Yesterday I was musing on the difference between training and education, wondering why training in the workplace is usually ineffective. This is my stream of consciousness on the question.

Many people consider training and education the same, however they have several distinct differences. Training is the process of learning something with a goal of performing a specific skill or behaviour. Education, on the other hand, is the systemic process of learning something with a goal of acquiring knowledge.

In education, a person learns facts, concepts, and theories. In training, a person learns how to apply those facts, concepts, and theories. ([Difference between Training and Eduction])

So, most “training” in business, is not set within an environment of fact, concept, and theory so it is little wonder why training often falls short of what it aims to do.

  • What do we mean by learning?
  • What do we mean by knowledge?

Education and training are processes of learning that result in knowledge which provides a person with the power to choose from a set of actions different from the set they had available to them prior to the learning occurring.

Post-learning, a person will have:

  • an expanded set of distinctions available to them, enhancing how they observe
  • new practical skills

There is no guarantee that what is learnt is a true assertion. It is all too easy to learn from the opinions of others in ways that positively and negatively modify the way we observe the world.

Knowledge is a physical phenomenon. That’s obvious with the attainment of practical skills as these are often based in physical movement. What is not obvious, are the changes in physiology that accompany the acquisition of any knowledge. Yet, to say we acquire knowledge that suggests knowledge is independent from physiology - some kind of “add-on” - and it’s not. Rather, knowledge is nothing short of a change in our body from the moment when the knowledge is not yet part of us, to the next moment when it is.

After I learn something, I am physically different. That happens 100’s of times a day. What a wonder that is.