Prioritizing Who for Formal Learning LO20530

Roy Benford (
Sun, 31 Jan 1999 21:00:07 +0000

Replying to LO20498 --

A fascinating question Diane.

Although we share a common language, I would not use learning in the same
way that you have done. I would use the word skill rather than learning.

In my use of the words, skills are things that we need to do jobs. So the
basic skills required in your local government could be Word6,
Spreadsheets, Book-keeping, Accountancy, Computer Programming, Java, etc.
In this terminology, it becomes "skills analysis" and "skills deficit"
rather than "learning needs analysis" ie what basic skills does somebody
require to do a job and what are they missing.

In my use of the words, learning is an activity carried out by an
individual. The result of this activity could be that the employee
acquires a skill but it could also be that an employee acquires an
understanding of new legislation, or of traffic problems in a town, or of
new managerial techniques. I see the first type of learning, ie acquiring
skills as an HR function which is part of ensuring that a department is
equipped with appropriatedly skilled staff. I see the second type of
learning as part of the normal functioning of a department and outside the
province of HR. Of course, every departmental manager will try to slide
some departmental learning costs onto HR, it helps their budget.

As for how do you decide priorities. Well is that not down to
organisational democracy which, in my view, should be carried out on an
open and informed basis.

Roy Benford
Fulmer, UK


Roy Benford <>

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