Learning and development at work

This module centres on human resource development (HRD), which is an area of HRM that specifically focuses on all those activities that help employees develop their work-related skills, abilities and knowledge. It takes a wider strategic approach to HRD that links the individual’s needs to the needs of the organisation operating within a wider socio-politico-economic environment. You'll be encouraged to apply the ideas and theories you study to your practice, to reflect on and record this practice, and to explore the variation of practice in different contexts. One particular area in which you will do this is by developing and practising coaching and mentoring skills.

Vocational relevance

This module can be studied as part of a qualification that provides a route to professional membership of the CIPD if you wish to develop a career in HR management. It will also provide training in research and academic skills if you want to develop an academic career in the field of HR management.


B814 is a optional module in our:

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

What you will study

This module emphasises Learning, Training and Development and all those developmental activities that help employees and managers to develop in their jobs and careers. It focuses on both the individual and the organisation. From an individual perspective, it supports your personal and professional development, and helps you develop your managerial skills in one-to-one relationships. From an organisational strategy perspective, it expects you to acquire knowledge and skills needed to operate as a Learning and Development specialist with a wider view of organisational development. An emphasis on sustainable and inclusive HRD will run through the course.

In combining a focus on Learning and Development (L&D) and talent management at both organisational and personal career development levels, it examines a range of L&D workplace interventions. It incorporates the study of coaching and mentoring with the consolidation of coaching and mentoring skills taking place during an online day school. This will take place towards the middle of the module to enable you to consolidate your learning and development skills.

The module is organised into six units. These will focus on HRD knowledge and practice across different size of organisations, sectors and national contexts, and aim to develop your coaching and mentoring skills and your managerial skills as a HRD professional.

The assessments balance knowledge with practice and assess different skills such as presentation and writing skills as well as your reflective skills. Specifically, the three assessments support the development of wider HRD knowledge, of coaching practice and of strategic Leaning and Development organisational plans. Furthermore they also consolidate your self-analysis and self-reflection.

You'll also need to complete a compulsory day school lasting seven hours. The day school will be skill focused and involves you in working in pairs, in small groups and participating in a larger group discussion moderated by a tutor. The day school will be interactive and will also allow you to set the foundation for an assessment.

The module material is available on the module site, you will be guided through this material by your tutor and will have the opportunity to participate in group forums. In addition, the tutor will lead four synchronous tutorials focusing on key topic areas and on assessment preparation.

You will learn

The module aims to:

  • enable you to develop knowledge on learning and development from both theoretical and practical perspectives
  • provide you with the skills and understanding needed to engage with learning, training and developmental activities at individual and organisational levels, either as an internal or external consultant
  • enable you to develop coaching and mentoring skills
  • enable you to plan the development of a learning and development strategy and possible interventions in an organisation of their choice
  • develop a critical ability to assess the ethics and social responsibility of learning and development strategies and activities in a range of organisations

Self-awareness, reflective learning and continuous professional development will run throughout the module.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Your tutor will help you with the study material, mark and comment on your assignments and provide advice and guidance. You’ll be able to contact your tutor by email, phone or via your tutor group forum on the module website. Furthermore, the tutor will lead four synchronous live tutorials delivered in the online room.


The assessment details can be found in the facts box.

Course work includes

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

Future availability

Learning and development at work starts once a year, in May. This page describes the module that will start in May 2025. We expect it to start for the last time in May 2031.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

Entry requirements

All entrants must hold a BA/BSc degree awarded by a recognised university, or equivalent. If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

Preparatory work

We recommend you familiarise yourself with definitions and focus on HRD as well as keeping up to date on the latest developments in HR through the CIPD website (including the various research reports). It is also useful to read professional publications such as HR Magazine and The HR Digest.


Start End England fee Register
03 May 2025 Oct 2025 £1865.00

Registration closes 17/04/25 (places subject to availability)

This module is expected to start for the last time in May 2031.

Future availability

Learning and development at work starts once a year, in May. This page describes the module that will start in May 2025. We expect it to start for the last time in May 2031.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

Ways to pay for this module

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

Study materials

What's included

You will have access to a module website with an extensive variety of specially written resources presented and designed exclusively for this module. This includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • audio and video content
  • case studies
  • published articles
  • a module guide
  • online tutorial access
  • access to The Open University library.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Other alternative formats of the module materials may be available in the future.

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.

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