Last Updated on August 23, 2020

101 Corporate traing terms, expressions and terminology



When referring to absenteeism in the workplace (often used in corporate training) this refers to ‘An employee’s habitual, frequent absence’. Also though see ‘Presenteeism’ below).

Active Listening

Active listening is a communication technique, whereby the person who listens show the other person that they are taking in what the other person is saying. Active listening includes gestures such as nodding to show engagement, making eye contact and summarising back to the other person what they say to clarify understanding.

Active listening is taught in training courses on topics such as communication skills, conflict handling, customer support and dealing with difficult people.


Andragogy is the theory of how adults learn as opposed to the way in which children learn (i.e. pedagogy). The word comes from the Greek andr- (meaning ‘man’) and agogos (meaning ‘leading’). This word is usually associated with Malcom Knowles’ theory of adult learning.

Asynchronous Learning

Asynchronous learning refers to the process whereby students can learn in different places at different times, independently from the teacher.


Blended Learning

Blended learning is a style of education in which learners use a combination of traditional face to face interaction in the classroom and online and/or electronic media.

Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms, in a web conferencing platform, is a function to create virtual spaces that are separated from the main meeting.

With breakout rooms, the meeting organizer (or teacher) can separate the participants into sub-groups, so that people can have discussions and interact in small groups, without the other participants, who are not in their group, hearing them.

Buzz Group

A buzz group is a small group of participants, who discuss a topic set by the trainers during a classroom activity. These small groups are called buzz groups because, during such activities, the room should be filled with the ‘buzz’ of people talking.


Case Study

A case study, in training terms, is a hypothetical scenario written down as a story, which presents a problem for the learners to solve. There is not only one right solution necessarily, but learners can choose different courses of action, and then discuss their choice with the rest of the class. For example, if you are teaching customer service skills, you can create a story in which an employee needs to deal with a difficult customer and ask your trainers how they would deal with that situation.


CBT is short for Computer Based Training. This term refers to any learning that happens through the medium of a computer (see an example here).

Conflict Management

Conflict management is the ability to manage conflict in such a way that the positive outcomes are maximised while minimising the negative aspects of conflict.

For successful conflict management, the key is to approach conflict in a constructive manner, to achieve the best outcome and find the most useful and sometimes innovative solutions.

Conflict management is a type of interpersonal skill that can be taught through training. (Here is our Conflict Management Course).

Corporate Trainer

A corporate trainer is a teacher who provides workshops or lessons for adult learners in a company. The corporate trainer might be a freelance self-employed trainer, or might work in-house. In job searches for trainer jobs, you are best off to use the terms corporate and freelance.


Courseware is simply another way of expressing a package of materials that together are the training materials package for teaching a course.


CPD is a term that means ‘Continuing Professional Development’ and it used to refer to adult learning. The idea is that, even after formal education, we can still learn and develop.

CPD Certification

All of our courses are CPD certified. This means that the courses are assessed and are accredited as being of a certain quality and standard. CPD certified certificates can be provided on request.

Cultural Intelligence (CQ)

Cultural intelligence, or CQ, is the ability not only to understand that people from cultures different from yours have different beliefs, values and ways of feeling and behaving but also to empathize with people from different cultures.

CQ is linked to emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to pick up other people’s feelings and needs. Cultural intelligence is the ability to pick up the feelings and needs of people from different cultures, including understanding their body language, beliefs, and attitudes.

As a result, a person with high CQ, is able to thrive in multiple cultures. CQ is a skill that you can learn, work on and improve throughout the duration of your life.

Customizable Training Materials

The expression customizable training materials refers to training packages that have already been predesigned so that they are classroom-ready. In addition, these materials can be edited as needed (including adding the trainer’s own logo).

So, if a trainer purchases them s/he can teach that topic straight away without the need to do their own research and design while being free to edit and customize the program materials as needed.


Delivery Method

A delivery method is simply the way in which teaching is provided. For example: in a classroom, using a CD, with a video conference, with a mixture of classroom and virtual activities (called blended learning), etc.



E-learning refers to learning through the use of electronic media (such as computers, smartphone and tablets). It is usually done using the Internet. E-learning can take place with real-time interaction between the teacher and the students. Alternatively, the teacher can provide resources that the learners study in their own time.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability that a person has to understand and manage their own as well as other people’s emotions. Emotional intelligence is important in developing other interpersonal skills, such as conflict management. Fortunately, emotional intelligence can be learnt and developed.


This a form of anthropology, which researches a culture via observational methods. The intention with ethnography is to understand the cultural representations and ways in which that culture live and the meaning system and social structures of that given culture or community.



A flipchart is a very large notepad that can be propped on a stand. This is very useful for the trainer to jot down items during a group brainstorming session.

Also, flipcharts are used during group activities to allow participants to write down diagrams, mind maps or lists as a result of their discussions. Trainers can also write information on a flipchart in advance of the training day, to present information during the training session.

Flipcharts are good to engage the kinesthetic sense of participants as they physically write down their ideas on paper; they engage the visual sense as well, if participants draw diagrams or use coloured markers.

Flipped learning

Flipped learning is an educational approach, whereby learners access content available electronically before the training session (e.g. reading materials or video lectures), and then further develop this content through activities and discussions in the classroom.

Focus Groups

A focus group is a method for gathering information from a small group of people who have similar characteristics. Focus groups are often used in qualitative research, in marketing research and for political analysis.

During a focus group, a moderator asks questions to the group, which the group then answers by engaging in a discussion between the members of the group.


General Population Studies

A general population study is a survey which represents a given population, whether it be a village, city or country. Whatever the geographical (or can sometimes be political) population, the population as a whole, although normally a representation, are surveyed.


Hard Skills

Hard skills are all those skills that allow a person to perform a job. For example, if you are a graphic designer, using software such as Photoshop to manipulate pictures, maybe one of your hard skills.


Icebreaker Activity

An icebreaker is an activity designed to introduce participants to each other at the start of a training session and to help learners relax and be more at ease in the classroom.

Instructional Design

Instructional Design (ID), also known as Instructional Systems Design (ISD), consists in the creation of lessons, modules, courses and instructional materials. This includes activities, presentation of materials and assessment methods.

Within an instructional design approach, instructional materials are created starting from the needs of the learner. So, instead of wondering what you need to teach, you start by wondering what the learner needs to do and know and why.

There are many different approaches to instructional design and all are based on theories of how the human mind learns and remembers.

Instructor-Led Training (ILT)

ILT (short for Instructor-led Training) is any training that is shaped and directed by the instructor (as opposed to self-directed learning). ILT can make some people think of boring sessions where the teacher does all the talking. In reality, this is no longer the case as ILT sessions can still employ games and activities that make learning a lot more interactive.

Intercultural Competence

Intercultural competence is a set of skills that allow you to work and communicate successfully with people from different cultures and to function, behave and interact appropriately with people who are from cultural backgrounds that are different from yours.

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are a type of personal or soft skills, but which refer more specifically to how we relate to other people.

So, for example, interpersonal skills that companies may seek to develop in their employees can include the ability to give and receive feedback, communication, emotional intelligence and assertiveness. You can find a further definition of what are interpersonal skills here.



Knowledge refers to the breadth and depth of skills and information that a person acquires during their lifetime through experiences, education and familiarity with things, situations and people.


Leadership Skills

Leadership skills are the same thing as management skills. That is, skills that leaders and managers need to develop such as inspiring others, delegating, good communication, integrity, problem-solving and decision-making.

Learning Styles

There are different ways that people get the best out of learning and the way in which they absorb information and knowledge. Some users learn best through listening, other through tactile and kinesthetic methods, and others by visually watching. So, these various ways of learning are seen as learning styles.

Lifelong Learning

This is a term that is used interchangeably with the term CPD (continuing professional development). Both terms refer to the idea that we can still learn after leaving school, college or university in that learning is a lifetime process. These terms thus are often used for adult education such as for night school classes or for any other learning we do as an adult.

Longitudinal Study

A study which takes place over a length of time (can be years or even decades) and which measures the same research subjects over this period. This type of study aims to see the changes which the individual subjects produce over time.


Management Skills

Management skills refer to those skills that a manager needs to do his/her job well. So, if a company requires management skills training for its senior members of staff, it means that they need to develop skills such as delegation, decision making, motivating people and problem-solving.


Metacognition is the ability to ‘think about thinking’. Metacognitive skills that are useful for learning include the ability to self-assess, problem-solving and evaluating how to approach a difficult task. You can learn more about metacognition here.

Mixed Methods

Research is said to use mixed methods when researchers use more two or more methods to gather data. For example, using interviews, observations and surveys.

Researchers use mixed methods when they want to investigate a phenomenon from more than one point of view, to get a more complete picture of it.


Needs Assessment

Needs assessment is the process of identifying gaps between the current condition and a desired (better) condition. In the field of training and teaching, needs assessments are run to identify if and in what areas people (for example employees) need to learn something that can improve their performance.


Netnography is a word coined by Prof Kozinets which means online ethnography.

The term ethnography refers to a research approach in which the researcher engages with the population they study by doing interviews, carrying out observations and studying their texts and artefacts.

Netnography is the online equivalent of traditional ethnography but carried out in the online environment. So, a researcher will, for example, observe how people interact online and what type of content they produce.


Off-the-shelf Training

This is a term that is often used to refer to training course materials that are instantly usable in the same way that something you buy in a shop can be taken off the shelf and instantly used.


Onboarding is a common term in reference to new hire employees. The concept of onboarding is that, as the term suggests, you want to get the new staff onboard as quickly as possible.

In this context, being onboard means up-to-date such as on the company ethics, way of working, standards and technical matters. So, onboarding training can be a very technical thing specific to the company, or it can be a case of providing all new employees with training such as in Digital wellness, mental health awareness at work, or even Conflict Management training (so that new staff understands the company’s way of working).

Online Whiteboard

An online whiteboard is the virtual equivalent of a physical whiteboard. With an online whiteboard, teachers and learners can collaborate; write and draw on it; share it, and save it.

Online Learning

Online learning is learning that takes place over the internet and thus it requires an internet connection. It can happen synchronously (with teacher and learners interacting in real-time via web conferencing) or asynchronously (whereby the lessons or teaching materials are pre-recorded) or a combination of both.

Online learning can, in some cases, happen at the same time as in person teaching. For example, during a lecture, the teacher can ask the learners to use an online tool to access a poll or to post on a virtual board where learners can cooperate with each other and share the results with the rest of the class.

Online Research Panel (or a Web Research panel)

A pre-organized panel of people who can be contacted and asked to answer questions via online methods. They are frequently asked questions about a range of subjects and issues.



This term refers to the different teaching methods and practices. Pedagogy is especially useful for those interested in how people learn in different ways such as through touch, sound, memorisation and how we learn in different ways.

Personal Skills

Personal skills is another way of referring to soft skills. These are those skills that help a person navigate life and are his/her strengths.

Some of the personal skills that employers seek in an employee include problem-solving, critical thinking, assertiveness, good communication skills and time management.

Positive Reinforcement

In psychology, positive reinforcement is based on the idea that, if we give a reward to somebody in exchange for them to adopt a certain behavior, they will be more likely to adopt that behavior again in the future.

In teaching and education, teachers can use positive reinforcement to encourage students to adopt a desired behavior. Positive reinforcement must be appropriate to the learner’s age and to the context of learning and it must come across as genuine.

For adult learners, for example, a teacher can give praise or positive feedback when learners make an effort to contribute to a class discussion, or the teacher can offer sweets as a ‘thank you’ for a classroom activity that learners carry out.


Presenteeism refers to the practice of coming to work despite illness or injury, thus reducing productivity (also see absenteeism on this page). Learn more about presenteeism here.

Probability Panel

A way of surveying a certain number of people who act as a cross-section for a given society. Each person in the society being studied (often a national based society population) should have an equal chance of being asked to participate or should be represented. Scientific methods are used to ensure that a fair representation panel is used.

Problem Based Learning (PBL)

Problem-based learning means that the teacher, instead of presenting the learners with an answer, presents them with a problem for them to solve. Using case studies is an example of problem-based learning.


Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is a type of research that gathers non-numerical data. The focus of qualitative research is on understanding a phenomenon in depth, rather than measuring it quantitatively.

For example, instead of how asking ‘how many people buy product x’ a researcher would ask ‘why do people buy product x’. So, qualitative research focuses on motivations, meanings and drives.

The most common data gathering techniques that qualitative research employs are in-depth interviews, focus groups and observations.



In research, reflexivity refers to the process by which a researcher reflects on their own biases and how they might have affected the research process and the findings.

Reflexivity also involves the researcher’s reflection on how their role might have influenced the participants. For example, during an interview, if the researcher is an expert in a field, did the interviewee feel intimidated and therefore prone to give answers that would agree with what they thought the researcher wanted to hear?


A role play is an educational approach whereby the participants act out a scenario (set by the teacher) that mimics real-life situations. It allows students to practice and discuss real-life interactions in a safe environment.

Classroom lesson plans


Self-Directed Learning

With self-directed learning, individuals are completely in charge of their own learning. They search and select the sources to use, decide what to study and plan their own learning activities and the pace of study.


When used in training courseware and materials, SMART is an acronym that expresses when you meet a goal using Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-efficient objectives.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are all those skills that help a person interact well with others and navigate any situation in life. These are psychological skills but can be also practical. For example, time management, communication ability, languages, certain personality traits, being mindful can all be soft skills.

Synchronous Learning

Synchronous learning takes place when students learn at the same time and interact with the teacher. Examples of synchronous learning include lectures or workshops, which can take place either in a physical classroom or online through technologies such as video conferencing.


Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge includes all the things that we learn through our personal experiences but that are very hard to write down, communicate or transmit. Tacit knowledge is unique to individuals and it includes skills that are extremely hard to teach, such as intuition or emotional intelligence.

Time Management

Time management is a process whereby you decide how to plan and prioritize tasks, so you spend your time on the most fruitful activities.

Training Course Materials

When using the term ‘Training course materials’, such as on this site, we are referring to a package that contains everything you need in terms of teaching aids, to provide a training course on a given topic.

What's included in the training course materials

So, with our training course materials, we include all of the following as digital files that are delivered as a Zip file:

  • PowerPoint slides (PPT)
  • Teacher’s handbook
  • Student’s handbook
  • All the forms you need
  • Classroom activities are included in the PowerPoint lessons.
  • Course outline

Training Design and Training Designer

Training design tends to be where courseware is designed for general sale or as a bespoke training materials package, for trainers.

Training course design is a skill that requires a good understanding of teaching methods, pedagogy, and the subject area that the training will cover.

Transcription Process

Transcription process refers to the act of transcribing the recordings from an interview or focus group as part of the research process, in order to then analyse the data.



An unconference differs from a traditional conference in the sense that, while conferences are top-to-down events with set agendas, unconferences are driven by the participants.

Unconferences do not have pre-planned agendas. Instead, participants convene and decide what topics they want to cover. Also, unconferences involve participation and creativity through activities as opposed to a lecturing approach.

Unconferences are very useful for problem-solving and in situations in which creativity is particularly needed. This type of meeting is best suited for small groups of focused individuals and as an alternative approach to traditional meetings, to increase staff’s willingness to attend.

Unconscious Bias (No Bias) Training

In the workplace (and in our non-working life) we often have unintended biases. These biases are often not maliciously intended but occur as a result of our history, background and other things that have shaped who we are.

The intention, with ‘No Bias’ or ‘Unconscious Bias’ training, is to help us see the biases that we might otherwise not know we have.

This is particularly important in workplace training because it is important that we give equal opportunities to our team such as when there is a chance to promote someone.

Unconscious bias and no bias training materials
Unconscious and No Bias Training


VAK Learning Styles Model

VAK stands for Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic. According to the VAK learning styles model, there are three styles of learning.

The visual style involves the use of visual cues, such as pictures, diagrams or demonstrations. The auditory style involves the use of auditory cues, such as the spoken word, sounds or noises and the kinesthetic style involves physical experiences, such as touching, movement and hands-on experience.

Although each person may prefer one dominant style, in actual fact we all tend to use a mix of styles. A teaching session that uses all three styles, is more likely to appeal to all learners, regardless of their favorite style.

Virtual Classroom

A virtual classroom is a teaching session that happens online (using web-conferencing software), in real time and is very interactive.

So far, you might think that this sounds very much like a webinar. However, there is an important difference between a webinar and a virtual classroom. A webinar can be considered the equivalent of a traditional lecture, whereby the teacher gives information to learners, and learners are allowed to ask questions at some point and can even be involved with polls and quizzes.

A virtual classroom instead, requires the participants to interact with each other as well as with the teacher. The teacher does not give all the information upfront, but lets the learners come up with some of the answers. So, a virtual classroom involves active learning.

To run a virtual classroom, you need a type of web conferencing software that includes online whiteboards and breakout rooms that allow participants to work in small groups.

Vocational Training

Vocational training is a type of training that prepares people for a specific trade or craft. Vocational training is usually practical in nature, and it can be considered the opposite of academic training, which instead is more theory-based.


Web-Based Training

Web-based training happens using the medium of the Internet and it is sometimes referred to as e-learning. Web-based training can happen on an individual basis (one trainer teaches one individual, using a system such as Skype) or with one teacher training a whole classroom of people through a video conferencing system. Learners can be sat together in the same physical classroom or be in separate physical locations.


Webinar (short for web-based seminar) is an online seminar. A webinar is run using web conferencing software (such as Zoom or Skype) and is live and interactive.

So, the teacher teaches in real-time and can share sound, video, files, text and share their screen with the participants. The participants can, in turn, interact back in the same way. Webinars are live but can be recorded to be watched again at a later time and the videos can be shared, for example on YouTube.

Whole-brain Learning

Whole-brain learning is based on Ned Herrmann’s whole brain model. According to Herrmann, the brain has four quadrants when it comes to learning and each quadrant has its own thinking and learning style.

Depending on which quadrant you engage, you will apply a different learning style. The four quadrants are: analytical (linked to the upper left part of the brain), practical (lower left part of the brain), relational (lower right brain) and experimental (upper right brain).

The idea is that, although each of us has preferences, we are all capable of using all four parts of the brain. As a result, teaching that appeals to the whole brain is more likely to be effective for everybody and to attract every learner’s attention.

Workplace Training

Workplace training tends to refer to training for employees that takes place in a work environment. Classic workplace training can include quite bespoke courses such as on very technical topics related very specifically to a certain job. An example can be workplace compliance training, i.e. health and safety on a building site training.

Alternatively, workplace training is often about generic courses aimed at all employees and these can, for example, include:


A worksheet in relation to training materials is a printed piece of paper (but it can be also produced electronically for online courses), where learners are required to write down information. For example, they can fill in blanks, do exercises, answer questions, solve problems etc.



Zoom is a type of web conferencing software that allows teachers to run webinars and virtual classrooms. Zoom allows teachers to communicate with learners via video and audio, share their screen, write in chat boards. cooperate using online whiteboards and separate learners in small groups via breakout rooms.

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Valeria has been involved with education for over 16 years. She has taught in the UK at the University of Bath and Cardiff Metropolitan University (where she got her PhD), in addition to working as a researcher at Exeter University. Valeria additionally has several years of experience of also working with Ofsted and Cardiff University in management roles.

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