What Is Learning And Development? With Methods And Benefits
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 25 September 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Organisations use learning and development (L&D) to improve the skill levels of their employees. This helps them in addressing the areas where their employees require help and thus improves the overall productivity. If you are working in the human resources department in an organisation or are going to be a part of an L&D program yourself, it is important for you to understand what L&D is and how it may benefit you or other employees in the company.
In this article, we define learning and development, discuss the different phases of L&D, learn the various benefits of L&D and talk about the different L&D methods you may use.
What Is Learning And Development?
Learning and development is a comprehensive process aimed at improving the overall skill levels and competency of the employees of an organisation. Organisations use L&D to ensure that their employees gain any skills they may be lacking with the objective of improving their overall productivity and performance. Learning focuses on the acquisition of new skills and knowledge. Development focuses on ensuring employees are able to get access to any help they may require to achieve their development goals.
Here are the different phases in the L&D process:
1. Analysing the training requirements
The first phase involves analysing the training requirements of a team, a project or maybe the entire organisation. The analysis involves defining which are the skills required for a project and then assessing which employees possess which of those skills. This helps in identifying which employees lack certain skills and they can become part of the training programmes accordingly.
2. Specifying the learning objectives
After finalising the skills to be focussed upon during the training, the next step is to define the learning objectives. It is important that the learning objectives are highly specific and measurable. This helps in creating a learning program that focuses on accomplishing these learning objectives.
3. Designing the training methodology
In this phase, the focus is on the training method. There are many different methods you may use for delivering training. The method you use depends on the type of skills that training is going to focus on, the audience of the training and the budget available.
4. Designing the training material
The next step is to design the training material. In this step, the trainer focuses on developing the training material based on the training requirements and the learning objectives. They may adjust their pre-existing material to make it suitable for the training or they may create new material from scratch. This usually depends on how customised a training is going to be.
5. Delivering the training
In this phase, the trainer delivers the training to the participants. The delivery happens as per the chosen method and using the developed training material. In this phase, the participants are as much involved in the training as the trainer.
6. Evaluation and monitoring
In this phase, you may assess how many of the learning objectives was the training successfully able to meet. This helps in evaluating the effectiveness of the training program. Then there can be constant monitoring to ensure the employees keep working on the learnings from the training. The evaluation of the training and the trainer is also an important part of this phase. The participants can rate the training and the trainer and you may plan future training as per their feedback.
Benefits Of L&D
Here are some of the benefits of L&D:
Helps in learning new skills and filling any skill gaps
L&D programmes help employees in learning new skills. If there are employees who possess most of the skills required for a position and can benefit from learning a few other skills, then helping such employees learn these skills can improve the overall productivity. There can also be situations when a new project comes up and you may be required to assign employees to such a project. In such cases, you may select those employees who possess the most critical skills required for the project and then teach them the other skills they are going to require through an L&D program.
Improves employee engagement and retention
When organisations focus on providing their employees with improvement opportunities, then employees are more likely to stay at such companies. The employees are likely to feel that they are being given opportunities to learn and grow and this may improve their loyalty to the company. This reduces the attrition rate and also reduces the company's expenditure on hiring new employees frequently.
Helps in attracting top talent when hiring for new positions
When applying for new positions, individuals usually look up the company they are applying for before accepting the final offer. They may ask around and even ask the existing employees in a company. When the existing employees tell these prospective employees about the top L&D opportunities available at their organisation, then these prospective employees are more likely to be excited about joining such an organisation. This improves an organisation's chances of attracting top talent to work for them.
Which Are The Different L&D Methods?
Here are the various L&D methods you may use:
These are formal settings where a trainer imparts knowledge to the participants. The participants sit in a classroom and they may take notes or ask questions to the trainer as required. This setting usually involves a formal evaluation at the end of the training, and the participants get scores based on this evaluation.
This method works in a highly interactive setting with the aim of sharing different viewpoints. Participants come together to discuss their views and they learn from each other when others in the group have different ideas about a problem or a project. This method is suitable when the participants are from the same project or have similar seniority within the team or the organisation.
This method involves active participation and organisations use it for team-building exercises. In this method, participants perform group activities like role-playing or various games. The whole idea is that the participants feel comfortable with each other and get to know more about their colleagues in a less formal environment. Organisations typically use such activities as ice-breaker sessions for new hires.
This method involves working with other employees with different experiences or skills to learn from them. This method is useful when a new employee joins a team or project. In such cases, the incoming employee can learn from the existing employees in the team by working with them and observing what activities they perform in their daily work.
This method focuses on skill development. Participants work with a coach and the coach is the driving force for the training. The participants follow and learn from the coach. In this method, a coach is usually a specialist in one or more skills and they focus on teaching the participants about those skills.
Mentoring is a little more strategic in nature compared to the other methods. In this method, a mentor works with the mentee to guide them through phases like a career change or a promotion to a role with much higher responsibilities. Mentoring goes beyond teaching only skills. Mentoring involves a more personalised level of guidance, support and transfer of knowledge.
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