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Learning and Development Buzzwords


From ‘heteronormativity’ to ‘collaborative delivery’, learning and development terms can confuse even the most imaginative and open minded soul. Never fear, though, as we navigate our way through this creative minefield and explain those buzzwords.

Read TrainingZONE member Graham O’Connell’s funny guide to L&D phrases and browse our whirlwind tour of jargon, designed to prepare you against a case of terminal terminology. Don’t say we don’t love you.

Buzz phrases – and what they really mean

Graham O'Connell explains it all:

  • 1."Lets do a creative exercise!"
    Interpretation: You get to crawl around the floor with crayons and I film it for our Christmas party.
  • 2. "Who would like to introduce themselves first?"
    Interpretation: Which egotistical megalomaniac is daft enough to reveal their true self even before we have properly started?
  • 3. "Discuss it in pairs first and then I’ll collect your ideas on the board."
    Interpretation: I have lost the plot and need a few minutes to find my place. Anyway, half of you wouldn’t know a decent idea even if I wrote it on your forehead.
  • 4. "We have one of our senior managers coming in to talk to us this afternoon."
    Interpretation: I have chosen someone so dull that they will even make me look interesting. Besides, you all look like you need an afternoon nap.
  • 5. "I’ll have to get back to you on that one."
    Interpretation: I’ll get you later.
  • 6. "I’ll be covering that in a later session."
    Interpretation: I’d already planned to get you later.
  • 7. "My colleague will be covering that later on."
    Interpretation: We drew straws and I get to watch this time.
  • 8. "We don’t cover that on this course."
    Interpretation: I’ll have to get you next time.
  • 9. "If you have any feedback about the course, do put it on your evaluation form."
    Interpretation: Any upstarts who would dare to question what we do might as well forget it, our forms go straight in the bin.
  • 10. "We welcome your ideas."
    Interpretation: We don’t welcome your ideas but I am not allowed to say that.

  • A guide to the best L&D jargon:

  • Academic Drift: the movement away from vocational study, either by students or institutions.
  • Biphobia: the fear or hatred of people who are, or are thought to be, bisexual.
  • Capacity Building: the process of developing and improving activities that strengthen the ability of organisations to work efficiently and effectively.
  • Collaborative Delivery: learning institutions working together to meet the aims of the 14-19 strategy.
  • Common Inspection Framework: outlines the details of how the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) and the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI) should inspect and evaluate non-higher education for the over 16s in schools and colleges.
  • CCT - Compulsory Competitive Tendering: allows external organisations to put in a tender in order to compete with work which was previously undertaken by the County Council.
  • Credit framework: a set of minimum terms for valuing, measuring, describing and comparing achievement within the National Qualifications Framework and beyond.
  • E-readiness: a measurement of how open and willing a business community is to Internet-based opportunities.

  • e-skills passport: is a web-based service that allows people to assess and record their IT user skills and then create a personal training plan to improve those skills.
  • Embedding: fixing something firmly to something else. In education, the term embedding can refer to the use of information and communication technology, good teaching practice and methods, or basic skills, for example.
  • Heteronormativity: used to describe how heterosexuality is seen as the norm in terms of sexual orientation.
  • Heterosexism: the belief that being heterosexual is superior to any other sexual orientation. It describes the, sometimes subtle, bias where people and organisations expect everyone to live and behave as if everyone were heterosexual.
  • Provider responsiveness: one of the eight measures of the New Measures of Success. It measures how responsive providers are to meeting learner and employer skills needs.
  • Wired up communities: communities which are linked by the internet.

  • Now you're fully prepared for the L&D world, may this guide you well.


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