Table of Contents

If the words we use matter so much, perhaps we need to be bilingual.

Is it a “learning experience” or a “training session”? Are they “goals” or “learning objectives”?

A few days ago, a non-L&D friend of mine was telling me about a company newsletter she had to release and an internal L&D person insisted that she use the term “learning” instead of “training”.

“What does the even mean? People understand ‘training’.”

She was right. This whole idea that we want learning to be a lifelong experience and that “training” represents an event, is a concept that gets a lot of mileage within L&D circles, but there are very few other people who actually care about this. 

As a sort of experiment to see what kinds of words I use most, I went back and examined the titles of all 629 blog posts that have been published on Train Like A Champion and turned it into a word cloud. This is what the word cloud generator generated:

learning & development word cloud

As I stared at this for a while, I wondered what this meant. It was an interesting image, but so what?

L&D is big and in the middle, which makes sense because that’s my audience. The next biggest words are PowerPoint and training.

In a world that rolls its eyes at poor PowerPoint use, and begs people to find more engaging ways to present, there seem to be a lot of posts on this site focused on PowerPoint. That’s because PowerPoint (which is the catch-all phrase for Apple users who use Keynote, too) is a reality in just about every training (or is it learning?) program in the world today.

In a world where L&D professionals gleefully boast on Twitter or LinkedIn that they “don’t do” training, but rather they engage in learning experiences, the fact is the rest of the world participates in training sessions. Maybe those sessions are one hour, maybe they’re a week or a year, maybe they’re in-person or maybe they’re online. Whatever we want to call learning experiences, the rest of the world calls it “training”. And we should probably be using the words that resonate most with our customers (or are they learners, participants, attendees, students or audience members?).

Let’s make the highest quality professional development we can, but when it comes to delivering those professional development opportunities, let’s not get caught in the SME jargon trap. Let’s use the language that the rest of the world uses.

I’m curious about your observations on this word cloud. What jumps out for you? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comment section.

Articles Similar to If the words we use matter so much, perhaps we need to be bilingual.

How to create a training plan in under 10 minutes

Using a lesson plan template (which is the most downloaded resource from this blog) can help give you structure. Using Soapbox can save you all sorts of time (and still give your presentation some structure)!

Does training actually change behavior?

Does training actually change behavior? It’s a question we should be able to answer honestly. (And the answer is: No, not 100%… and yes, but seriously, not 100%)

Hybrid Learning: When to use it

Recently I had an opportunity to talk with the folks at Mimeo about hybrid learning and when to use it. In today’s post, I share a link to that podcast, which is one in a series of podcasts they did with industry leaders on hybrid learning strategies.

L&D Lessons Learned from Being a Parent (Part 5 of 5)

Once we get into a comfortable routine, how easy is it to want to try something new? Erin Clarke shares a few ah-ha’s about what she discovered and how she became better when she decided to leave her comfort zone and try something new.

L&D Lessons Learned from being a Parent (Part 4 of 5)

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s what we’re told from a young age, and sometimes that stick-to-it-iveness can be an important skill for children and working professionals alike. But do we always need to figure everything out on our own?

Subscribe to Get Updates from Endurance Learning

Brian Washburn, Author

Brian Washburn
CEO & Chief Ideas Guy

Enter your information below and we’ll send you the latest updates from our blog. Thanks for following!

Grow your L&D Career Today!

The Foundations of L&D course through the L&D Pro Academy provides the concepts and practical experience you need to grow your confidence and abilities as a well-rounded L&D professional.

Enter your email below and we’ll be in touch with an info sheet!

L&D Pro Academy

Find Your L&D Career Path

Explore the range of careers to understand what role might be a good fit for your L&D career.

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the What’s Possible in L&D Worksheet.

What's possible in L&D

Let's Talk Training!

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn
CEO & Chief Ideas Guy

Enter your information below and we’ll get back to you soon.

Download the Feedback Lesson Plan

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the lesson plan as a PDF.

feedback lesson plan
MS Word Job Aid Template

Download the Microsoft Word Job Aid Template

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the Word version of this template.

Download the Free Lesson Plan Template!

Enter your email below and we’ll send you a Word document that you can start using today!

free lesson plan template
training materials checklist

Download the Training Materials Checklist

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the Training Materials Checklist.

Subscribe to Endurance Learning for updates

Get regular updates from the Endurance Learning team.