to SCORM, it still supports specific data transfers useful in corporate learning.

Agile Learning

An approach emphasizing speed, flexibility, and collaboration in training and development. It fosters a culture where employees are encouraged to take responsibility for their own and others' development.


A model of adult learning developed by Malcolm Knowles, based on five assumptions that differentiate adult learners from children. This model is specific to Knowles and is not a universally accepted theory of adult learning and teaching.

API (Application Programming Interface)

A communication protocol allowing software systems to exchange information and modify each other’s databases. APIs can be built using languages such as SOAP, REST, and GraphQL. SCORM and its successor, xAPI, function as APIs, with Single Sign-On describing APIs used to authenticate users across different systems.

Augmented Reality (AR)

A learning design method that overlays information on real-world objects via mobile apps or goggles.

Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Software used by recruiters and employers to manage candidates throughout the recruitment and hiring process.

Authoring Tools

Applications and software that support the development, editing, reviewing, and testing of online learning content.


Big Five

A personality trait model (agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism/emotional stability, and openness to experience) based on extensive linguistic analysis. It is a scientific alternative to pseudoscientific models like Myers-Briggs.

Biologically Primary Knowledge and Skills

Skills humans have evolved to learn naturally, such as walking or language acquisition, which do not require formal instruction. These skills are acquired through trial and error, imitation, and discovery learning, with no cognitive load limits on short-term memory storage.

Biologically Secondary Knowledge and Skills

Skills developed culturally that require formal or informal instruction and effortful learning, such as writing or technology use. These skills did not evolve naturally and have cognitive load limits on short-term memory storage, necessitating deliberate practice for long-term retention.

Bloom’s Taxonomy

A classification system for learning objectives across cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains, organized hierarchically. Developed by Benjamin Bloom and a committee of educationalists, though critiqued for its lack of a universal hierarchical structure applicable to all learning outcomes.

Blended Learning

A learning approach combining in-person classroom instruction with eLearning, curated resources, independent exploration, and practice.

Body Language

Communication through physical behaviors, expressions, and mannerisms, often instinctive rather than conscious.


A personalization technique in digital learning where the user’s journey can take different paths based on a pre-mapped logic tree.

Build or Buy

Strategies for setting up learning platforms and content systems. Custom build strategies have higher initial costs but lower long-term expenses and no license fees. Buy strategies are quicker to implement but have higher annual costs and dependency on vendor roadmaps.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

A practice allowing learners to use their own mobile devices (smartphones, laptops, tablets) in the training environment to access content.



The orchestration of people, competencies, and processes to achieve individual, team, or organizational performance outcomes.

Capability Academy

A platform focused on a few key skills, featuring skill assessments, learning pathways, cohort-based social learning, a community of practice, and a curated resource bank.

Career Pathing

A talent development process where supervisors work with employees to outline their potential trajectories within the organization, including setting goals and identifying necessary skills and experiences.


AI systems trained with various datasets and supported by branching logic to assist HR and learning teams in answering common questions, also prevalent in customer service.


A process where an experienced coach trains and guides a learner towards achieving a specific goal, enhancing learning and performance.

Cohort Learning

A collaborative learning style where a group of individuals progresses through an educational program together, common in in-person classroom settings.

Cognitive Psychology

The study of how we process information, including memory and thinking, with insights often applicable to learning design.

Collaborative Learning Strategy

A strategy focusing on team development rather than individual development, requiring a team-centric approach across the organization.

Community of Practice

A group of individuals with a common interest who engage in collective learning by sharing knowledge and improving their practice.


The collection of knowledge, skills, behaviors, or attributes required by individuals or teams to perform a task.

Competency Model

A set of competencies necessary for performing tasks associated with a specific role or set of roles.

Computer-Based Training (CBT)

Legacy terminology for interactive digital learning or e-learning.

Compliance Training

Training involving courses that must be completed to comply with government regulations, such as health and safety or financial regulations.

Content Chaos

The unmitigated growth and poor management of learning content in a digitized world, draining L&D budgets, undermining reputations, and clogging systems.

Content Curation

The process of finding, selecting, organizing, and adding context to existing resources to support job performance and skill development without creating new content.

Content Tag

A term assigned to a piece of content to relate it to other similarly tagged content in a system.

Content Intelligence

A solution that analyzes content libraries, assessing relevance to skills, benchmarking against other libraries and free resources, and ranking content by relevance to support informed decision-making.

Content Library

See 'Learning Content Libraries.'

Curiosity, Creativity, Critical Thinking

Key '21st-century skills' for navigating a volatile and rapidly changing world. They are challenging to define generically as they are linked to domain-specific knowledge.


Training employees to perform multiple roles, enhancing organizational adaptability to changes in talent supply and demand.

CSV (Comma-Separated Values)

A file format easily translated into a simple view of data in an Excel spreadsheet, frequently used to export data from one learning system to another.

Custom Content

Proprietary training material created internally or by third-party agencies for organizational use.


Data Fluency and Literacy

Skills for working with mathematical data concepts, such as statistical significance, to understand proposals and make decisions.

Discovery Learning

A method where individuals learn through direct experience with minimal guidance, driven by trial-and-error. Despite popular myths, guided learning with formal instruction is more effective, particularly for acquiring biologically secondary knowledge and skills.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

Programs and policies promoting the representation and participation of diverse groups, including different ages, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, abilities, disabilities, genders, cultures, and religions. DEI is crucial for creating a successful workforce.

Deliberate Practice

A concept by psychologist Anders Ericsson describing how individuals achieve high performance. It involves forming a mental model of the skill and comparing actual performance against it. Deliberate practice, not genetic inheritance, underlies great talents and can be applied at any life stage to master a skill.

Design Thinking

A problem-solving process relevant to the employee experience, emphasizing reducing complexity, understanding user needs, and creatively responding to challenges with iterative improvements. It can enhance learning and talent development.

Digital Learning

Also known as e-learning or online learning, this term encompasses any educational method utilizing technology, including websites, e-books, social media, online communities, lectures, webinars, podcasts, and microblogging. It is an effective approach for training and development within organizations.

Double Loop Learning

An educational concept introduced by Chris Argyris in the mid-1980s, later adopted as a useful organizational tool. It involves altering decision-making rules and goals based on experience. The process is called "double loop" because the first loop uses the decision-making rules or goals, while the second loop facilitates their modification.



This is a comprehensive term for interactive digital learning content, which has traditionally been slide-based sequences of images, text, video, and interactive elements like questions or drag-and-drop interactions. The Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), developed by the US military around the First Gulf War (1991), standardized computer-based training delivery globally. Modern e-learning has evolved to optimize for multiple devices and often surpasses the SCORM standard, although slide-based SCORM packages remain prevalent in organizations.

Employee Experience (EX)

The sum of all experiences an employee encounters throughout their tenure at a company. This includes everything they learn, do, see, and feel at each stage of the employee lifecycle, which comprises five stages: recruitment, onboarding, development, retention, and exit.

Employee Engagement

The emotional commitment an employee has towards their work, team, and organization. Employee engagement is assessed through four categories: highly engaged, moderately engaged, barely engaged, and disengaged.

Experiential Learning

A method of gaining knowledge and skills through direct, hands-on experience or on-the-job training. While all content must be experienced, experiential learning typically excludes pre-recorded material.

Extended Enterprise

The capability of a platform to serve different content and permissions to external users while remaining connected to a primary instance.

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)

Systems such as Oracle and SAP, designed to monitor and analyze resource movement within an organization. Early corporate learning management systems were integrated into these extensive ERP systems.


Fixed Mindset

In a fixed mindset, individuals believe qualities like talent or intelligence are static traits. They focus on documenting their attributes rather than developing them, believing talent alone leads to success. This mindset is contrasted with a growth mindset and is considered an obstacle to individual, team, and organizational performance.

Flipped Curation

A more efficient approach to high-impact learning design. Instead of relying on subject matter experts as a bottleneck, flipped curation places technology-enabled curation at the forefront of the design process. This approach creates effective learning pathways by contextualizing the best content for an organization’s needs.

Flipped Classroom

A blended learning model that enhances learner engagement. Students first encounter content online outside of class and then practice it in class.

Formal Learning

Structured training conducted in planned settings, such as classrooms or online environments, typically involving experienced trainers, mentors, and instructors. While personalized and agile forms of informal learning are gaining traction, formal learning remains the standard approach for skill development in many organizations.



The application of game design elements in non-game contexts such as websites, online communities, and learning management systems to make training more engaging and increase participation.

Generation X

Individuals born between 1965 and 1980, sometimes called the "middle child" generation, following the baby boomers and preceding Millennials.

Generation Y

Individuals born between 1981 and 1994/96, also known as Millennials, who follow Generation X and precede Generation Z.

Generation Z

Individuals born between 1997 and 2010, also known as Zoomers, succeeding Millennials and preceding Generation Alpha.

Graphical User Interface (GUI)

A user interface that allows interaction with software programs through graphical components such as menus, icons, and symbols, as opposed to text-based command-line interfaces.

Goal Orientation

The development of behaviors and attitudes aimed at achieving performance outcomes, rather than merely meeting minimum expectations. This concept is critical in organizational talent development.

Growth Mindset

Individuals with a growth mindset believe they can develop their abilities through dedication, practice, and hard work. This mindset, a key trait for taking risks and pursuing ambitions, is distinguished from the fixed mindset. Although a growth mindset is praised for its potential to overcome challenges, it may not transfer between different domains, as noted by the term's originator, Carol Dweck.


Human Capital Management (HCM)

End-to-end HR systems like Workday and SuccessFactors that manage talent acquisition, development, management, and succession planning. Integration with HCM systems is often essential for Learning & Development (L&D) systems.

Human Resources Information System (HRIS)

Software that manages HR functions such as training, payroll, recruitment, induction, benefits, and attendance. L&D data is typically recorded in an HRIS.

Human-Centered Design

A problem-solving approach in design, management, and engineering that involves considering the human perspective at every step.

Human-Centered Leadership

Leadership that prioritizes people, fostering nurturing work environments that accommodate learning, understanding, and human needs.

Human Resources (HR)

The department responsible for managing employees and employee-related operations in an organization, including the employee lifecycle and benefits administration. HR often plays a key role in employee training and development.

Hybrid Working

A flexible working arrangement allowing employees to divide their time between office and remote work.


Informal Learning

Learning that occurs outside structured, formal classroom settings, with learners setting their own goals and objectives. This can include self-study, participating in forums, watching videos, and listening to coaching sessions.


Documents that combine imagery and text to summarize information, often used as portable resources in digital learning experiences.

Interactive PDFs

Clickable documents that may contain questions or videos, providing interactive learning via email rather than through learning management systems.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The intercommunication between people, software, and physical objects to automate processes in homes and industries such as manufacturing and logistics. IoT is crucial for skill development programs and instructional delivery.

Instructional Design

The process of creating learning materials and experiences to aid in the acquisition and application of skills and knowledge. Also known as instructional system design (ISD), this process assesses needs, designs materials, and evaluates effectiveness, helping organizations create effective curricula.

Instructor-Led Training (ILT)

Training facilitated by an instructor for individuals or groups, conducted either in-person or online. ILT is valuable for new or complex material, using lectures, demonstrations, discussions, and presentations.

Inquiry-Based Learning

An active learning method that involves participation and inquiry rather than memorization, often including problem-solving, experience, or research.


Job Aids

Tools or instructions that help reduce mistakes at work by providing information on how to perform tasks. These can include one-pagers, cheat sheets, print-outs, and performance support materials.

Job Architectures

Taxonomies of roles, competencies, skills, and tasks that enable coherent skill development and talent management processes.

Job Analysis

The breakdown of roles into tasks, competencies, and skills to develop training programs and performance-support resources.


Kirkpatrick’s Learning Evaluation Model

A globally recognized model for evaluating learning and training programs, using four criteria levels: reaction, learning, behavior, and results.


Information, concepts, facts, and mental models required to perform work in a specific area. While knowledge alone is insufficient for skill performance, it is a prerequisite for forming the mental models needed for skill execution.

Knowledge Management

The practice of storing, categorizing, and surfacing organizational knowledge to support business outcomes. With the rise of digital content in collaboration systems, knowledge management has become increasingly urgent. Major players like Slack and Microsoft, along with startups like Guru and Notion, focus on this challenge. Knowledge management overlaps with learning experience systems and is a goal for some learning systems, such as Fuse Universal.


Leadership Development

Activities aimed at preparing current and future leaders to perform effectively. This includes improving skills in strategy, decision-making, and project management.

Learning Asset

Any digital resource or available classroom or virtual event with its own URL and content metadata, suitable for standalone consumption.

Learning Content Management System (LCMS)

Software designed to host and manage learning content and publish it to multiple portals. Modern learning platforms often integrate authoring, LCMS, and LMS functionalities, but the single-source publishing feature distinguishes an LCMS from other learning systems.

Learning Content Libraries

Catalogs of digital content, such as courses, videos, books, articles, or podcasts, provided by vendors. These libraries either cover all business skills or focus on specific areas. New entrants, proven in consumer, professional publishing, or higher education settings, challenge the dominance of purpose-built learning content libraries.

Learning Culture

The habitual behaviors related to training, skill development, knowledge sharing, and innovation within an organization. Learning cultures vary by maturity and type, from compliance-driven in safety-critical industries to continuous learning cultures in startups. An open and continuous learning culture is essential for innovation and collaboration.

Learning & Development (L&D)

A specialized HR function focusing on creating the right environment for individuals and organizations to learn and grow. L&D reduces turnover by improving employees' skills, knowledge, and competencies, increasing productivity and job satisfaction.

Learning Design

A framework supporting learning experiences, involving decisions about content, structure, timing, activities, strategies, and supporting technology.

Learning Ecosystem

A system delivering learning experiences by providing an environment for interaction with content, technologies, and data. It can be broad, open, and accessible to anyone, combining technologies that support intentional learning or encompassing a wider range of publishing and communication technologies.

Learning Experience Platform (LXP)

A consumer-grade, skill-driven learning platform where users choose their learning pathways from personalized content. LXP allows administrators to curate pathways from external resources and integrate large content libraries. They often include user-generated content features like publishing tools and forums and can extend into career pathing, talent management, and performance management.

Learning Management System (LMS)

A system allowing administrators to assign and track structured training content. Initially focused on supporting classroom training, LMS now manages digital learning. LMSs are often closed systems, but newer systems integrate course publishing and management. The LMS market is diverse, with distinctions between LMS and LXP based on the concepts of courses and skills.

Learning Object

In learning management systems, this term describes courses and resources, usually with unique URLs and metadata, though sometimes part of larger learning objects.

Learning Pathway

A learner's route through various digital learning activities, allowing progressive knowledge building. Learning pathways can be defined by learning platforms.

Learning Technologies

Software designed to support organizational learning, including authoring tools, learning management systems, learning experience platforms, and virtual classrooms. Almost any digital or physical publishing or communication platform can be considered a learning technology.


Managed Learning Services (MLS)

A framework agreement enabling significant portions of an organization’s Learning and Development (L&D) department to be managed by a third-party contractor. MLS agreements often include the procurement of both in-person and virtual training, as well as content development.

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

A model for delivering free online learning content accessible to anyone interested in taking a course. MOOCs have no attendance limits and offer a cost-effective and flexible way to acquire new skills.


The practice of establishing relationships between individuals with varying levels of experience in a particular field, or more recently, between those with different skillsets to promote diverse thinking. Specific technologies are available to match mentees with potential mentors.


The valuable ability to reflect on and improve one’s own mental processes. On a personal level, metacognition enables reflective practice and self-improvement. At an organizational level, it allows teams to develop feedback loops that facilitate continuous improvement.


The awarding of digital certifications, sometimes referred to as ‘badges,’ for achievements not formally recognized by traditional educational institutions. These are supported by technologies that enable recipients to share their achievements on social media and maintain a permanent record that persists across job roles.


A learning method that delivers brief, focused content to learners, typically lasting no more than five minutes. It can take various forms, from text to interactive multimedia, and is ideal for promoting agile learning.

Modern Learning Platform

Products that combine elements of a Learning Management System (LMS), which manage courses, host content, and track training completion, with a Learning Experience Platform (LXP), which curates pathways from external resources, integrates extensive content libraries, and includes social features. These platforms offer an alternative to a traditional learning ecosystem or tech stack.

Multimodal Learning

The use of diverse delivery methods and media to implement a learning program. The goal is to reinforce knowledge transfer by presenting content in varied contexts and making learning accessible to different types of learners, such as those working remotely or in-person, or using mobile devices versus laptops.



The concept that people experience and interact with the world in diverse ways, with no single "correct" way of thinking, learning, or behaving. Recognizing neurodiversity has been linked to higher organizational performance, and L&D programs increasingly aim to acknowledge and foster neurodiversity.

Neuroscience in Learning Design

A popular theme in L&D and everyday life, focusing on applying neuroscience insights to create ‘brain-friendly’ training. However, claims of the applicability of neuroscience to general learning design are often exaggerated, as brain phenomena observed in specific situations may not generalize. Cognitive psychology serves as a more reliable alternative.

New Skilling

The ongoing development of in-demand skills to ensure an organization remains competitive amidst emerging technologies and business models.

Nuanced Skills

Skills defined in the context of specific domains, settings, and organizations, such as authentic leadership within a particular company's people operations. These skills are crucial for meaningful development because their application is context-specific, and evidence of their transferability across domains is unclear.

Nudge Theory

A concept in behavioral science that uses indirect suggestions and positive reinforcement to influence the behavior and decision-making of individuals or groups. This theory is often employed by governments and businesses to subtly guide people toward making desired decisions.



The process through which new employees acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to become effective members of an organization.

Off-the-Shelf Content

Pre-made training materials produced by external providers, acquired by organizations to deliver training. This content tends to be generic, such as compliance training.

On-Demand Learning

A learning strategy that provides employees with access to real-time knowledge at a time, place, and pace of their choosing.

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

A collaborative goal-setting methodology used by teams and individuals to set ambitious, challenging goals with measurable results.

Organizational Culture

The underlying beliefs, assumptions, values, and ways of interacting that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization. According to the Competing Values Framework, there are four types of organizational culture: Clan, Adhocracy, Market, and Hierarchy.

Organizational Effectiveness

A concept used to measure an organization’s success in achieving its intended outcomes and goals, often measured by comparing net profit with desired profit, as well as using growth data and customer satisfaction surveys.

Organizational Psychology

The scientific study of organizational structure and the ways in which employees interact, think, and behave at work.

Open Resources

Educational content released in the public domain under an open license, allowing for no-cost access, use, adaptation, and redistribution with minimal restrictions.

Open Source Software

Software released under a license that grants users the right to freely use, study, redistribute, and modify the original source code.



The science, art, or profession of teaching and education.

Performance Management

A process aimed at improving individual and organizational performance, addressing how people should be managed to achieve the performance needed for organizational success.

Performance Support

A training needs analysis and learning design methodology based on the theory of the five moments of learning need, aiming to develop useful resources and place them at critical moments during work.

Personal Learning Network (PLN)

An informal learning network consisting of an individual’s preferred people, digital devices, and information sources, which they interact with and use for gaining knowledge.


The process of tailoring a product or service to meet an individual’s specific requirements.

People Analytics

A data-driven approach focused on enhancing business value by studying all people-related processes, functions, challenges, and opportunities at work to improve these systems and achieve sustainable business success.

Power Skills

Skills focused on mindset, including strategic thinking, leadership, productivity, personal development, listening, and communication.

Psychological Safety

The ability to express oneself without fear of negative consequences for status, career, or self-image. Psychologically safe teams are characterized by members feeling respected and accepted.


Tasks or materials that new hires are expected to complete before their first day on the job, creating a baseline of knowledge and saving organizations time and money.


A test taken by training participants before the start of instruction to determine prior knowledge, set prerequisite skills, or identify participants for whom the class may be too advanced.

Problem-Based Learning

A student-centered teaching method using open-ended problems as triggers to teach students about a particular subject.


Question Bank

A collection of questions that can be reused in multiple assessments, typically used by instructors to create a database for repeated use.

Question Distribution Engines

Short assessments allowing learners to test their knowledge without repeating information they already know.


Rapid Development

Tools and practices that significantly reduce the time required to develop learning content, from weeks or hours to minutes.

Remote Learning

Also known as remote training, distance education, and virtual instruction, it occurs when the trainer and learner are separated by distance, utilizing technology such as video conferencing, email, and discussion boards to transmit information without the need for physical presence.

Remote Working

A flexible working arrangement allowing employees to perform their jobs from a location other than the employer’s central office.


The process of learning new skills required for an entirely different role, typically a lateral learning experience for individuals with adjacent skills that are similar to those needed for the new role.


Self-Directed Learning

A training method where the learner independently manages their training, including the timing, content, and delivery.

Sentiment Analysis

The process of evaluating the emotional tone of a piece of writing to determine if it is neutral, positive, or negative.

Serious Games

Games designed not just for entertainment but for learning, education, or product promotion.

Single Loop Learning

A learning approach focused on performing tasks correctly. Adjustments are made to fix problems or mistakes without typically addressing the underlying causes.


The ability to perform a task or activity well, often through practice. There is no universally agreed definition of skills, which can encompass personal traits (e.g., openness, resilience), domain-specific abilities (e.g., operating a forklift, using spreadsheets), or behaviors applicable across various domains (e.g., radical candor, reflective practice). Skills are diverse and nuanced, with no two individuals having identical skill sets.

Skills Framework

A shared definition describing the standards of competence for roles and skills within an organization. Skills frameworks are used for job descriptions, skills development, goal setting, and hiring. They may focus on specific areas or aggregate multiple skills and often include levels from beginner to expert.

Skills Intelligence

Systems that use user engagement and large datasets to infer skill prevalence and levels. These systems provide an alternative perspective on skill development compared to traditional theoretical taxonomies.

Skills Gap

The disparity between the skills required by an employer and the skills that employees actually possess.

Skills Palette

A term used by Filtered to describe its non-hierarchical taxonomy of defined skills, allowing for flexible combinations to meet organizational needs.

Skills Taxonomy

A structured list of skills defined by an organization to measure the supply and demand of skills. Skills are classified into groups and clusters.

Social Learning

Online learning that occurs in a social setting, typically via social learning platforms or social media, where users can communicate, collaborate, and interact on the learning topic.

Soft Skills

Interpersonal skills, including language, communication, social skills, and personality traits, that influence how individuals form relationships and interact with others. Soft skills complement hard skills.

Subject Matter Expert (SME)

An individual with specialized knowledge in a particular area, topic, process, or technology, sought for solving specific problems and challenges. SMEs can be employees or third-party contractors.

Steering Committee

A group of key organizational members providing strategic guidance and project oversight without being involved in day-to-day execution.


A written script and description of graphics and interactions for an eLearning course.

Structured Learning

Courses or learning programs that use instructional methodologies. This term encompasses structured courses, formal learning, and curriculums.

Succession Planning

The process of identifying key positions within an organization and developing plans for employees to assume these roles, ensuring a pipeline of effective leaders for the future.

Synchronous Learning

Real-time, interactive online learning using remote labs, delivery platforms, and distance learning technologies for learner-instructor interaction.

Systems Thinking

A holistic approach to analysis that focuses on understanding how constituent parts interact within a system. Popularized by Peter Senge’s book on learning organizations, which includes systems thinking as one of its five disciplines.


Tacit Knowledge

Knowledge gained through personal and professional experience, often subjective and informal, and challenging to share or express.

Talent Intelligence

The process of gaining a competitive edge by analyzing external data on competitors' talent pools, jobs, skills, and functions. This term also refers to smart recruitment and internal mobility software that optimizes job applications and matches people with roles or projects.

Talent Management System

A system used by mid- and large-sized organizations to manage the recruitment, development, and performance of employees and candidates.

Task Analysis

The examination and description of the steps involved in completing a job or task, including duration, speed, and mental activity. Critical for conducting needs assessments.


The science of classification, dividing concepts, topics, and objects into categories or systems with descriptions for each entry.

Team Alignment

The process of achieving a common understanding among team members and cross-functional teams to collaborate and communicate effectively towards organizational goals.

Tin Can API

The early name for what is now known as the Experience API or xAPI.

Training Program

A series of activities designed to enhance productivity, skills, performance, and knowledge. These programs can include structured sequences, unstructured experiments, social gatherings, and real-world tasks.

Training Needs Analysis

An analysis process used to design effective learning programs or measure their effectiveness, involving organizational analysis, job-task analysis, and person analysis.



The process of learning or teaching new skills to close talent gaps and enhance workers' abilities.

User Experience (UX)

The way users interact with and perceive a system, service, or product, including usability and efficiency. Learning technologies use graphical user interfaces (GUIs) to positively impact UX.


Video Content Management System (Video CMS)

An online learning system that enables organizations to centralize, manage, and deliver video content.

Virtual Classroom

A digital learning environment allowing instructors and students to interact and engage in learning with features like displaying materials, conducting polls and quizzes, and recording sessions.

Virtual Internship

A work experience program allowing interns to gain experience remotely rather than being physically present at the organization's office.

Virtual Training System

A virtual learning system providing training through live workshops on an online platform.

Virtual Reality (VR) for Learning

An advanced learning method enabling students to interact with and experience lessons in different ways, facilitating easier understanding of complex topics.

VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity)

An acronym describing the unpredictable and complex conditions of the modern workplace. It guides leadership in planning and responding to challenging situations.


Web 2.0

The generation of web technologies emphasizing cloud computing, user-generated content, and social networking. In training, Web 2.0 refers to dynamic learning portals that promote collaboration and information sharing.

Web 3.0

Originally called the Semantic Web, Web 3.0 represents the upcoming generation of the internet where applications process information intelligently using technologies like machine learning, big data, and decentralized ledgers.

Web-Based Training

Training conducted in an online environment, either live or on-demand, using cloud-based tools for administration, access, and analytics.


An online collaborative space where users can add, edit, and remove content. Large wikis often have moderators to ensure clarity and accuracy.

Workplace Learning

The process of acquiring knowledge and skills in the workplace, occurring both formally and informally.

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L&D Glossary: Conclusion

Understanding essential terminologies and job titles is critical for success in the ever-changing landscape of Learning and Development (L&D) in 2024. The L&D profession is dynamic and varied, spanning core concepts such as eLearning and blended learning to emergent roles such as Learning Experience Designer and Chief Learning Officer. Keeping up with this L&Dglossary not only improves our professional vocabulary, but also allows us to better answer the ever-changing demands of learners and organizations. By learning these fundamentals, we may contribute more effectively to the growth and innovation of our L&D initiatives, ensuring that we are equipped to face future problems and opportunities.