Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

Definition of Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs)

Desired changes: Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs)
Skills, Knowledge, Abilities
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0

We have seen that training needs are often driven by big changes within an organisation and its work practices. What exactly are the required changes?

The desired changes that we look for when providing training are in relation to Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs).

Knowledge Content of technical information needed to perform adequately in the job at an acceptable level, usually obtained through formal education and on-the-job experience. This knowledge is necessary for job performance but is not sufficient on its own.
Skills A special ability or technique acquired by special training in either an intellectual or physical area. Skills can include listening, communicating, organisation, design and programming. Skills allow the individual to select the most appropriate behaviour or action to suit task requirements.
Abilities Possession of natural competencies or cognitive factors which represent the individual’s proficiencies or current stage of development. Although abilities are natural predispositions, they can be developed to generate further achievements. The ability to learn quickly, for example, may be considered as more valuable than current knowledge levels, as the ability of learning will in time generate a wealth of knowledge.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
This article is from the free online

Training and Development at Work: An Introduction

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education