Home | Glossary

80-20 Rule - 80 per cent of the problem is accounted for by 20 per cent of the causes. Also see Pareto Principle.

8mm a video cassette format used in camcorders. The tape is eight millimetres wide.


A4 - standard paper size (210mm x 297mm)

Alignment - the process of ensuring that all parts of a company are pulling in the same direction.

Artificial Intelligence - apparent computer intelligence which allows a computer to solve problems.

ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A code which uses the numbers to represent digits, upper and lower case letters, punctuation and additional characters such as RETURN.

Assessment - the process of determining the company's or organisation's current situation.

AT - Advanced Technology. IBM PCs or compatibles which are more advanced that the standard PC or XT.

Attitude - a predisposition to behave in one way rather than another.

Authoring tool - software used to create instructional material delivered on a computer system.

Azimuth adjustment - the process of adjusting the angle of the recording/playback head of a tape recorder with respect to the tape.



Behavioural event interviews - a technique, developed by McClelland and Dailey, which is used to identify competencies by getting detailed descriptions of a sample of individuals' performances. The sample includes both average and superior performers but the interviewers are unaware of the interviewees' performance records. The characteristics which emerge are coded, categorised and correlated to performance criteria. Also see our Use Competencies in Employee Development eResource.

Brainstorming - a creativity technique, pioneered by Alex Osborn, which involves the free flow of ideas without judgement or comment. Also see our Brainstorming eResource.

Brainwriting - an idea-generating technique that works well with large groups and combines the features of the various approaches to brainstorming. Mostly used for working on a shared problem, brainwriting is also useful when individuals have different problems that would benefit from group input and advice. Participants record their own ideas in writing and they also have the opportunity to build on others' ideas. Also see our Brainwriting eResource.

Browser - a computer program that is used for searching and reading information on the Internet.



Camcorder - a portable video camers with a built-in video recorder.

CD ROM - a disk for storing computer data. The information is recorded and read by a laser.

CBT - Computer Based Training. Uses a computer to present and control the sequence of instructional information.
CGA - Colour Graphics Adaptor. A standard for a computer's display which has a definition of 640 x 200 dots (pixels) in monochrome and 320 x 200 in four colours from a choice of 16.

Check Chart - a chart that is used for collecting and organising data.

Coaching - a method of helping an individual to develop knowledge or skills through practice, feedback and modelling appropriate behaviour.

Competence - the ability to perform a particular task to the required standard. Also see our Use Competencies in Employee Development eResource.

Competency - a personal characteristic which differentiates the superior performer from the average performer.

Consensus - a 'general agreement' meaning that all those involved support the final decision. Also see
Consensus Briefing.

Control Chart - a chart that displays Statistical Process Control data.

Counselling - an attempt by a counsellor to help a counsellee to explore and own their strengths and weaknesses so that the strengths are reinforced and suitable actions are taken to improve performance.
Critical Path Analysis - uses a network diagram to identify the shortest time for completing a project by highlighting those activities which, if they are delayed, will delay the whole project.

Cycle time - the time it takes to go from the beginning to the end of a process.



Database - a large store of information.

Delphi technique - A method of improving group decision making that involves systematically gathering the judgments of experts and developing forcasts. When using the Delphi Technique, groups do not meet face to face. Also see Delphi Consultation Process.
Disk - a magnetic disc that a computer uses for storing information. There are two types of disk: a hard disk which is rigid, and a floppy disk which is flexible.

Displays - devices which allow users to see the computer's output on a monitor. PC displays have developed over the years yielding greater definition and more colours. Starting with the least sophisticated, the current standards are: MDA, Hercules, CGA, MCGA, EGA, VGA, SVGA and EVGA.

Double-loop Learning - a process by which an organisation not only checks itself against standards but also reviews and challenges those standards.

DVI - Digital Video Interactive. Technology that allows real time compression and decompression of graphics and animated displays.

Duplex - printing on both sides of a sheet of paper.



EGA - Extended Graphics Adaptor. A standard for a computer's display which has a definition of 640 x 350 dots (pixels) in 16 colours from a choice of 64.

E-mail - electronic mail where messages are sent via computer networks.

EPSS - Electronic Performance Support System. Software that helps users perform their jobs more effectively while they work.
EVGA - Extended VGA.

Expert panel - a group of knowledgeable human resource specialists, managers and superior performers who are used to identify competencies.

Expert System - a computer system that stores expert knowledge in the form of rules. It is a tool that can be used by non-experts to make decisions.

Extrovert - a person who tends to direct their energies outward, deriving gratification from, and being concerned with, the physical and social environment.



Face-to-face ratio - the percentage of a trainer's available time that is spent teaching in front of a class.

Facilitating - helping a group free itself from internal obsatacles or difficulties so that it may more efficiently and effectively pursue its objectives for a given situation. A facilitator is a catalyst - someone who precipitates group actions and activities without becoming integrated into the specifics of these processes.

Floppy disk - see 'Disk'.

Flow charts - used for sequencing tasks and charting the results of yes-no decisions.

Focused interviews - used to assess competencies and involve using the same techniques as behavioural event interviewing. Example of questions are: 'Describe a time when you had to work as part of a team to achieve a goal' or 'Tell me about a time in the last 18 months that was a real high point for you'.

Formatting (1) - the process of defining what a document will look like. For example: Margins, top and bottom spaces, page length, tabs and font types.

Formatting (2) - the process of preparing a disk so that it can be used by a computer.



Gantt charts - used to schedule project tasks. Invented by Henry Gantt, they take the form of a horizontal bar chart with time on the horizontal axis and the tasks on the vertical axis. The ends of the bars represent the start and finish times of the tasks. Also see Gantt Charting.

GOQs - Genuine Occupational Qualifications. Qualifications which make it legal to select a person of a particular category whilst excluding people of other categories (e.g. sex or race).Basically these are: Authenticity, privacy, decency, and the laws regulating the employment of women.

Goals - Quantitative figures that are established by top management.

GUI - Graphical User Interface. A screen design employing graphics and colour in a consistent manner so that menus and other system features are easy for users to understand and use.



Hard disk - see 'Disk'

Hardware - computer equipment such as computers, printers and plotters.
Hercules - a graphics standard for a monochrome computer display giving a definition of 720 x 348 dots (pixels).

Histogram - a graph in which frequency distribution is shown by means of vertical bars.

HRD - Human Resource Development. Used to be known as Personnel.

HRDC - Human Resource Development Committee. A committee of peer managers who meet to make, review or approve decisions related to the organisation and development of people in their areas.

HRM - Human Resource Management or Human Resource Manager. (Previously known as Personnel or Personnel Manager)

HTML - HyperText Mark-up Language

Hypertext - electronic information that is linked so that users can easily move from one topic to another.



In-tray exercise - a simulation exercise in which participants work through a typical 'basket of items'. It includes 'big picture' items as well as looking at more detailed issues. Items include memos, data analysis and problems which require urgent attention. It is a timed exercise and they are expected to prioritise their responses.
Internet - a global network of interconnected computer networks.
Introvert - a person who tends to direct their energies inward, shrinking from social contacts and being preoccupied with their own thoughts.
IPD - Institute of Personnel and Development, now CIPD.
IPM - Institute of Personnel and Management. Now combined with the ITD to form the IPD.
ITD - Institute of Training and Development. Now combined with the IPM to form the IPD.

IVD - Interactive Video Disc. Video images stored on an optical disk so that a companion computer can control their presentation, based on user responses.



Job element analysis - identified by Boyatzis as a weighted list of characteristics that managers perceive as important in distinguishing superior from average performers.



Kaizen - the Japanese for 'continuous improvement'.

Kilobyte - a measure of a computer's memory. One kilobyte of memory will store approximately a thousand characters - about two and a half pages of A4.

Knowledge - usable information that an individual has in a particular area. Examples: understanding the art and science of management; understanding what motivates employees.



Learning - An organism is said to have learnt when it has increased its options for applying new or different behaviour to a specific set of circumstances which the organism believes will be to its benefit. Also see Definition of Learning.

Learning Organisation - an organisation which facilitates the learning of all its members and continuously transforms itself to achieve superior competitive performance. Also see our Learning Organizations: What they are and how to implement them' eResource.



Management by Objectives (MBO) - an objective-setting process which increases commitment by involving employees in setting their own objectives. MBO was championed by Peter Drucker.
MCGA - MultiColour Graphics Array. A standard for a computer's display which has a definition of up to 640 x 200 dots (pixels) in monochrome and 320 x 200 in 256 colours from a choice of 262,144.

MCI - Management Charter Initiative
MDA - Monochrome Display Adaptor. The original standard for a computer's display. It can only display text in 25 lines of 80 characters.

Mediating - a voluntarily agreed process whereby the parties to a dispute use the services of a neutral mediator to facilitate negotiations between them.

Mentoring - process in which an experienced member of an organisation, other than the line manager, coaches and advises a less experienced employee on career development.

Mission - a statement of what the company or organisation exists to do today.

Motive - reasons (e.g. achievement, affiliation and power) that drive, direct and select an individual's behaviour.

Mouse - a hand operated device for selecting text and objects on a computer screen. Moving the mouse over a flat surface causes a corresponding movement to a pointer (usually an arrow shape) on the computer screen. Pressing a button on the mouse selects the text or object which the arrow is pointing to.

MS-DOS - Microsoft Disk Operating System. The standard, single-user system for IBM, and IBM compatible, computers.



NTSC - National Television System Committee. An American television standard.

NVQs - National Vocational Qualifications.



OCR - Optical Character Recognition. The ability of a computer to scan a paper document and 'read' the text into its memory.

On-line reference - reference information presented on a computer screen. Often employs hypertext technology.

Operating system - a piece of software which carries out a computer's basic functions. A computer has to have an operating system installed before it can run other programs.

Opportunity Statement - a statement which defines an opportunity by describing the difference between 'what is' and 'what could be'. Also see Problem Statement.

Organization development - the process of planned change and improvement of organizations.



Paired Comparisons - a method of ranking items by comparing every item with every other item, taking them two at a time. Also see our Paired Comparisions eResource.

PAL - Phase Alternation by Line. A television standard used mainly in Europe.

Panning - the side-to-side rotation of a film or video camera.

Pareto Principle - a technique which argues that relatively few causes account for the greater part of an effect. Also known as the 80-20 rule. Also see our Pareto Analysis eResource.

PC - Personal Computer.

Philosophy - a statement of a company's values and beliefs.

Pixels - are picture elements - the individual dots of a computer screen's image.

Policy - a medium to long-term course of action comprising a goal and a strategy.
Policy Deployment - the process for ensuring that a company's policies are understood from the highest to the lowest levels in the company. Also see our
Policy Deployment eResource.

Printer's dummy - an example of a finished document so a printer can see exactly how the materials should be produced.

Problem Statement - a statement which defines a problem by describing the difference between 'what is' and 'what should be'. Also see Opportunity Statement.



QCD - Quality, Cost and Delivery.



RAM - Random Access Memory. A computer's internal memory - measured in kilobytes.

Read Only Access - a restriction on a computerised records system that allows a person to read the records but does allow the person to amend, add or remove a record.
Repertory Grid - a technique, developed by Kelly, which takes three individuals at a time from a sample that contains both average and superior performers. An expert panel are then asked in which way two of the individuals are similar to each other and different from the third. These similarities and differences form the basis of a set of competencies which are related to superior performance.

Role play - a simulation exercise in which participants 'act-out' a typical situation.



Scientific Management sets out to increase productivity by developing performance standards on the basis of systematic observation and experimentation. Frederick Taylor was known as the father of scientific management.

SECAM - S�quential � m�moire. A French television standard. Also used in the Soviet Union.

Simplex - printing on only one side of a sheet of paper.

Single-loop Learning - a process by which an organisation checks itself against standards but does not review and challenges those standards.

Skill - an individual's behavioural demonstration of proficiency or expertise - the ability to do something well. Examples are: interviewing effectively; selecting the best job applicant; assigning work clearly and effectively.

SME - Subject Matter Expert. People who support training development by providing expertise on specific topics to be covered in the training.

SPC - See Statistical Process Control.

Software - the programs that are used by computers. Software is to a computer what a compact disc is to a compact disc player.

Stakeholder - a person who has a vested interest in the outcome of an event. Stakeholders usually have the power to positively or negatively influence the outcome even though they may not take any direct part in the event.
Statistical Process Control - a method used to determine whether variation in a process is normal or abnormal. A decision can then be made whether to adjust the process.

Stens - a means of giving a 1 to 10 score for normally distributed data. One Sten is equivalent to one half of a Standard Deviation.

Strategy - the means of achieving a goal.

SVGA - Super VGA.



Team building - programmes designed to assist a work team in developing into mature, well-functioning team by helping it define its goals or priorities, analyse its tasks and the way they are performed, and examining the relatioships among the people doing the work.

Tilting - the up and down rotation of a film or video camera.

Tracking - physically moving a film or video camera either parallel or at right angles to the subject.

Training - the transfer of defined and measurable knowledge or skills.

Training philosophy - a statement of a company's or organisation's attitude towards training.

Trainee Centred Learning - a form of training where a student's progress (and hence pace) through a course depends on the student's readiness to move on to the next learning stage. Usually involves a form of programmed instruction. Also called self-paced learning.

Trait - a relatively enduring characteristic of an individual's behaviour. Examples: being a good listener; having a sense of urgency.

Triad - a group of three students working together on an exercise.



U-matic - a semi-professional video format. It used to be the standard for trained videos but it now being replaced by VHS.

UNIX - a computer operating system that supports multitasking and is ideally suited to multiuser applications.



Value - something that is held to be important by the individual. Examples: education; honesty; openness.
VDU - Visual Display Unit. The 'box' which houses a computer's screen.
VGA - Video Graphics Array. A standard for a computer's display which has a definition of 640 x 480 dots (pixels) in 16 colours and 320 x 200 in 256 colours from a choice of 262,144. SVGA and EVGA are extensions of VGA with definitions of up to 1,024 x 768 pixels.
VHS - Video Home Standard. A domestic video standard. Now increasingly being used as the standard format for training videos. See also U-matic.

VHS-C - a video cassette standard that is used in camcorders. It can be clipped into a carrier which allows it to be viewed on a domestic video recorder.

Virtual network - a network whose members do not meet physically.

Vision - an inspiring 'picture' of where the company or organisation wants to be in the future.

Voice mail - a process by which recorded messages can be left and retrieved by telephone.



XT - eXtended Technology. A more sophisticated version of the original IBM PC.



Zooming - adjusting the lens or resolution of a camera so that the subject appears to get larger or smaller.


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