Glossary of Training Terms

This glossary provides a series of definitions and explanations to support the ICTI virtual learning environment.

Definitions may change by consensus as time goes on.

It is managed by the facilitators of the Africa Media Trainers' Network and ICTI Administrators.

We welcome suggestions for changes and additions.
Browse the glossary using this index

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the method and practice of teaching adults. Term popularised by Malcolm Knowles (1980, The modern practice of adult education: From pedagogy to andragogy) to distinguish between theories developed regarding teaching children and adults

see also pedagogy

appreciative inquiry

Appreciative inquiry (AI) involves the art and practice of asking questions that strengthen a system’s capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential. It centrally involves the mobilization of inquiry through the crafting of the “unconditional positive question†often-involving hundreds or sometimes thousands of people. In AI the arduous task of intervention gives way to the speed of imagination and innovation; instead of negation, criticism, and spiraling diagnosis, there is discovery, dream, and design. AI seeks, fundamentally, to build a constructive union between a whole people and the massive entirety of what people talk about as past and present capacities: achievements, assets, unexplored potentials, innovations, strengths, elevated thoughts, opportunities, benchmarks, high point moments, lived values, traditions, strategic competencies, stories, expressions of wisdom, insights into the deeper corporate spirit or soul-- and visions of valued and possible futures.

(credit AI Commons)


There is always a need to facilitate the development of trainers at all levels. There will be times when an individual trainer who has yet to achieve the relevant experience, recognition and qualification may still be invited to deliver training under the guidance of a qualified trainer. This apprentice work is always appropriate when the individual trainer can develop their skills.


see the entry on evaluation



see entry on mentor


The definition of particular knowledge, skills or attitude needed for an individual to undertake particular business activities. Commonly used in the development of vocational qualifications or work-based learning activities. Competences are generally very specifically defined (SMART) so that they can be measured.

Sometimes referred to as competency.


a philosophical system recognizing that meaning and understanding are constructed by the person observing or participating in their study/research.

critical incident

A critical incident is an idea developed in the field of reflective practice. It is an incident or event in a professional person's life which is significant and upon which the practitioner then reflects.

See reflective practice



the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion.


Evaluation and assessment are very close to each other. However evaluation has more to do with the process of learning (how people feel about methods, did a session meet their needs, have the learning outcomes for the session been achieved in general terms etc) and assessment has more to do with measuring a specific outcome (what people have learnt and are able to do, can they recall information, can they individually achieve the learning outcomes).

Most evaluations will include some element of assessment.

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