Microspeak: Learnings

If things you teach are teachings, then things you learn must be learnings, right? Good Microspeak citations for this word are hard to find since the word is rarely used in a sentence; it's just a heading in a slide presentation. I found dozens of presentations that had a slide titled Learnings from XYZ, or, for those who want to sound really fancy, Key Learnings from XYZ, but very few actual sentences. Here are two:

Alice will send an email to Bob with regards to any learnings from the XYZ program being incented to do ABC.

What are our key learnings for this project?

There's that word key again, along with a surprise appearance of incent.

And that second citation barely counts since it's really just a prose version of the slide heading!

Comments (22)
  1. Benjimawoo says:

    And what does incented mean, anyway? Is that like incentivized? (http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=define%3Aincentivized&meta=)

  2. blah says:

    MBAs need to communicate with people who do actual work to reach a decision and then inform their underlings. So naturally what do you need to keep everybody on the same page? Management jargon!

  3. Grank says:

    I can’t help but think of the Simpsons bit…

    "Oh papa Homer, you are so learn-ed!"

    "Lurnd.  It’s pronounced lurnd."

    (I apologize for not knowing IPA but I think you get it :)

  4. RobO says:

    Is "learnings" any different than the "learns" in your subtitle?

  5. Mark (The other Mark) says:

    A cynical person might be able to come up with a reason why people who create powerpoints with slides titled "Key Learnings" aren’t able to actually distill what those might be onto a slide.

  6. Wes says:

    I hate hate hate seeing "learnings." It’s almost always from a practitioner of marketing-speak.

  7. joel8360 says:

    "It are a fact. I know because of my learnings."

    Share the image with anyone who seriously uses "learnings" and suggest that they avoid any locutions they find on icanhascheezburger.com.

  8. Jonathan says:

    Learn (v.) : Learnings (n.)

    Ask (v) : Asks (n.)

    Yep, lots of consistency in management-speak.

  9. Gene says:

    The fact that these people don’t think they sound stupid when they say things like this astounds me.

  10. Marc Wickens says:


    At Uni we had specific "learning outcomes" – that makes sense, but "Learnings" ??

  11. Miles Archer says:

    Larnings. Sounds a lot like take-aways.

  12. manicmarc says:

    Take-aways are convenient, fast, usually very greasy, but almost always great tasting meals, usually purchased from a fast food outlet.

  13. SRS says:

    "What are our key learnings for this project?" – Clearly you need to ask your Chief Experience Officer, a job title that is surely related directly to a deflated share price.

  14. scorpion007 says:

    Perhaps they were inspired by "Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan".

  15. Anonymous Coward says:

    So, have these people never heard of the word "lessons"?  Or are they actually trying to convey a different meaning with "learnings"?  And as I type this post, my browser’s spell check has indicated that it does not think very highly of "learnings"; one would think that would have caused someone to think twice.

  16. mike says:

    Anyone have trouble understanding what was meant in these cites? Just wondering.

  17. Just Me says:

    It sounds like "Jinglish" to me, that odd mishmash combination of Hindu/English.

  18. Morten says:

    Please stop showing off your learnings…

  19. Gordon says:

    I’ve just been reviewing some Tech-Ed 2008 (NZ) presentations, since I didn’t get to go.

    Two of them have learning’s – with an apostrophe. I thought that these things were copy-edited?

  20. Dave says:

    Perhaps they were inspired by "Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit

    Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan".

    Damn, and I was just about to suggest the answer to the second question was "Key learnings of project for make benefit glorious employees of Microsoft".

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