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101 Corporate traing terms, expressions and terminology



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.

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).

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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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 the learning a lot more interactive.

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.


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.


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.


Online Research Panel (or a Web Research panel)

A pre-organised 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.

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.



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.

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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.


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.


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.

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Valeria is a researcher and a trainer, with over 16 years of corporate experience as a supervisor. She also taught at university level in the UK.

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