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Learning vs Training

Learning vs Training

So, what is the difference between learning and training? My immediate reaction is this: learning is what the receiver of training is supposed to be doing. In my mind learning and training are very closely tied but not at all to be confused. An instructor or trainer gets up and does training (or goes online depending on the situation). The user or student attends and does the learning (or is supposed to but usually that isn’t the case).

Education vs Training

Now, Jane Bozarth took this a step farther by changing learning to education. While I wouldn’t usually equate the two, I did find the resulting comparison very intriguing. What is the difference between education and training? The average, ordinary, non-training, non-education based person would probably say they are the same thing. Both require someone to present information which then must be sucked up by someone else.

The key here is the type of information presented and what that information will then be used for. Sometimes it is even distinguished by the user. I suppose I should delve a little deeper on those ideas to make myself clear.

Type of Information Presented

Most people would probably agree what you learn in school is education. These are usually basic concepts and skills to be used later in life.  I think I would also classify education as finding information on your own that will help you out in your life. Most people would probably agree what you are forced to learn to do your job is training. These are usually specific instructions on how to do tasks related to your specific job. They won’t necessarily help you in any other aspect of your life.

The User

Some people are just natural born learners. They thrive on learning new things and can turn even the most boring training session into a wonderful learning experience. In this case, the learner turns the training into education. Some people are not natural born learners so I guess you could say they turn the wonderful broad education into a horrible training experience (but this often isn’t the case).

So, after much rambling, what I’m trying to say is: education is information you can use through many parts of your life and training is much more narrow and specific, learning is what the person gaining the knowledge is doing and training is what the person sharing the knowledge is doing. These definitions show the extreme difference between training as a verb and training as a noun and how negative many people (including myself) have begun to perceive it….and I’m a trainer.

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Categories: General Tags: , ,
  1. July 22, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    FWIW, my thoughts from several years ago on Training vs Education (but it’s all learning)”.

    BTW, I think we’re all natural-born learners but some of us have had our natural abilities driven out by the education systems.

    • Sue
      July 22, 2009 at 6:27 pm

      I would tend to agree with the idea of natural-born learners….until my daughter was born. From the time she was 2, she has resisted learning no matter the context. Slowly, but surely, we are showing her the benefits of learning in general.

      • July 22, 2009 at 6:31 pm

        I don’t know the specifics, but maybe she just learns on her own terms?

        • Sue
          July 22, 2009 at 7:22 pm

          I suppose that could be the problem. I just haven’t figured out her terms. 🙂

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