Training vs Education (but it’s all learning)

Some formative ideas on education & training:

Blogs, wikis, aggregators, social networking software, etc. are great tools for informal learning. They help in the creation of personal knowledge repositories and communities of practice. They enhance "learning", in the social-constructivist sense that I always believed our education system should. Given their decentralized nature, these informal learning technologies do not provide the kind of data that a formal system, like an LMS or performance management system, would give.

I think that one of the problems with our education system is that there is too much of a focus on getting quantitive data, like testing. These functions are more suited to a "training" system, where the performance requirements are clear, measurable and observable. In education, the performance requirements are fuzzy. There is nothing wrong with either a training focus or an education focus; each one has its merits. The problem is when you try to mix the two. The arguments that I hear over testing or the adoption of blogs in the classroom seem to be the result of mixing a training systems design approach with a general educational approach. Water and oil.

If your organisation, be it a school or a company, has clear performance expectations, then you should use proven performance technologies, such as drill & feedback, performance support, or a wide variety of other interventions. On the other hand, if your objectives are educational in the broad sense, then forget about testing and controlling, and allow learners to explore and construct their own knowledge.

Informal learning, facilitated by the likes of blogs & wikis, works well for general education, and for continued learning outside of the "classroom". Informal learning (education in the broadest sense) is messy by its very nature. Training, such as how to drive a car, can use a more scientific method to optimize training time, achieve the desired performance and reduce the risk of accidents. Training and education can even use the same tools, like simulations, but not the same approach. Education and training are complementary, but distinct.

Am I just splitting hairs?

5 Responses to “Training vs Education (but it’s all learning)”

  1. Anonymous

    CybersocialTrackBack from Babs - A Day In The Life:

    Your presence is requested to the business and social activities. You will be able to network, discuss mutual challenges, exchange ideas, relieve stress and share experience & knowledge.

    Time: 5:30 p.m.
    MC for June will be Gisèle Godin

  2. Saurabh Sharma

    I want the difference between training and Education…
    According to me :
    Training: its the learning by a person by his own efforts…
    Education: Its the learning by a person with the help of past experiences of the teacher…
    if u think there could be some other difference , please suggest this to me…or post ur suggestions on the website…

  3. Harold

    From Wikipedia, a good place to start:

    Training refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relates to specific useful skills. It forms the core of apprenticeships and provides the backbone of content at technical colleges and polytechnics. Today it is often referred to as professional development.

    Education has as one of its fundamental aspects the imparting of culture from generation to generation (see socialization). Education means ‘to draw out’, facilitating realisation of self-potential and latent talents of an individual.


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