The Learning & Development Spectrum:
Different Approaches to People Development

Organisations use different strategies for developing their people depending on their culture and attitudes. We have clients who use all of these strategies but most tend to have one which is their default. We are happy to work with you and design programmes which fit with your current approach and, if appropriate, help you to broaden the range of development strategies which you employ. You can also download the spectrum and complete a self-assessment for your own purposes.

Download the L&D Spectrum  Download the L&D Spectrum


Main Activities
  • Curriculum of stand-alone training almost exclusively classroom based
  • Mix of technical skills, interpersonal skills and personal development on the curriculum
Core Focus
  • Speed of response to expressed needs Minimise short term costs
  • Use of existing or widely available training solutions
  • Ease of implementation
Driven by 
  • L&D function
Role of
Line Managers
  • Identify and nominate people
  • Specify high level need
  • Free up time to attend courses
  • Provide pre and post course briefing
  • Select topics from a training menu
Role of L&D Professionals
  • Perform basic needs analysis
  • Select providers and administer delivery of courses
Measuring Effectiveness
  • Level one post course questionnaires
Impact or Outcome
  • Almost exclusively driven by the individual participant
Key Questions to Ask
  • Are we delivering the right support in the most effective way?
  • Do you really know how this will drive business performance?
  • Are we responding to a need or a want?


Main Activities
  • Combination of different delivery methods including classroom training, e-learning and follow on external coaching
  • Potentially some limited action learning activity
Core Focus
  • Recognition of need to meet wider range of learning styles
  • Desire to provide more tailored learning solutions for individual
Driven by
  • Line managers
Role of Line Managers
  • Set clear development objectives for individuals as part of appraisal process
  • Free up time for development activity
  • Provide pre and post development briefing
  • Provide access to coaching resource and engage with the development activity
Role of L&D Professionals
  • Perform needs analysis
  • Advise on most appropriate mode of delivery
  • Select providers and administer delivery
Measuring Effectiveness
  • Pre and post development conversations will take place
Impact or Outcome
  • Primarily driven by the individual with personal support provided by line managers, colleague and potentially external coach on ad hoc basis
Key Questions to Ask
  • How do the different delivery methods complement each other?
  • How do we ensure that development activity transfers into long term performance gains?

Main Activities
  • A blended programme of activities comprising training, e-learning, coaching and e-learning with background reading and research
  • Action learning activity
  • Line management coaching and feedback
Core Focus
  • The desire to develop an individual’s full capability
Driven by
  • Individual
Role of Line Managers
  • Work with individuals to establish development objectives and review progress subjectively
  • Complete pre and post learning reviews
  • Support with on-the-job coaching
Role of L&D Professionals
  • Shape the programme working with the individual, line management and providers
  • Act as the main co-ordination point
Measuring Effectiveness
  • Some basic behavioural changes and effectiveness measures agreed
  • Ad hoc measurement and assessment of progress
Impact or Outcome 
  • Individual capability is developed and may be transferred into business performance in the short term
Key Questions to ask
  • How will enhanced capability be translated into increased performance?
  • How do we get each party to see that each has a key part to play in development?
  • How do we sustain the short-term performance and motivation bounce?
Embedding Performance

Main Activities
  • Integrated activities combining skills development with opportunities to apply new skills and behaviours in the business
  • Integrated coaching, attachments & new projects
  • Development is an integral part of the job not an add-on
  • Clearly aligned to roles of individuals
Core Focus
  • Developing long term business performance through teams and individuals
Driven by
  • Genuine team of individual, line manager and L&D function
Role of Line Managers
  • Clarify performance objectives from the business plan and strategy and translate into SMART performance objectives for individuals
  • Provide clear and actionable feedback for team members
  • Contract with them on clear future performance and development objectives to enable achievement
  • Contract with the individual about whole range of development activities with including opportunities for embedding of skills and behaviours within the job
Role of L&D
  • Provide line managers and individuals with tools & resources to shape programmes
  • Provide expert advice on a different approaches
  • Help the organisation to think strategically about what new skills and behaviours are required by the strategy and how to integrate them into the organisation
Measuring Effectiveness
  • Development objectives linked inextricably to business objectives
  • Specific measures agreed and measurement process in place over a 12 month period
Impact or Outcome 
  • The organisation invests in developing performance of individuals and teams
  • Development activity is used to generate business results rather than operating as a disconnected investment and a distraction
  • Capability is translated into business performance
Key Questions to Ask
  • Is our organisation ready to see development in this way?
  • Are our leaders, managers and people aligned and equipped to work together in this way?
  • Does our L&D function have the credibility to work with the business more strategically?