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Talent Development Glossary

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"Authorization, Agreement, and Certification of Training" (SF-182)
Governmentwide training form used to request, approve, and certify completion of training courses, conference, seminars, symposia and academic courses. It primary purpose is to document and track employee traininig, especially training paid with agency funds.
360° Feedback Assessment
Assessments submitted by a participant's supervisors, peers and staff for a full picture of the participant's leadership skills. Individual feedback reports present the results of the assessments, highlighting job strengths and development needs.
Accountability System
A system that contributes to agency performance by monitoring and evaluating the results of its human capital management policies, programs, and activities; by analyzing compliance with merit system principles; and by identifying and monitoring necessary improvements.
Accredited Education
Education above the high school level completed in a U.S. college, university, or other educational institution that has been accredited by one of the accrediting agencies or associations recognized by the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education.
Action Learning
Project-based learning directed at important business problems, where the participant works alone, or with cohorts, on a real business challenge while analyzing and discussing progress and lessons learned.
Agency Certification Program
A certification developed by an agency, group of agencies, or other group that demonstrates a person’s proficiency in the job-related competencies/KSAs. An agency certification program does not have to be recognized by a professional community.
The positioning of the human capital system's policies, practices, and strategies in relationship to the agency's strategic plan and performance plan, so what is done in the system is in direct support of the agency's mission, goals, and objectives.
Assessment Tool
A device or method used to measure the degree to which an applicant possesses the competencies or KSAs necessary for successful job performance. Examples of assessment tools include rating schedules, written tests, work samples, and structured interviews.
Authoring Tools or Instructional Tools
Software packages instructional designers use to create and package content to end users. Authoring tools are commonly used to create e-learning modules. They are written to conform to international standards such as Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM). These tools allow for Common authoring tools are Adobe Captivate, Adobe Flash, and Articulate.
An organization change process directed toward continuous improvement. A benchmark is a comparative standard for evaluating accomplishments against known exemplars of excellence. It is a targeted goal beyond current capabilities, but for which the organization is striving. It is a search for best practices among recognized leaders who sustain superior performance and is focused on analyzing what the superior organization did to improve that could be applied in other places.
Best Practice
An innovative and creative human resource (HR) practice, project, activity, or program that facilitates achievement of the organization's mission. The relationship between the practice and its applicability to enhancing the mission is clear, and the practice is easily replicated by other organizations with similar circumstances. Best practices may be considered to be tested solutions to common business challenges.
Blended Training
Training that requires two or more methods of delivery that must be completed in order to satisfy the educationl requirements.
A website which allows an author to share opinions, reflections, and discuss topics in the form of online journals. Learning and development programs can incorporate blogs to provide supplemental course information and updates on course materials. Participants can discuss the course in this space.
Business Case
A method for projecting and documenting the benefits to be gained as a result of investing resources in a given strategy. A business case typically provides a cost/benefit analysis, information on return on investment over time, etc. Business cases tell agencies about the likely consequences of certain actions.
Business Forecasting
Determining future workforce needs by assessing anticipated changes in demographic trends, mission or program changes, external mandates, cyclical workload factors, job evolution, new technology and/or work processes, budget constraints or growth, new organizational designs, etc.
Certificate Program
A training program established or purchased by an agency to provide structured training course(s) to employees to meet an indentified performance and developmental need.
Certification Program
Involves a process in which individuals attain and demonstrate the level of knowledge and skill required to perform in the profession.
Partnering with individuals in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.
Communities of Practice
A group of people bound by a shared interest, purpose, or practice. Within communities of practice, people share ideas and knowledge in many different ways, including real-time collaborative sessions, newsletters, and links to Websites. Communities of practice are often more flexible than formal networks in filling in gaps for community members about how formal training, policies, and procedures work in the "real" world.
A measurable pattern of knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors, and other characteristics that an individual needs to perform work roles or occupational functions successfully. Competencies specify the "how" of performing job tasks, or what the person needs to do the job successfully.
Competency Gap
The difference between the projected or actual availability of mission-critical competencies and the projected or actual demand for such competencies. Identification of current or future gaps typically addresses the size, composition, and competency proficiency levels of the workforce.
Competency Model
A framework that describes the full range of competencies required to be successful in a particular occupation. These models usually describe the required occupation-specific, or technical, competencies and general cross-occupational competencies (e.g., analytical competencies). Competency models are used to support key human capital programs such as selection, career development, training, and performance management.
Competency-Based Career Development Program
A program that focuses on the development of competencies so that employees acquire the critical skills and knowledge needed to perform their jobs and advance in their careers. Competencies define the clusters of knowledge and skills collectively needed for successful job performance and are directly related to achieving the agency's mission and goals. Through competency-based career development programs, agencies ensure they cultivate the skills and knowledge needed by the workforce to carry out mission requirements.
An organized learning event that has an announced educational or instructional purpose; more than half the times is scheduled for a planned, organized exchange of information between presenters and audiences which meets the definition of training in 5 U.S.C. 4110; content of the conference/retreat is germane to improving individual and/or organizational performance; and developmental benefits will be derived through the employee's attendance.
Continued Service Agreement

An agreement an employee makes to continue to work for the Government for a pre-established length of time in exchange for Government sponsored training or education.

An employee selected for training for more than a minimum period prescribed by the head of the agency shall agree in writing with the Government before assignment to training that he will—

  1. continue in the service of his agency after the end of the training period for a period at least equal to three times the length of the training period unless he is involuntarily separated from the service of his agency; and
  2. pay to the Government the amount of the additional expenses incurred by the Government in connection with his training if he is voluntarily separated from the service of his agency before the end of the period for which he has agreed to continue in the service of his agency.
Correspondence Training
Self-study course material:Training provided via the assignment of non-interactive methods, such as book, document, regulation or manual.
A temporary assignment of an employee to a different position for a specified period, with the employee returning to his or her regular duties at the end of the assignment. A detail assignment implies that there is a vacant position available for the candidate to occupy which requires a Standard Form 52 preparation and submittal through proper channels.
Developmental Assignment
Work assignment designed to provide exposure to different leadership experiences and perspectives. They include, but are not limited to, rotations, shadowing, and project which provide visibility at high levels of organizational leadership as well as critical knowledge for long-term career planning.
The level of achievement of program goals and the results intended (as defined in strategic plans and in legislation). Examples include the percentage of trainees employed 1 year after completing job training, the rate of compliance in filing tax returns, and the percentage of customers/employees satisfied in relation to relevant indices.
The ratio of the outcome or output to the input of any program; the degree to which programs are executed or activities are implemented to achieve results while avoiding wasted resources, effort, time, and/or money.
Established contact hours
The number of academic credit hours assigned to a course(s) times the number of weeks in a term times the number of terms required to complete the degree.
Executive Coaching
A confidential, one-on-one partnership between a leader and a coach to improve management or leadership performance and development.
Executive Development Plan

A detailed guide of developmental experiences to help SES members, through participation in short-term and longer-term experiences, meet organizational needs for leadership, managerial improvement, and organizational results.

SES members are required to prepare, implement, and regularly update an EDP as specified by 5 CFR 412.401

External Coach
A professional coach who is either self-employed or partners with other professional coaches to form a coaching business.
Federally Mandated Training
Mandatory training for all employees Governmentwide or in some cases, groups of employees across Federal agencies and departments
Government Employees Training Act (GETA), Public Law 85-507
Enacted in 1958, established a flexible framework for Federal agencies to plan, develop, establish, implement, evaluate, and fund training and development programs designed to improve the quality and performance of their workforce and achieve their mission. GETA is codified in chapter 41 of title 5, United States Code
Government Facility
Property owned or substantially controlled by the Government and the services of any civilian and military personnel of the Government
Individual Assessment
Analyzes how well an individual employee is doing a job and determines the individual's capacity to do new or different work. Individual assessment provides information on which employees need training and what kind.
Individual Development Plan
A tool to assist employees in achieving their personal and professional development goals. IDPs help employees and supervisors set expectations for specific learning objectives and competencies. While an IDP is not a performance evaluation tool or a one-time activity, IDPs allow supervisors to clarify performance expectations. IDPs should be viewed as a partnership between an employee and their supervisor, and involves preparation and continuous feedback.
Individual Learning Accounts
A base amount of resources expressed in terms of dollars and/or hours that is set aside for an individual employee to use for his or her learning and development. Accounts may be used to develop knowledge, skills, and abilities that directly relate to the employee's official duties. 
Integrated Collaboration Environment or Collaborative Workspace
A virtual environment where teams may work on projects and share information. Project teams can access a shared workspace where they upload files and share them with one another. Common examples are Sharepoint, Google Apps, Google Docs, Zoho and Moodle. People may also establish shared spaces to learn from one another either formally or informally. For example, individuals from different agencies involved in training and development may create a workspace to share ideas, experiences, and resources to develop a supervisory training program.
Interagency Training
Training provided by one agency for other agencies or shared by two or more agencies.
Interagency Rotational Assignment
Developmental assignment at an agency different from the one in which the employee has a permanent position.
Internal Federal Coach
A professional coach who is employed within a Federal agency and provides coaching services to other Federal employees across Government.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA's)
The attributes required to perform a job and are generally demonstrated through qualifying experience, education, or training. Knowledge is a body of information applied directly to the performance of a function. Skill is an observable competence to perform a learned psychomotor act. Ability is competence to perform an observable behavior or a behavior that results in an observable product.
Leadership Competency Model
A model that describes the sets of skills and abilities required for individuals to guide the workforce. In the Federal sector, OPM's 1998 Leadership Competency Model (comprised of 27 competencies grouped by five broad dimensions) is the accepted model. It reflects the qualifications necessary to succeed in the Governmentwide Senior Executive Service and is also used by agencies in selecting managers and supervisors.
Leadership Development Program
Formal developmental program that provides leadership training and development opportunities.
Media Sharing
An online environment which allows users to search for photos, videos and/or other media for uses in (among others) presentations, learning materials and coursework. Users publish content to a larger audience. Instructors can record workshops and upload them to an online social network. Common media sharing tools are Flickr, Google+, and Youtube.
 A process that focuses specifically on providing guidance, direction, and career advice. It is usually a formal or informal relationship between two people-a senior mentor (usually outside the protégé's chain of supervision) and a junior protégé.
A popular tool to share knowledge and resources with one another. Instructors can incorporate microblogs to create a community around a course or an activity. Instructors also can post tips, assignments, and other information pertaining to the course. Course participants can summarize information learned during and after courses. Participants at conferences are using microblogs to informally exchange information learned from conference sessions. Common microblogs are Twitter and Yammer.
Mission-Critical Occupations (MCOs)
Occupations agencies consider core to carrying out their missions. Such occupations usually reflect the primary mission of the organization without which mission-critical work cannot be completed.
Mission-related training

Training that supports agency goals by improving organizational performance at any appropriate level in the agency, as determined by the head of the agency. This includes training that:

  1. Supports the agency's strategic plan and performance objectives;
  2. Improves an employee's current job performance;
  3. Allows for expansion or enhancement of an employee's current job;
  4. Enables an employee to perform needed or potentially needed duties outside the current job at the same level of responsibility; or
  5. Meets organizational needs in response to human resource plans and re-engineering, downsizing, restructuring, and/or program changes.
Mobile Learning (M-learning)
Mobile Learning focuses on learning across contexts and locations by the means of mobile devices (e.g. laptops, cell phones, personal digital assistants, MP3 players, smartphones, game devices, tablet PCs, and e-books). M-learning devices are used to access online courses and resources and can also foster collaboration among individuals, conduct assessments and evaluations, provide access to performance support, and capture evidence of a learning activity.
Needs Assessment
Identify performance requirements and the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed by an agency's workforce to achieve the requirements. A needs assessment is the process of identifying the "gap" between performance required and current performance.
Meeting and developing relationships with other professionals who can assist in the development of one's career.
Non-Government facility
  1. the government of a State or of a territory or possession of the United States including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and an interstate governmental organization, or a unit, subdivision, or instrumentality of any of the foregoing;
  2. a foreign government or international organization, or instrumentality of either, which is designated by the President as eligible to provide training under this chapter;
  3. a medical, scientific, technical, educational, research, or professional institution, foundation, or organization;
  4. a business, commercial, or industrial firm, corporation, partnership, proprietorship, or other organization;
  5. individuals other than civilian or military personnel of the Government; and
  6. the services and property of any of the foregoing furnishing the training.
Occupational Assessment
Examines the skills, knowledge, and abilities required for affected occupational groups. Occupational assessment identifies how and which occupational discrepancies or gaps exist, potentially introduced by the new direction of an agency. It also examines new ways to do work that can eliminate the discrepancies or gaps.
On the Job Training
Formal methods/activities planned and structured to promote learning by doing; e.g., detail assignments/programs.
Organizational Assessment
Evaluates the level of organizational performance. An assessment of this type will determine what skills, knowledge, and abilities an agency needs. It determines what is required to alleviate the problems and weaknesses of the agency as well as to enhance strengths and competencies, especially for Mission Critical Occupation's (MCO).
Overhead Costs
Overhead costs are any costs associated with developing a course such as contractor costs or, if in-house, salary of agency staff to develop the course, building space, utilities, furniture, and any other indirect costs not associated with course delivery. Ideally, these costs will be factored into individuals’ training reported to OPM, however, for now agencies may consider overhead as the cost of the LMS, online libraries and Commercial off the shelf (COTS) products procured for training.
A type of online media delivery allowing users to download files via a feed onto a computer and MP3 player. Podcasts allow learners to access trainings at different times depending on workload and availability. Instructors create course podcasts for learners to download and listen on their MP3 player, mobile phone, and laptop.
Professional Certification
A professional certification is an indicator of proficiency that takes into account the certification that is issued and recognized by a specific general professional community or industry that demonstrates a person’s proficiency in the competencies/KSAs needed to perform the job.
Professional Coach
An individual who offers support through an ongoing partnership designed to help individuals maximize their potential in their personal and professional lives.
Reasonable Accomodation
Reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that allows an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job functions, or enjoy equal access to benefits available to other individuals in the workplace. Agencies are required by law to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship to the agencies. In addition, Executive Order 13164 requires Federal agencies to develop written procedures for providing reasonable accommodation.
Means training and development provided to address an individual's skills obsolescence in the current position and/or training and development to prepare an individual for a different occupation, in the same agency, in another Government agency, or in the private sector.
Return on Investment (ROI)
A comparison of the monetary value of the business impact with the costs for a given human capital program. ROI is usually expressed as a percentage. ROI is part of a comprehensive measurement and evaluation system; there are various models to determine ROI.
Risk Assessment
A determination of the level of vulnerability or likelihood of adverse effects resulting from an action or decision. Risk assessments identify and manage potential risks. In the area of human capital, risk assessments help identify problems that pose high risk to organizational integrity including financial or legal threats, systemic violations of employee protections or veterans' preference, and potential loss of integrity in the public eye. It is growing more common for such assessments to be conducted when undertaking human capital initiatives
Rotational Assignment
Developmental assignment away from an employee's current position. During these assignments, individuals learn to adapt and successfully lead in a new position.
An absence from duty, without charge to pay or leave, that an agency may grant to a Senior Executive Service career appointee to engage in study or uncompensated work experience.
Shadowing Assignment
Observing a Federal leader in daily activities for a defined period of time. By watching leaders in action, the program participant gains exposure to leadership duties, responsibilities and approaches, and observes how concepts learned are applied in real-world situations.
SES Candidate Development Program
Competitive training programs designed to provide employees with strong executive potential the training and development needed to enhance their executive competencies and increase their understanding of the wide range of Government programs and issues beyond their individual agency and profession.  Individual agencies administer their own OPM-approved SESCDPs. 
Social Bookmarks
A system allowing users to collect and store bookmarks online, tag with key words and share those bookmarks and tags with others. This type of tool allows course instructors develop course reading lists. Course participants supplement course material by subscribing to a particular tag or keyword that relates to the course.
Social Network
An online group of people who develop friendships, find professional connections, share interests, and gather knowledge and information. These communities are formed online through social sites. Learning and development programs can utilize these networks to link course participants before and after a training event to share knowledge and ideas regarding the course. Instructors and participants provide links to articles, webinars, and on-the-job examples before, during, and after a training event.
An individual, or group of individuals, who have a significant or vested interest in the outcome of an undertaking, key decision, or venture. In human capital ventures, different individuals and groups often have a shared responsibility for the successful outcome of a program or initiative because they share in the benefits of the program. Congress, customers, managers, and employees are examples of potential stakeholders.
Subject Matter Expert
A person with bona fide expert knowledge about what it takes to do a particular job. First-level supervisors are normally good SMEs. Superior incumbents in the same or very similar positions and other individuals can also be used as SMEs if they have current and thorough knowledge of the job's requirements.
Succession Planning
Proactive and systematic process where organizations identify those positions considered to be at the core of the organization-- too critical to be left vacant or filled by any but the best qualified persons—and then create a strategic plan to fill them with experienced and capable employees.
Talent Development
Talent Development cultivates a continuous learning and development environment to ensure that an agencies workforce can adapt to globalization, internal restructuring, and adaptations that affect how work is performed. Talent Development activities are aligned to an agencies Talent Management process to ensure that succession planning and retention is the organizational philosophy versus possessing the mindset of replacing the required skills sets. The integration of Talent Development with Talent Management includes the analysis of workforce data to determine how an agency will meet its needs through the development/re-development of talent who possesses the required skills.
Talent Management System
A system that addresses competency gaps, particularly in mission-critical occupations, by implementing and maintaining programs to attract, acquire, develop, promote, and retain quality talent.
Technology Based training
Methods mainly using technology, which may include tutorials embedded in software, CD ROM products, Web-based courses and interactive media
Traditional Classroom training
Individual or multiple person led; face-to-face training.
The process of providing for and making available to an employee, and placing or enrolling the employee in, a planned, prepared, and coordinated program, course, curriculum, subject, system, or routine of instruction or education, in scientific, professional, technical, mechanical, trade, clerical, fiscal, administrative, or other fields which will improve individual and organizational performance and assist in achieving the agency’s mission and performance goals;
Training Program Evaluation
Training program evaluation is a continual and systematic process of assessing the value or potential value of a training program. Results of the evaluation are used to guide decision-making around various components of the training (e.g. instructional design, delivery, results) and its overall continuation, modification, or elimination.
Training Program
Organized set of development activities resulting from a comprehensive needs assessment and directed toward the measurable improvement of individual results while also contributing to achievement of the agency’s mission and performance goals.
Validity Study
A study that determines the extent to which something does what it was intended to do. In the area of talent, for example, an agency might want to validate whether use of a particular recruitment source yielded candidates with the competencies required to support the agency's mission.
Virtual World
A simulated environment where users can interact with one another and create objects through an onscreen avatar. This type of environment allows course participants to attend live workshops and conferences in a virtual classroom or conference space. Participants are able to interact with each other in much the same way as attending a real workshop or conference. Course project teams can meet and collaborate in a virtual space. Organizations have developed courses using a virtual environment to conduct simulations of various situations including disaster preparedness or medical emergencies. Common virtual worlds include Second Life, Protosphere, and Forterra.
A method to allow instructors to conduct live meetings, trainings, and presentations via the Internet. Web-conferences allow participants opportunities to ask questions and participate in polls. Common examples of web-conferencing tools are Webex, Adobe Connect, Goto Meeting and Live Meeting
A website allowing users to create and edit content on any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser. This method is used in learning and development programs to promote collaborative learning and information sharing. Instructors and participants use wikis to create reading lists. Course participants use wikis to for team projects. Organizations use wikis to post internal processes, publish reference guides, and capture best practices.
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