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
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
If we look at the distribution of people at
various levels, we can begin to understand a
fundamental difference between
development and learning.