On Learning vs Training

Having been a called a "trainer" in many former professional capacities during my career, I can totally relate to the bullet points in this post on TwoPointOuch.

  • "People nowadays don’t have jobs or even careers for life. We have these portfolio careers and we’re all entrepreneurial about those careers. The average in-house marketer stays in a job for four years; it’s even lower in agency land.

  • Our employers don’t have our individual agenda at heart when they design training or development programmes. They have the company’s interests in mind.

  • Employers also tend to confuse training and learning. Training gets done to you. Learning is something an individual does themselves. Companies tend to think of training as their responsibility, rather than learning. They also think (62% of them - HROs - do) that “done to” training is the most effective way to deliver education for the job, according to survey results."

During many of my talks about the 23 Things program (not to be confused with the Learning 2.0 report that Ian writes about in his post) I always advocate loudly to "not confuse training with learning." They are indeed two very different ideas which in the best of circumstances have a direct link between the two, but more often then not have totally no impact on each other.

The best learning happens by self-discovery, when two very important elements are present. In order for anyone to truly learn, they must be

a) engaged in their own discovery process and
b) be motivated to learn.

and neither of these really require a "trainer." :)


Anonymous said...

When this debate first started several years ago I felt that I had to take sides. Of course I took the side of "learning" for all the reasons you mentioned here. Learning is a very natural thing to do. Training on the other hand is not so natural especially when it comes to linear topics such as tech training. I see training as the act of acquiring knowledge and skill that has immediate application on the job. I still feel that they are related. A trainer, mentor, facilitator whether real or virtual is still valid and can add much value. said...

I think that words are both important, fun and significant carriers of meaning. I have made a dedication to use the word "learning" in place of "training" or "staff development" in the past year. The word "learning" carries a connotation of knowledge that will be carried forward and applied. Isn't that what we want to get at? Thanks for holding the torch for learning, Helene!