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Building capability: A framework for managing learning and development in the APS


Efficient and effective achievement of government outcomes by Australian Public Service (APS) agencies depends on the capabilities of their people. Capability building, which is central to organisational performance, requires a systematic management approach to learning and development as an integral part of workforce planning.

Learning and development is a key management function for all APS agencies.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) performance audit report Management of Learning and Development in the APS (No. 64 2001-2002) and Benchmarking Study Managing People for Business Outcomes (No. 61 2001-2002) identified opportunities for improvement in the planning, integration, delivery and evaluation of learning and development.

This guide, produced in collaboration between the ANAO and the Australian Public Service Commission, draws on the experiences of the ANAO audit of learning and development, the recent Management Advisory Committee study of organisational renewal, as well as international and private sector trends. It is tailored specifically to the public sector through examples of APS agency better practice experience. The intention is to inform and influence key agency stakeholders as well as to encourage ongoing improvement by those with direct responsibility for learning and development.

This guide articulates the principles and characteristics of a framework for building capability. It provides advice on how to promote learning and development planning; identifies processes to position agencies to achieve good business outcomes; stresses the need for alignment and integration with other workforce activities, such as workforce planning and performance management; and shows the way forward to support a learning culture and articulates governance considerations and appropriate reporting arrangements to fulfil Parliament's accountability expectations.

We would like to acknowledge the professionalism of the APS agencies with whom we have consulted and who contributed to the guide.

PJ Barrett

Andrew Podger
Public Service Commissioner

Introduction and overview

Learning and development requires the same rigour and attention as any other management task. Well managed, learning and development can deliver the right people with the right skills at the right time to enable agencies to deliver government objectives and outcomes into the future.


Well managed, learning and development can deliver the right people with the right skills at the right time

The purpose of this guide is to:

  • provide a better practice model for managing learning and development processes across the APS
  • foster an APS learning culture for better business outcomes
  • provide a source of audit criteria for any future ANAO work in this area.

Learning and development: meeting the challenge

The APS is the major source of skills and intellectual capital used by the government to achieve its objectives and goals. Each agency is now responsible for managing its own learning and development activities to ensure that its staff have the necessary capabilities to achieve the government's goals efficiently and effectively.

This framework does not seek to cover every detail of the management of learning and development. Agencies will need to consider the best way to apply the principles outlined in the framework to best match their particular context and environment.

Key drivers of learning and development in the APS

  • Increased expectations for more responsive and accessible government services have led to different ways of delivering services by the APS. These require new skills, changed work practices and changed cultures. At the same time, the requirement for core public service skills remains. The focus in learning and development has shifted as a result, with more emphasis on producing a flexible and adaptable workforce underpinned by a re-emphasis on sound administrative and financial skills.
  • Shifting attitudes of today's workforce towards learning and development also require a changed response by agencies, reinforcing the need to provide continual learning and development in order to attract and retain staff and to be an employer of choice.
  • The changing size, nature, career intentions and patterns of new entrants and increased lateral engagement of older people, require a more structured approach to learning and development. The APS also faces increased competition for new entrants into the labour market and pressures on the retention of skilled employees.
  • An increased emphasis by the Government and Parliament on performance improvement and accountability for the effectiveness of learning and development outcomes and expenditure, in a more devolved environment, requires rigorous analysis and reporting on learning and development.

The state of play

Recent ANAO audit reports indicate that agencies could improve their planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting to Parliament on the management of learning and development.

Although agencies have made significant efforts to ensure that their learning and development strategies are aligned with business needs, they are still unable to demonstrate the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their investment in learning and development and its contribution to organisational outcomes.1 In particular, the following observations apply:

  • There is a lack of supporting management information and performance measures. Where performance indicators do exist they are, in general, measures of activity rather than effectiveness.
  • As a consequence, agencies are not evaluating learning and development strategies, in part because of the lack of appropriate performance targets and data.

Generally, agencies should increase their focus on integrating, implementing and evaluating people management strategies, systems and processes, including their contribution to business outputs and outcomes.2 Particular attention should be given to the following:

  • Agencies should give priority to the integration of people and business planning.
  • Line managers and HR managers need to work together to adopt more creative, innovative and targeted solutions.
  • Devolution of people management responsibilities needs to be supported by more effective corporate evaluation and promotion of 'better practice', so that individual line managers do not continually 're-invent the wheel' or try to 'muddle through'.

Taking such a strategic approach is made more critical by the changing nature of the APS workforce and wider demographic trends. Specific learning and development needs, reinforced by recent research undertaken for a Management Advisory Committee study of organisational renewal, include the following:

  • effective graduate development programs (including mentoring arrangements)
  • programs to support accelerated skills development and a systematic exposure to different work experiences given the likelihood of a faster progression through the ranks
  • activities to assist those coming in through lateral recruitment to orient them to key elements of the APS values, ethos and processes
  • innovative approaches to learning and development attuned to the greater numbers of employees on part-time and other alternative arrangements and to the geographic spread of the APS workforce
  • a focus on continuous learning and development for older workers to ensure their skills remain current and to enable their participation in the APS for longer periods
  • strategic use of selected mature age workers in coaching and mentoring roles
  • providing employees with development in the areas of stress and time management, mentoring, work/life/health balance and career planning.

Key enabling features in managing learning and development

Everyone has a responsibility in managing learning and development to achieve outcomes efficiently and effectively.

Learning and development are critical processes for enhancing productivity and organisational performance. The management of these learning and development processes is central to their effectiveness. Research shows high-performing organisations in Australia and overseas share certain features in relation to learning and development as follows:

  • They align and integrate their learning and development initiatives with corporate and business planning by reviewing existing activities and initiating new learning programs to support corporate plans.
  • The corporate culture supports these initiatives and addresses cultural barriers to learning.
  • Their managers invest in, and are accountable for, learning and development.
  • They focus on the business application of training rather than the type of training, and they consider appropriate learning options - de-emphasising classroom training and allowing staff time to process what they have learned on the job consistent with adult learning principles.
  • They evaluate learning and development formally, systematically and rigorously.

Culture and learning in the APS workplace

The culture of an APS agency can either inhibit or enhance learning and development, agency performance and the achievement of business outcomes. Cultural 'shaping' can include the use and leverage of:

  • leadership and management styles
  • learning and development activities
  • values, attitudes and behaviours
  • workforce profile, recruitment, induction and outplacement
  • reward and recognition systems (both formal and informal)
  • systems, structures and processes.

Approaches to people management in the APS

Agencies have adopted a variety of overarching frameworks to assess their progress in their approaches to people management, for example, the Investors in People standard (IiP) and/or the Balanced Scorecard as management tools. The principles in this guide are relevant regardless of the overarching framework adopted by agencies. Whatever broad framework is adopted, effective learning and development requires a systematic and structured approach driven from the top if it is to be successful.

What do we mean by learning and development

Learning and development encompasses a wide range of activities designed to improve the capabilities of people. Capabilities comprise not only the technical skills and knowledge people have, but also their attributes, attitudes and behaviours. Learning and development activities can be designed to deliver specific skills in a short period of time to meet an immediate need, or designed to achieve broader requirements over a longer period.

Activities to enable people to acquire new capabilities can include on-the-job training, development opportunities, such as special projects, conferences, secondments, and mentoring, as well as formal classroom training.

Further guidance

This guide should be read in conjunction with:

  • Performance management in the Australian Public Sector: a strategic framework, Management Advisory Committee, Canberra, 2001
  • Planning for the Workforce of the Future - a better practice guide for managers, Australian National Audit Office, Canberra, 2001
  • Performance Management, Australian Public Service Commission, Canberra, 2002, and
  • Organisational Renewal, Management Advisory Committee, Canberra, 2003.

Sources of further insights are at Appendix 3.

A framework for managing learning and development in the APS

A framework for managing learning and development in the APS expands on the workforce planning model in the ANAO better practice guide Planning for the Workforce of the Future.

All agencies are different. They vary, for example, in business focus, size, culture, geographical location, workforce profile, and capability requirements. As such, differences in approach will be warranted. Nevertheless, there are common principles that should be observed and which reflect better practice approaches. Figure 1 illustrates this better practice framework.

A checklist based on these principles and elements is included as figure 2. Agency heads, managers and learning and development personnel can use the checklist to assess their own agency's progress.

Figure 1: A framework for managing learning and development in the APS

Figure 2: A checklist for managing learning and development
Principles Elements Checklist Yet to commence Work in progress Performing
1 Align
learning with the business
Agency capability requirements Do learning and development strategies and plans reflect agency capability requirements against business outcomes as identified in corporate planning documents? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Are agency capability requirements identified and articulated in people management/work force plans? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Governance Does the organisation have a structured and accountable approach to the management of learning and development? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Agency culture Are processes in place to map the agency's culture against the desired culture and do learning and development plans and strategies reflect cultural realities and goals? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Funding mechanisms and processes Are learning and development strategies sufficiently and appropriately funded for short- and long-term future needs? Y/N Y/N Y/N
2 Integrate
learning with HR and other business processes
Other people management strategies and plans Are there mechanisms in place to ensure that all people management strategies are coherent? Y/N Y/N Y/N
People management processes Do employees know and understand the agency's capability requirements? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Are managers and employees aware of their roles and responsibilities regarding individual development and career management? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Agency core business processes Is learning and development considered a legitimate part of day-to-day business? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Are existing business processes and forums used to advance learning and development goals? Y/N Y/N Y/N
HR Management Information Systems (HRMIS) Is there a system that provides for the collection and reporting of minimum baseline data, which is integrated with agency management information systems? Y/N Y/N Y/N
3 Createa learning culture Leading by example Are senior and line managers creating a positive work environment, modelling learning for themselves and supporting learning and development in the agency? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Active commitment Is there appropriate promotion, recognition and resourcing of learning and development by senior management? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Blurring the lines between learning and work Do managers see learning and development as a legitimate and valued workplace activity? Y/N Y/N Y/N
4 Provide
appropriate learning options
Needs-based content Are learning and development options based on organisational, business unit and individual priorities and needs? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Appropriate interventions Are learning and development options cost-effective, relevant and action-oriented to facilitate transfer of learning to the workplace? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Are learning and development options varied, timely, flexible, collaborative, and compatible with individual learning styles and adult learning principles? Y/N Y/N Y/N
5 Manage learning effectively Value for money service delivery Do you know that your learning and development function is delivering value for money? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Effective stakeholder relationships Are stakeholder relationships with staff, managers, service providers, executive, Parliament effective? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Monitoring and reporting Are there systems in place to monitor and report on learning and development activities? Y/N Y/N Y/N
6 Support
application of skills in the workplace
Supportive workplace environment Are mentoring and coaching by managers on the job a part of learning and development in the agency? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Opportunities to apply new skills Are there incentives in place to ensure that line managers encourage and provide opportunities to test and develop new skills? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Opportunities to disseminate new knowledge Are there support and assistance systems available to advise and support managers and individuals in identified capability areas? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Are staff encouraged to share learning in specific subject matter / specialist areas through knowledge networks? Y/N Y/N Y/N
On-the-job performance evaluation Do staff and managers translate performance management activities into development action plans? Y/N Y/N Y/N
7 Evaluate learning and development Relevance Do learning and development investments address business, capability and individual needs? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Appropriateness Are learning and development investments appropriate in terms of time, cost, quality and integration with other strategies and practices? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Reaction Are learners satisfied with the accessibility and quality of learning and development? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Capability acquired Have learning and development improved individual and agency knowledge, skills, and competency? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Performance on the job Has learning been transferred to the workplace? Y/N Y/N Y/N
Outcomes Do you assess the outcomes of learning and development? Y/N Y/N Y/N

Principle 1: Align learning with the business

Element Description Suggested indicators of success
Agency capability requirements Identify short and long-term organisational capability requirements and establish learning and development strategies and plans that are aligned with desired agency outcomes as identified in key planning documents such as:
  • corporate plans, Portfolio Budget Statements and business unit plans
  • workforce/people management strategies.

As set out under Principle 4, the capability requirements should cover subject matter, skills and knowledge relevant to the agency's or business unit's role and challenges, as well as broader capabilities in management and leadership.

  • Agency capability requirements and related learning and development key result areas are articulated in plans at all levels and clearly communicated to staff and stakeholders.
  • Comprehensive workforce plan/people management plans,which balance organisational and individual needs in the short-term as well as focusing on longer-term workforce development
Governance Ensure appropriate governance structures include clear lines of responsibility and reporting to reinforce the link between organisational capability needs and the formulation of learning and development strategies and resulting activities.
  • Governance structures provide an effective mechanism for actively managing the agency's learning and development strategy and activities.
  • Clearly established and articulated roles and responsibilities for formulating and implementing and monitoring learning and development strategies. Possible roles and responsibilities are at Appendix 1.
Agency culture Articulate what the current culture 'looks and feels' like and map this to the desired culture necessary to achieve business objectives. Take into account:
  • APS and any agency specific values
  • your agency's demographic profile
  • any agency client service charter
  • possible differences at regional level
  • environmental factors such as:
    • funding issues
    • legislative and privacy or security requirements
    • workplace relations issues.
  • Identification of issues through, for example, regular staff surveys
  • Anticipating and planning for workplace relations issues
Funding mechanisms and processes Ensure that funding is allocated against organisational priorities, including any regional needs, and that responsibility for funding types of learning and development (e.g. what is a corporate responsibility and what is a line management responsibility) is clear.
  • All strategies fully costed including indirect costs
  • Key responsibilities for learning clearly articulated
  • HRMIS/Financial Management Information System track and report on learning and development budgets and costs

Case studies

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT): learning and development planning

DFAT has developed a systematic approach to learning and development planning to ensure alignment to corporate priorities, and integration with other people management strategies. Priorities include both generic administrative and management skills and foreign affairs specific knowledge and professional capacities.

The success of the initiative is based on:

  • the commitment of the Secretary
  • extensive consultation
  • establishing clear priorities for learning and development based on corporate business goals
  • an integrated Professional Skills Program.

Statement of learning and development priorities

A number of agencies annually derive a set of priorities for learning and development that reflects the business needs of the agency overall for that year. This provides the basis for the development and promotion of agency-wide learning and development programs and assists line managers and individuals to make choices about appropriate learning and development activities. These are generally promoted on the intranet and by brochures.

  • The Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTARS) has a Secretary's Statement of Future Skills Requirements, reviewed annually, which establishes the basis for skills development in the department. The statement lists a series of work practice and work culture skills that are regarded by both staff and managers as the core skills set required to be an effective employee of the department.
  • The Department of Education Science and Training (DEST) uses a high-level strategic statement that lists organisational priority areas to guide management and staff in selecting appropriate learning and development opportunities.
  • The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations(DEWR) has developed a list of priority areas for learning and development that reflects the corporate direction.

Principle 2: Integrate learning with HR and other business processes

Element Description Suggested indicators of success
Other people management strategies and plans Develop an integrated and coherent approach to people management - so that learning and development strategies are integrated with other people management strategies to achieve your agency's outcomes effectively. An integrated approach will:
  • avoid duplication of effort
  • send consistent messages and lead to common practices
  • enhance efficient allocation of resources
  • simplify delivery
  • achieve synergy with other business processes and systems.

An integrated approach may also foster a 'virtuous cycle' where, for example, improvements in agency capability statements feed into improved recruitment and learning and development programs, which feed into better performance management processes and then on to revisions of the agency capability statements etc. An integrated approach should help to clarify roles and responsibilities:

  • supervisors may be in the best position to define employees' work ('What's my job?') and assess performance ('How am I doing?')
  • agency and business unit heads should ensure overall alignment with business requirements and integration with other people management strategies.

See also Appendix 1

Learning and development strategies articulated as appropriate in other people management strategies, such as:
  • performance management
  • recruitment and retention
  • succession planning
  • remuneration practices.
People management processes Make all managers and staff aware of:
  • your agency's desired capabilities and learning and development priorities
  • their responsibilities for learning and development, including identifying individual learning and development needs, and how other HR processes fit in with learning and development.
  • A capability framework against which staff and supervisors can identify learning and development needs and map their careers
  • Managers and staff agree on the learning and development needs and a strategy for meeting those needs as part of the performance management process
Agency core business processes Identify and exploit opportunities to integrate learning and development with the agency's core business processes.
  • Integration of learning and development with core business activities contributes to timely, efficient and effective provision of learning
  • Learning and development options need to be coherent with business practices to ensure maximum effectiveness and commitment from line managers and employees.
  • It may be possible to leverage off existing business practices and processes to increase the impact of learning and development.
  • Learning and development is regarded as a valuable and necessary component of business activities
  • Learning and development is considered as part of planning and implementing new business practices, and when reviewing existing practices.
Human resource management information systems (HRMIS) Ensure that a learning and development information system is in place (within or linked with the HRMIS) to give the information required for accurate monitoring by management, reporting and forecasting.

Ideally, the learning and development information system should have the ability to:
  • collate agency-wide development needs for input into your learning and development program
  • deliver accurate baseline data by monitoring and reporting functions to support interpretation and decision-making by managers.
  • Regular monitoring and reporting on people management functions, including learning and development
  • Tools/processes for forecasting (eg scenario planning), in addition to trend analysis from HRMIS/benchmarking

Case studies

Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS): line of sight

FaCS line of sight learning and development works from top down and bottom up to blend alignment and integration.

The FaCS strategic statement sets the strategic business direction for 3-5 years. The priorities plan is a one-year plan that outlines the priorities for the department for that year.

Organisational data - both HR metrics and other sources of information feed into the annual workforce plan and also into branch and state/territory office (STO) level plans. These plans focus on deliverables and activities, and associated risk assessment and people planning. From these plans flow the branch/STO level learning and development plans (sometimes these go as low as section plans and section-level learning and development plans).

From the bottom up, FaCS has individual performance agreements, which are part of the departmental performance management system (IPMS). The individual development plans form the basis for individual development activities for the year. Aggregated data will feed back into both the branch/STO learning and development plans and the People Capability Development Plan.

DoCITA: An integrated approach - involvement of line managers and executive in planning and monitoring

The Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts has an integrated learning and development system whereby:

  • Overall learning and development targets are incorporated into the Department's remuneration policy as part of its latest Certified Agreement.
  • Learning and development needs are developed jointly between managers and staff as part of performance feedback sessions: non-attendance is funded by Branches; thereby giving line managers a vested interest in the learning and development outcomes.
  • Managers are automatically informed of upcoming learning and development options and the proposed participants, enabling substitutes to attend if necessary and minimising the cost to their budgets of non-attendance at courses.
  • The Executive Management Group, which approves the consolidated learning and development program on a six monthly basis, receives regular updates on whether targets are being met. It also receives information on staff satisfaction with individual programs, which is taken into account when the learning and development program is reviewed

Principle 3: Create a learning culture

Element Description Suggested indicators of success
Leading by example Show that you value and support your own learning and development as an essential component of the way you do business.
  • Senior managers regularly address their own learning and development needs
High level participation by senior managers in learning and development activities.
Active commitment Invest appropriate resources in learning and development of your staff.

All managers contribute to workforce planning, including the development of learning and development strategies.

Show your commitment by consistently taking an ongoing interest in your staff's learning and development.

Encourage both on and off-the-job development activities.
  • The extent of financial and other resource commitment
  • Evidence to indicate that line managers encourage learning and release staff for training eg staff survey feedback.
  • Agency's reputation is an effective attraction and retention factor for staff.
  • A reward/recognition system to encourage appropriate learning and development.
Blurring the lines between learning and work Integrate learning with day-to-day work.
  • This could involve putting systems and processes in place for managing information and sharing new knowledge both within work areas and across your agency
  • Learning and development is seen as a legitimate business investment in all major initiatives
  • Established practices for sharing research, feedback from meetings, and processes for debriefs on project status and lessons learnt

Case studies

Investors in People (IiP) in the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO)

The AGO is committed to the Investors in People (IiP) standard and use it to guide the learning and development strategy. The key components in the implementation and evaluation of IiP in the AGO have been to engage their people in the process and build ownership of the standard at work team level. The learning and development options, the evaluation of learning and development, and the IiP standard are critical elements in the development of team business plans.

This practice is part of the AGO culture and helps to increase commitment by teams to learning and development options and outcomes, and facilitates the imbedding of learning and development planning and evaluation in the day to day work of teams.

The 'Leading in DOTARS' program

The 'Leading in DOTARS' program aims to develop leadership at all levels of the agency and provide participants with an understanding of how ethics and values impact on the agency and to empower all participants to contribute and take responsibility for their role in it.

The program has a number of characteristics that promote a learning culture:

  • participants represent a diagonal slice through the agency, so that staff at all levels are represented at each session
  • a high level of commitment from the CEO, who addresses each session, and
  • a high level of involvement of Division Heads who are rostered to provide cases studies and participate in the program.

Principle 4: Provide appropriate learning options

Element Description Suggested indicators of success
Needs-based content Agency business objectives and capability requirements drive the subject matter and content of learning options.
  • The content should address each of the following requirements:
    • subject matter
    • skills
    • knowledge
    • management-related skills
    • (leadership) behaviours
  • It should address these requirements both in the short term as well as in the longer-term to address emerging challenges and/or the need to build up particular organisational capabilities.
  • Agencies may choose to consider offering learning and development that is accredited.
  • Subject matter reflects agency business objectives and capability requirements
  • Immediate and longer-term learning and development needs identified (by line managers and individuals) as part of the performance management process.
  • If formal accreditation is seen to be appropriate to your agency:
    • A range of accredited courses at a range of levels - sourcing suppliers/partners who have Registered Training Organisation (RTO) status (if the agency is not an RTO), or facilitators who have at least Certificate IV in Workplace Assessment and Training so that the course is accredited or leads to an accreditation.
    • A number of agencies are using the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) competency framework, Public Service Education and Training Australia (PSETA) competency-based courseware, and/or linking to university accreditation.
Appropriate interventions Systematically plan learning interventions that are appropriate to the characteristics of the organisation, including culture and demographics, and respond to the preferred learning style of the individual. These should be timely and provided in a variety of forms such as on-the-job training, development opportunities and conferences.
  • Adult learning theory and practice indicate that learning is most effective when the intervention is directly related to needs and is immediately relevant. Timely access for immediate needs is as critical for effective business outcomes as are longer-term development strategies.
  • Adult learners prefer self direction; learn best from experience; need to integrate their learning with what they already know and have different styles.
  • Human resource areas must be proactive and skilled at brokering cost-effective, creative learning activities.
  • Use on-the-job training where appropriate.

Combining different learning interventions is becoming more common as a strategy to increase the effectiveness of the transfer of learning.

  • A learning and development program that reflects a wide range of work-based and other learning options. See Appendix 2 for examples of learning interventions. Tools such as the Australian Training Register (ATR) are useful to quickly source training to meet specific immediate needs.
  • Creative and innovative learning opportunities that are relevant to agency priorities and suited to individual learning styles.
  • Interventions available at the right time and in the right style.
  • Learning and development staff have appropriate analysis, brokerage, negotiation and internal consulting skills.

Case studies

Centrelink Virtual College

The Centrelink Virtual College (CVC) has been developed to provide maximum flexibility in the delivery of learning to all staff, regardless of their geographic location.

Rather than being a place or a building, the CVC is a team of highly experienced and qualified learning specialists. The CVC delivers training to address work performance requirements, assists employees gain nationally recognised qualifications, and thereby creates career paths.

The CVC also includes the Centrelink Education Network and Indigenous cadetships and scholarships. The network is an interactive distance-learning environment that fully integrates video, voice and data, giving all Centrelink employees access to live, real-time training, regardless of their location.

The CVC also is responsible for providing guidance across the organisation to ensure standardisation and consistency in the development and delivery of all training and implementation of policy changes. The CVC currently offers training towards eighteen nationally recognised qualifications, including certificates, diplomas or a statement of attainment.

Access to the CVC is available to all Centrelink staff whose learning and development needs, as identified in their Individual Learning Plan, can be met by the courses offered through the CVC. The current Centrelink Development Agreement provides staff in call centres with ten hours for learning and development per month and staff in Customer Service Centres with twelve hours learning and development per month.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS): IT awareness week

ABS conducted a week of activities to raise awareness of, and promote interest in and use of information technology across the agency.

The success of the activity was based on:

  • extensive planning involving learning and development practitioners working with key business areas
  • effective promotion of the activity in the local press and across agency sites
  • a wide range of short, fun, introductory activities with hands-on experience available throughout the week.

Principle 5: Manage learning effectively

Element Description Suggested indicators of success
Value for money service delivery Make sure you understand and have the necessary skills to deliver an effective value for money learning and development function in the organisational context. The function could be provided externally or internally or as a mixture of both.

If purchasing from external providers ensure proper consideration is given to value for money issues. The Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines www.finance.gov.au provide advice on purchasing processes to achieve value for money.

Contracts should be actively managed. The ANAO's Better Practice Guide Contract Management provides detailed guidance on the management of contracted services.
  • Documented, coherent reasons for the selection of the service delivery arrangements.
  • Compliance with best practice procurement and contract management.
  • Clear delivery standards.
  • Appropriate baseline data and evaluation process agreed and in place.
  • Contracts/service level agreements in place before the delivery of each program.
Effective stakeholder relationships Identify stakeholder needs and maintain effective relationships to ensure a clear understanding of expected outcomes and issues.
  • Stakeholders for learning and development include: those responsible for people management, business unit heads, individual staff, contractors and, ultimately, Parliament
Reporting mechanisms and communication and marketing strategies that ensure:
  • all stakeholders understand the agency's learning and development strategy, program and progress
  • learning and development aspects are considered in key business decisions
  • an effective communication strategy measured by, for example, a staff survey assessing staff awareness of their learning options.

Learning and development practitioners have appropriate marketing and communication skills.

Monitoring and reporting Put in place effective systems for monitoring, evaluating and reporting on the value for money of the learning and development function and activities.
  • Decisions about how to undertake this element will depend on the functionality of existing human resource information systems, agency size, needs and available funds
  • Effective monitoring and reporting will facilitate effective future planning and budgeting
  • Ability to track learning and development investments including for example, studybank, online e-learning and attendance at seminars, forums and conferences
  • Regular reporting and assessment
  • Reports by line managers on the impacts of learning and development in the workplace and on business outputs

See Principle 7 for a recommended minimum data set.

Case studies

FaCS: People management: Internal consultancy team

A team of internal consultants support and mentor line managers in effectively managing the learning and development of their staff.

Managing learning and development in DFAT

Learning and development is a key component of DFAT's overall HRM strategy, and is linked to the DFAT performance management system to help identify key areas of need, including individual underperformance and 'skill gaps' at the corporate level. Mechanisms requiring all work units (divisions, state and territory offices and overseas posts) to provide annual staff training and development forecast plans have been put in place to ensure all managers embrace and support training. At the end of each year the Senior Executive reviews the extent to which those training plans have been fulfilled.

Key objectives of the learning and development strategy are to be relevant, focused and cost effective; all training is clearly aligned with the achievement of corporate goals. Training is also accessible to all staff worldwide, including locally engaged staff. The three key training priorities are: leadership and management, professional knowledge skills and foreign languages.

Principle 6: Support application of skills in the workplace

Element Description Suggested indicators of success
Supportive workplace environment Encourage a supportive environment to enable newly acquired skills to be nurtured and to enable the transfer of learning to the workplace. This could include mentoring and coaching (formal and informal) arrangements as part of managers' and supervisors' normal responsibilities.
  • Evidence of line managers providing a supportive environment that allows staff to practise new skills.
  • Extent of formal mentoring and coaching arrangements.
  • Mentoring and coaching are seen as a regular part of managers' responsibilities and are reinforced through performance management arrangements.
Opportunities to apply new skills Encourage staff by providing opportunities for them to test and develop new skills:
  • Reinforce or clarify any learnings that are critical to the organisation's performance
  • Ensure suitable job/task allocation.
  • Make required technology available
Opportunities made available such as special projects, acting positions, secondments, direct reporting to manager for particular tasks.
Opportunities to disseminate new knowledge Provide support to staff to disseminate newly acquired information on key subject matters. Such support could include seminars, presentations workshops etc.

There may also be opportunities within work areas, within the agency or across the APS to foster'communities of practice' for areas of speciality or for areas of common interest such as policy development, program delivery, regulation, legal, IT, accounting and evaluation and so on. For example, the APS Commission sponsors a leadership 'community of practice' so that the APS human resource community is able to share service-wide learnings on leadership development.
  • Transfer by an individual of their learning from a program to others in the workplace.
  • People share their learning by disseminating material from seminars or coaching others in the workplace.
  • IT systems are used to spread information, such as 'Help' systems that include 'Frequently Asked Questions'.
  • Membership of professional networks and bodies.
On-the-job performance evaluation Give regular timely informal feedback to staff, as well as formal when required through the agency's performance management system.
  • Information on the benefits in the workplace are fed back into the management or governance process

Case studies

DEWR Performance Feedback Development

DEWR has an integrated strategy to improve staff performance and deliver better business outcomes. The Performance Feedback and Career Development Framework (PFD) combined four key HR strategies:

  • Cascading Business Planning from the departmental down to the individual level
  • Learning and Development.
  • Performance Appraisal.
  • Remuneration outcomes, i.e. single salary advancement/performance bonus date in line with appraisal and the business cycle.

A key ingredient to the successful implementation of the PFD is a series of three supporting workshops for all staff:

  • 'Action Planning' - skilling staff to write their performance outcomes, identify their learning needs and choose appropriate activities
  • Giving and Receiving Feedback - skilling staff to engage in regular feedback to keep the plan 'alive'.
  • Coaching - skilling managers to use work-based coaching to assist staff in attaining their agreed outcomes.

Facilitating the creation of a supportive workplace, providing opportunities to apply new skills in the workplace and supporting evaluation and feedback of performance in the workplace effectively supported the implementation of the PFD.

The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO): Quantum

DMO is conducting a leadership program (Quantum) aimed at Senior Officer level (EL1, EL2 and military equivalent).

This program has a number of notable features:

  • The Executive is committed to the program, and is involved in identifying required capabilities and reviewing the ongoing development of the program
  • Formative evaluation is conducted as the program advances
  • An executive coach ensures follow up in the workplace

It uses a blended intervention based on a wide range of adult learning processes.

Principle 7: Evaluate learning and development


Evaluation of learning and development serves two important purposes. It is not only an assessment of whether money has been spent wisely, but is also part of the normal ongoing management to finetune strategies and improve delivery. It is important to recognise that with learning and development there may well be no defined end. It is quite likely that strategies would be adjusted in an evolutionary way - but, ideally, as the result of an evaluation.

It is also important that evaluation is programmed in from the start. Proper consideration should be given to what to evaluate, when and how.

Figure 3 outlines a model for evaluating learning and development. It covers evaluation before, during, and after an intervention and can also be used to evaluate the overall learning and development strategy and/or function within the organisation. The model can be applied to formal classroom training or to less formal on-the-job training, rotations, project work, conferences etc. It consists of six elements:

  • relevance
  • appropriateness
  • reaction
  • capability acquired
  • performance on the job
  • outcomes

Figure 3: A model for evaluating learning

1. Line of sight phase

  • Business need
  • Individual need
  • Agency context
  • Other HR processes
  • Scope
  • How much
  • How long
  • What cost
  • What benefit
  • What risk
  • What alternative

2. Learning and performance phase

  • Learner
  • Facilitator/ Presenter
  • Management
Capability acquired
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Competency
Performance on the job
  • Learner
  • Supervisor
  • Next level manager

3. Outcomes phase

Outcomes of learning and development
  • Positive outcomes
  • Negative outcomes
  • Ambiguous outcomes
  • Value for money

Figure 4 indicates how the evaluating learning model links to the overall management of learning of development as outlined in figure 1: A framework for managing learning and development in the APS.

Evaluation requires the collection of meaningful data on the inputs, outputs and outcomes of programs. Return on investment or value for money assessments are based on an assessment of the value of outcomes compared to the value of inputs. An area where there is scope for agencies to improve is in the collection and reporting of input data. The following recommended minimum data set illustrates the kind of information that agencies are likely to find useful:

  • number of days formal (classroom, conferences, seminars) learning and development per person per year
  • expenditure on formal learning and development as a percentage of running costs (including direct and indirect costs and salary and on-costs)
  • expenditure on outsourced providers
  • expenditure on learning and development consultants
  • qualitative views (by key stakeholders such as the executive, management and others) on changes in organisational and individual capability and performance.

This minimum data set does not purport to be a comprehensive measure of the effectiveness of learning and development, but will provide a starting point in tracking inputs and outcomes.

Figure 4: Linking the management framework with the evaluation model

Principles Elements Evaluation model    
1 Align learning with the business
  • Agency capability requirements
  • Governance
  • Agency culture
  • Funding mechanisms and processes


How well do proposed learning and development investments address business needs, capability needs, and individual needs within the agency?

Line of sight

Do we know what our needs are?

Learning and performance

Are we meeting our needs in the best way possible?


Did we achieve the desired outcome and can we improve?

Before intervention

During intervention

After intervention
2 Integrate learning with HR and other business processes
  • Other people management strategies and plans
  • People management processes
  • Agency core business processes
  • Human Resource Management Information Systems (HRMIS)


How appropriate is the intervention/investment in relation to:

  • integration with other people management strategies and processes
  • allocation of resources according to identified needs and priorities, risks and alternatives
  • how well the design of the intervention matches the desired culture and the preferences of the target audience
  • the achievement of desired benefits.
3 Create a learning culture
  • Leading by example
  • Active commitment
  • Blurring the lines between learning and work
4 Provide appropriate learning options
  • Needs-based content
  • Appropriate interventions


Reaction of learners: to aspects of the intervention

Reaction of facilitator: Did the learning go well?

Capability acquired

Did the individual (and therefore the agency) acquire the required capability, knowledge attitude or competency?

5 Manage learning effectively
  • Value for money service delivery
  • Effective stakeholder relationships
  • Monitoring and reporting
6 Support application of skills in the workplace
  • Supportive workplace environment
  • Opportunities to apply new skills
  • Opportunities to disseminate new knowledge
  • On-the-job performance evaluation

Performance on the job

Assessment of individual performance on the job following development interventions.

7 Evaluate learning and development
  • Relevance
  • Appropriateness
  • Reaction
  • Capability acquired
  • Performance on the job
  • Outcomes

Outcomes of learning and development

Assessment of value for money outcomes at individual, group and organisational levels. Did our investment accrue tangible and intangible results leading to better business outcomes?

Element Description Performance indicators (examples) Methodology options
  • Assess how well proposed learning and development interventions address business needs, capability needs, and individual needs within the agency
  • When designing the evaluation strategy, include questions such as:
    • What is the learning strategy and cost?
    • Why do we believe it will meet our needs?
    • How will we be able to tell if it is 'fit for purpose'?
To what extent does learning and development:
  • specifically address business needs?
  • align with priorities that are identified in the agency's strategic planning, workforce planning and performance management systems?
  • address current and future capabilities?
  • The views of agency executive, senior managers and line managers of the strategic direction and intervention quality
  • Staff surveys
  • Reviews of planning documents for content and intent
Appropriateness Measure how appropriate the allocation of resources to learning and development is to identified needs and priorities. Take into account:
  • the extent of integration of learning and development with other HR strategies and business practices
  • the desired benefits
  • the scope of each intervention
  • quantitative and qualitative information about the level and nature of investment
  • how well the design of the intervention matches the desired culture and the needs of the target audience
  • risks
  • alternatives.
To what extent are learning and development integrated with:
  • human resource management strategies (for example performance management system, career and succession management)?
  • relevant business practices?

To what extent is common/shared data consistently collected and used (for example performance management system, workforce planning and learning and development)?

Are learning and development key result areas included in the human resource management strategy and business plans, and regularly reported on?

How appropriate are the learning and development interventions or programs to the desired culture and needs of the target individual or audience?

Is the timing, duration and level of investment appropriate to the required outcome?

  • Interviews with agency executive, senior managers and line managers.
  • Staff surveys.
  • Reviews of planning documents for content and intent.
  • Regular reports to the executive on the level of investment in formal learning.
  • Benchmark agency investments against like organisations.
Reaction Reaction of participants: Measure participants' immediate reaction to aspects of the intervention such as topic, speakers, format, schedule, relevance, appropriateness of placement.

Reaction of facilitator: Consider the presenter/ facilitator's assessment of the quality and value of the intervention (include attendance, participants' commitment, format, learning transfer).
What satisfaction rating do participants give to aspects of the intervention such as relevance, currency, suitability of delivery method and quality of the presenter?

To what extent do participants believe the objectives of the intervention were achieved?

What satisfaction rating do participants and line managers give to the timing of the intervention and the suitability of information provided (such as accessibility of the information, clarity of objectives and target audience)?

How highly does the presenter or facilitator rate participation and engagement?
  • Pilot programs.
  • Participant reaction sheets.
  • Feedback from presenters and line managers in performance feedback/development discussions.
  • Staff surveys.
Capability acquired Evaluate the success of the learning intervention by measuring whether the individual(s) (and therefore the agency) has acquired the capability, knowledge, attitudes, or competency required. To what extent are the acquired capabilities demonstrated by participants to the identified standard or level at:
  • the conclusion of the intervention?
  • an appropriate period after the intervention?
Subjective or objective testing. For example:
  • examinations/tests
  • pre- and post-questionnaires
  • formal accredited programs
  • views of supervisors.
Performance on the job Assess individual performance on the job following development interventions.
  • These processes include informal support and coaching and formal performance management processes.
What is the level of opportunity to apply the acquired capability in the workplace, as perceived by an individual and line managers?

To what extent do participants demonstrate the acquired capability in the workplace, as perceived by themselves, colleagues, line managers and stakeholders?
  • Work place observations - self assessment or accredited assessor.
  • Self assessment.
  • Staff surveys.
  • Interviews.
  • Systematic feedback from line management and, where appropriate, senior management, within the performance management process.
  • 360-degree feedback.
Outcomes of learning and development Assess outcomes achieved at individual, group and/or organisational levels. They can be positive, negative or, at times, ambiguous. Consider:
  • Did we get value for money?
  • Did our investment accrue tangible and intangible results leading to better business outcomes?
  • Could we have achieved the same or better outcomes cheaper and/or quicker?
  • How can we improve?
What is the level of satisfaction of the agency executive, business managers, line managers and stakeholders with improvement/ achievement of desired business outcomes at appropriate level (e.g. agency, business unit, individual)?

What is the level of contribution of learning and development interventions to the achievement of actual (desired and unintended) outcomes as perceived by:
  • agency executive?
  • business managers?
  • line managers?
  • stakeholders?
A deliberate judgment by agency executive and or internal business stakeholder/client (i.e. a 'structured dialogue') that considers the:
  • objectives of the intervention(s)
  • inputs/level of investment
  • business outputs
  • relevant outcomes (such as cultural change, desired recruitment and retention outcomes, reputation of the agency/business unit)
  • return on investment (ROI) studies
  • formal and informal assessments of value for money.

Appendix 1: Roles and responsibilities for the management of learning and development in the APS

Senior managers

  • Lead by their own activity in learning
  • Model by sharing that learning
  • Encourage staff to report back to business groups on conferences, seminars, learnings
  • Support exchange of knowledge across the agency
  • Are prepared to take risks with new ways of learning
  • Ensure the agency's learning and development needs are identified in corporate and business planning
  • Ensure appropriate funding and resources for learning and development
  • Actively support the inclusion of learning and development issues in agency business decision-making
  • Request HR area to deliver learning and development data to inform business decisions, including data on level and nature of investment
  • Account for learning and development expenditure as required
  • Ensure 'reward' systems are in place for efforts by staff to encourage learning in the workplace

Head of HR

  • Drives the agency's people management/workforce planning
  • Provides specialist advice on learning and development to the executive

Human resource practitioners

  • Understand organisational and executive imperatives (short-term and long-term) for learning and development
  • Ensure learning and development initiatives are integrated, where possible, into all people management strategies (such as recruitment, performance management, career management)
  • Involve representatives from all business functions in planning and review of overall learning and development strategy
  • Provide specialist advice to clients within the agency - in such areas as needs analysis, selecting appropriate intervention and evaluation strategy
  • Are creative in designing and/or brokering timely and appropriate interventions to best suit the learning requirements of the agency - are prepared to take risks with new ways of learning
  • Respond to business unit requests for tailored programs swiftly
  • Provide specialist advice on learning and development
  • Promote adoption and support implementation of 'reward' systems for efforts by staff to encourage learning in the workplace
  • Are accountable to agency head for reporting on the agency's investments in, and outcomes from, learning and development
  • Share learning with colleagues
  • Maintain an up-to-date knowledge of issues, trends and good practice in learning and development (such as leadership development, ANTA, PSETA etc.)

Line managers

  • Model and encourage all staff to learn on-the-job, as well as from more formal interventions
  • Take responsibility for their own learning and actively seek to engage in learning for their own productivity and career enhancement
  • Share their own learning with colleagues and their staff
  • Understand organisational and executive imperatives (short-term and long-term) for learning and development
  • Give performance feedback regularly, and develop action development plans with all their staff
  • Promote relevant learning and development interventions in their own area
  • Manage workflow and resourcing so that appropriate learning and development occurs
  • Support 'reward' systems for efforts by staff to encourage learning in the workplace
  • Request HR area to deliver learning and development data to inform business decisions, including data on level and nature of investment
  • Encourage exchange of information and skills within their team and across the agency - create 'knowledge networks' or communities of learning within own area and across 'silos'; use technology such as bulletin boards, intranet, email
  • Request all staff attending training to report back by email or at staff meetings, as a matter of course


  • Take responsibility for their own learning and actively seek to engage in learning for their own productivity and career enhancement
  • Share information and skills within their team and across the agency - participate in 'knowledge networks' or communities of learning within own area and across 'silos'; use technology such as bulletin boards, intranet, email
  • Encourage others to share their information and skills
  • Actively and regularly seek feedback on their performance and development needs

Case studies

Online evaluation

The Department of Family and Community Services and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have simple online systems that require participants to electronically evaluate the program. The participant's evaluation is passed through line managers, who have the opportunity to comment.

Although mainly evaluating the reaction level it allows some assessment of application in the workplace.

Department of the House of Representatives: Evaluation of leadership program

The Department of the House of Representatives has a highly structured evaluation program of leadership in the organisation. Evaluation is based on a staff survey and 360- degree feedback. The program assesses change in behaviour based on 13 key leadership competencies, which were identified by a survey of staff. Evaluation has been done annually for three years, allowing trend analysis.

Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTARS): Investors in People (IiP)

DOTARS has integrated the IiP criteria into staff surveys and performance management. The annual audit acts as a regular benchmarking exercise and aids in focusing managers on the effective management of learning and development in the agency, and of the contribution learning and development makes to the achievement of business outcomes.

AQIS Evaluation Strategy

AQIS reviewed its evaluation strategy for its major programs in preparation for its bid for Investors in People accreditation. (AQIS successfully achieved IiP accreditation in September 2002.)

It is recognised that an essential preliminary step is to determine whether the development of a training program is the correct response to an identified need. Once confirmed, the training is piloted, which marks the beginning of the evaluation process. The key elements of the AQIS evaluation strategy are set out below.

  • Training is piloted and reviewed with subject matter experts.
  • Evaluation forms are used to measure participants' perception of training programs.
    • Follow up action is undertaken only when the participants' responses indicate potential problems with the training.
  • For major programs, (for example, AQIS competencybased programs) on-the-job assessments are undertaken by participants. These typically involve participants completing Job Cards and answering questions in relation to work-based scenarios.
    • This involves participants researching information, performing tasks under supervision and collecting evidence to support competencies. Their supervisors are required to verify their performance against these instruments, which provides a linkage to the Performance Management system.
  • A post-implementation review is conducted usually 12 months after commencement of the training program. This typically involves a survey of participants, their supervisors and training managers together with focus groups.
    • This stage is designed to test the relevance of the program and its impact on the organisation. Qualitative information regarding the value for money of the program can be obtained.
  • The results of the evaluation are then discussed with AQIS senior management.

Appendix 2: List of possible learning interventions

On-the-job suggestions Formal development Professional and community
  • On-the-job learning with projects that stretch staff
  • Coaching by supervisors, peers and subordinates
  • Shared information at staff meetings
  • Sharing work knowledge such as internet research with colleagues
  • Discussion at work 'over the partition'
  • Formation of 'knowledge networks' or communities of learning across the organisation
  • Participating in a steering committee or working party/taskforce
  • Participating in an interdepartmental committee
  • Team-building retreats
  • Mentor programs - formal and informal
  • Reading
  • Internet research
  • Rotations
  • Secondments
  • Acting in a more senior position
  • Tertiary courses (studybank)
  • Accredited courses
  • Classroom training - short-term or longerterm capability programs
  • Leadership programs
  • Seminars, forums
  • Conferences
  • Awareness sessions
  • Work-based projects associated with coursework
  • Blending of elements of formal and on-the-job process
  • Virtual learning online - group online
  • Online learning (interactive tutorials) via intranet or internet
  • Distance education online
  • Online coaching
  • IT 'roaming and coaching' at the workplace
  • Membership of professional and community bodies such as the Institute of Public Administration, Toastmasters, community bodies
  • Refreshment of professional skills such as IT, legal, accounting, HR, engineering
  • Professional networks such as Canberra Evaluation Forum, Leadership Development Network

Appendix 3: Sources of further information


Bartel, AP 2000, 'Measuring the Employer's Return on Investments in Training: Evidence from the Literature', Industrial Relations, vol.39, no.3.

Becker, BE, Huselid, MA & Ulrich, D 2001, The HR Scorecard, Harvard Business School Press, Boston.

Bramley, P 1996, Evaluating Training Effectiveness, McGraw-Hill, London.

Brinkerhoff, RO 1987, Achieving results from training, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

Driscoll, M 1998, Web Based Training, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

Fitz-enz, J 2000, The ROI of Human Capital, AMACOM, New York.

Foxton, M 1989, 'Evaluation of training and development programs: A review of the literature', Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 5(2), pp. 89-104.

Garret, B 2001, The Learning Organisation, Harper Collins Business, London.

Kaplan, RS & Norton, DP 1996, The Balanced Scorecard, Harvard Business School Press, Boston.

Kirkpatrick, DL 1959, 'Techniques for Evaluating Training Programs', Journal of the American Society for Training and Development, vol. 13, pp. 3-32.

Kirkpatrick, DL 1998, Another look at Evaluating Training Programs, American Society for Training and Development, Alexandria, Virginia.

Kirkpatrick, DL 1998, Evaluating Training Programs-The Four Levels, 2nd edn, Berret-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco.

Knowles, M 1990, The Adult Learner, Gulf Publishing, Houston.

Management Advisory Committee 2003, Organisational Renewal, MAC vol.3, Australian Public Service Commission, Canberra.

Philips, JJ (ed.) 1997, Measuring Return on Investment, vol.2, American Society for Training and Development, Alexandria, Virginia.

Phillips, J 1990, Handbook of Training Evaluation and Measurement Methods, Gulf Publishing Company, Texas.

Phillips, JJ, Stone, RD 2002, How to Measure Training Results - A Practical Guide to Tracking the Six Key Indicators, McGraw-Hill, New York.

Public Service & Merit Protection Commission 2001, Human Resource Capability Model, PSMPC, Canberra.

Rothwell, WJ 2002, The Workplace Learner, AMACOM, New York.

Shandler, D 1996, Re-engineering the Training Function: How to Align Training With the New Corporate Agenda, St Lucie Press, Boca Raton, Florida.

Smith, A 'Training and Development' in Kramer, R, McGraw, P and Schuler, RS 1997, Human Resource Management in Australia, 3rd edn., Longman, Melbourne.

Smith, A 1998, Training and Development in Australia, 2nd edn., Butterworths, Sydney.

Smith, A 1999, Issues in Training and Development, Charles Sturt University, New South Wales.

Smith, A 2001, Return on Investment in Training, Research Readings, NCVER, Leabrook, South Australia.

Sofo, F 1999, Human Resource Development, Woodslane, Sydney.

Stufflebeam, D 2001, Evaluation Models, Jossey-Bass, New York.

Stufflebeam, DGF, Madaus and Kellaghan, T (eds.) 2000, Evaluation Models: Viewpoints on Educational and Human Services Evaluation, Second Edition, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston.

Tovey, MD 1997, Training in Australia, Prentice Hall, Sydney.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation 1998, Evaluation Handbook-Philosophy and Expectations, Michigan.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation 2000, Logic Model Development Guide, Michigan.

Wenger, E McDermott, R and Sydney, W 2002, Cultivating Communities of Practice, Harvard Business School, Boston.

The following documents are accessible to members of the Corporate Leadership Council (CLC)

  • Corporate Leadership Council 2001, Workforce Development in the Public and Private Sector, Corporate Executive Board (April 2001).
  • Corporate Leadership Council 1998, The ROI of Training, The Advisory Board (October 1998).

Key websites

www.ahri.com.au Australian Human Resources Institute

www.aim.com.au Australian Institute of Management

www.aitd.com.au Australian Institute of Training and Development

Australian National Training Authority - see for information on Registered Training Organisations

www.astd.org American Society for Training and Development

www.edna.edu.au Education Network Australia

www.iipuk.co.uk Investors in People Standard, U.K. site

www.workforce.com Workforce Magazine (U.S.)

Network/interest groups

Australian Human Resources Institute see AHRI website: www.ahri.com.au

ACT Learning and Development,Special Interest Group(ACT L&D SIG), see AHRI website: www.ahri.com.au

Canberra Evaluation Forum email: canbevalforum [at] hotmail.com

HR Strategic Reform Group Australian Public Service Commission website:www.apsc.gov.au

Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) www.ipaa.org.au

Leadership Development Network Australian Public Service Commission website: www.apsc.gov.au


adult learning principles

Adult learning principles are a set of assumptions about how and why adults learn, which recognise that adult learners are autonomous and self-directed, and that they bring with them a significant set of knowledge, experiences, skills and expectations to any learning they undertake. Based on these principles, any approach to learning should create an environment in which adults are encouraged to think critically and not accept another's interpretation or meaning, and the learning is relevant, practical and useful.


Vertical agreement of strategies and structures with corporate goals, cascading to lower level plans and strategies.

blended learning

An intervention where different learning approaches and methodologies are combined to mutually reinforce the learning and development.

Using the most appropriate mix of instructional components (including classroom learning, e-learning, coaching/mentoring and performance support tools), performance aids and communication to create the optimum learning and performance improvement experience.

Blended learning is identifying how the learning audience can achieve mastery and improve business performance. It is a compromise between (1) business and performance objectives; (2) the way groups of learners learn best; and (3) the various ways that the material can best be individualised, presented and learned, (4) the available resources that support learning, training, business and social activities and (5) the ways to maximise capabilities for access, interaction and social relationships.

capability framework

An instrument to identify the critical factors or capabilities required now and in the future for high performance.


The practice of instructing, demonstrating, directing, and prompting participants. Generally concerned with methods rather than concepts.

communities of practice

A group of people interested in a specific issue or areas of expertise who exchange and develop information, knowledge, ideas and learning on the given subject or area of expertise.


A systematic, objective assessment of the appropriateness, efficiency and effectiveness of a program or part of a program.

The process of gathering information in order to make good decisions. It is broader than testing, and includes both subjective (opinion) input and objective (fact) input. Evaluation can take many forms including tests, portfolio assessment, and self-reflection.

formative evaluation

Formative evaluations are usually undertaken during the implementation of a program (intermediate evaluation) to gain further insight and contribute to a learning process. The purpose is to support and improve the management, implementation and development of the program. Summative evaluations, on the other hand, are often carried out when the programme has been in place for some time (ex post evaluation) to study its effectiveness and judge its overall value. These evaluations are typically used to assist in allocating resources or enhancing public accountability.


Encompasses how an organisation is managed, its corporate and other structures, its culture, its policies and strategies, and lines of accountability.


Horizontal compatibility of strategies and process, sharing of common data sets etc to achieve common outcomes from related functions.

learning and development

Learning and development refers to all processes associated with the identification of agency and individual requirements in relation to skills development, and the design, delivery and/or brokering of opportunities to bridge gaps in skills or behavioural requirements.


Three mentoring roles can exist in a work context:

  • mainstream mentor - someone who acts as a guide, adviser and counsellor at various stages in someone's career destined for a senior position;
  • professional qualification mentor - someone required by a professional association to be appointed to guide a student through a program of study, leading to a professional qualification;
  • vocational qualification mentor - someone appointed to guide a candidate through a program of development and the accumulation of evidence to prove competence to a standard.

online learning

Delivery of educational content via a Web browser over the internet or intranet, including via email, bulletin boards, and discussion groups. May also cover a wide set of applications and processes of e-learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration. It includes the delivery of content via Internet, intranet/extranet, audio and videotape, satellite, and CD-ROM. However, many organisations only consider it as a network-enabled transfer of skills and knowledge.

human resource/people management

The processes that managers plan for and manage people to achieve agency outputs and outcomes. This includes specific practice areas such as organisational development, workforce planning, recruitment and selection, performance management, learning and development, reward and recognition, workplace diversity and occupational health and safety.

performance indicators

Information that can be used as the basis for determining the outcome, or impact, of particular learning and development activities or programs.

workforce planning

A continuous process of shaping the workforce to ensure that it is capable of delivering organisational objectives now and in the future. The desired outcomes of workforce planning are its effective integration into an agency's strategic planning framework and the alignment of HR strategies to continuously deliver the right people in the right place at the right time.


ABS Australian Bureau of Statistics

ANAO Australian National Audit Office

ANTA Australian National Training Authority

AHRI Australian Human Resources Institute

AITD Australian Institute of Training and Development

APS Australian Public Service

AQIS Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service

ASTD American Society for Training and Development

ATR Australian Training Register

CEF Canberra Evaluation Forum

CLC Corporate Leadership Council

CVC Centrelink Virtual College

DEST Department of Education, Science and Training

DEWR Department of Employment and Workplace Relations

DFAT Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

DOTARS Department of Transport and Regional Services

DMO Defence Materiel Organisation

DVA Department of Veterans Affairs

FaCS Department of Family and Community Services

HR Human Resource

HRM Human Resource Management

HRMIS Human Resource Management Information Systems

IiP Investors in People

IPAA Institute of Public Administration Australia

IT Information Technology

MAC Management Advisory Committee

PFD Performance Feedback and Career Development Framework

PMS Performance Management System

PSETA Public Service Education and Training Australia Inc

ROI Return on Investment

RTO Registered Training Organisation

STO State/Territory Office

1 ANAO, Management of Learning and Development in the Australian Public Service, Report No. 64 2001-2002

2 ANAO, Managing People for Business Outcomes, Report No. 61 2001-2002

Last reviewed: 
6 June 2018