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Jack Quantrill

Learning Design Manager


L&D. We are learning but

are we developing?

We've become used to conflating learning

and development into a single entity: L&D.

Why do we still use both terms if they're the

same thing? What is the relationship between

the two?

L&D has become shorthand for business

training and when we talk of L&D, it's usually

to prioritise learning or to assume that learning

will lead inexorably to development. But is that

necessarily so? Or is learning and

development a misnomer?

Learning v Development

Most definitions agree that 'learning' is about

acquiring new knowledge or skills. Success

can be measured through assessment and

on-the-job performance. Learning can be

formally recognised by badges or certificates

and translated into CPD credits.

'Development' seems far harder to quantify. It

tends to be more nebulous: a soft skill and

something that is left for the individual to

pursue. This lack of clarity has led to

development being neglected, or simply

subsumed into learning or L&D, as though

development is merely a by-product of

learning, something that may happen as a

consequence, but almost accidentally.

Fostering a growth mindset

Cook-Greuter identifies a number of stages in

development, ranging from opportunist at the

bottom of the vertical plane to alchemist at the

top. The table below outlines the

characteristics of each stage and charts the

development journey. It also gives the

percentage of the population at those various


source: Making the Case for a

Developmental Perspective

If we look at the distribution of people at

various levels, we can begin to understand a

fundamental difference between

development and learning.



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