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Training vs. Learning

June 9, 2009

Here’s a short comparison:

  Training… Learning…
Focus is on Trainer Trainee
Definition of success is I covered all the material, or I told them everything that I needed to I have changed my behaviour as a result of the new information and skills
Level of engagement Trainer’s engagement is limited to the learning event. Learner’s engagement is dependent on many things Trainer’s engagement is variable Learner’s engagement is high
Expectation Attendance Improved performance
Time required “face time” only As long as it takes for behaviour to change

Training is easier, much more measurable and concrete, while learning is none of those things.  It takes longer, is dependent on each learner and is harder to measure.  BUT, the payoff is much greater if the outcome is “did they learn” not “were they trained”.   Training is the means to the end.  Learning is the end.

What is really at the heart of this, is the need to create a culture of learning, not just training.  No easy feat, I can guarantee.  However, over time, you can shape your culture into one of learning, not just training, but it means you have to describe & draw a vision for the future, articulate the values and guiding principles you apsire to and build everything to reflect the culture that you want to see.  One method that I’ve used, was based on the “story centered curriculum” approach.  According to Roger Schank, every curriculum tells a story, and you want yours to tell the right one.  Download and read the white paper, it is an informative parable!

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