L&D Jargon Buster

Blog Images_5-01If you work in L&D you’re going to have to, at some point, talk to someone in the rest of the business.  Unfortunately, to the rest of the business you’re going to sound a little weird.  That’s because we’ve developed our own pseudo-scientific sounding jargon over the years to make us sound clever communicate with each other more effectively.

What I want to do is bust the jargon for you so that when you’re speaking to “the business” you’ll have a handy quick reference guide.  Feel free to add more in the comments.

  • Sense-making.  The act of making sense of something.  Also called ‘understanding’ but a bit more scientific.
  • Formal learning.  The foul and nasty thing that ‘the business’ thinks we do.  It’s also the thing that gets us budget to do other stuff.
  • Informal learning.  The cool stuff that we try and convince ‘the business’ that we do.  Difficult to pin down because it can’t be measured.  May have tried to convince someone you do formal in an informal way.
  • Pedagogy.  Literally means: “I’m about to say something that makes no sense but sounds so deeply academically sage that you’ll either nod in thoughtful agreement or look blank and ignore it”.  Please don’t ask me to explain this one.  It’s just true.  If someone uses it in a corporate environment they probably don’t understand it.  It has no place outside an educational institution.
  • Psychometric Testing.  Smoke, mirrors and pixie dust that our friends in HR use to justify their positions and salary.
  • Kirkpatricks Four Levels.  Smoke, mirrors and pixie dust that WE use to justify our positions and salary.
  • Learning styles/NLP/Left Brain Right Brain etc.  Smoke, mirrors and pixie dust we’ve probably believed at some point but are now so ashamed of ourselves that we loudly denounce proponents as heretical fools who just need to be enlightened.
  • Gamification.  A concept that has something to do with that thing that cool kids do.  It might be making some learning into a game, but then again it might be simply putting game elements and mechanics in my learning.  Never really understood at which point the nerds became cool, maybe something to do with google…
  • Social learning.  Something that sounds awesomely, achingly cool because it’s got the world ‘social’ in it and lots of people who know stuff are talking about it.  It might be something to do with learning as a group but frankly, with ‘social’ in the title it’ll be fine.
  • Social media.  Equally achingly cool, equally utopian in it’s implementation inside a large company.  The word ‘social’ is in, so it must be awesome.  Thing is – we are in something called ‘work’…
  • Mobile/mLearning.  The next big thing a few years ago.  Has become THE thing we mustn’t forget in our rush to be relevant and we mustn’t stop thinking about how important and useful it is…  erm… What was it again?  Oh – Mobile.  Yes, well.  That’s HARD you see.  Tricky because of no flash…
  • Meta cognition.  This literally means ‘knowing about knowing’.  It’s a higher order thinking process and has absolutely no place being mentioned when talking to ‘the business’ unless you actually are a university.  Might sound important but comes across as stupid.

Remember, it’s good to poke fun at ourselves every now and again…