How Is Training Different From Education?

Picture someone standing in front of a classroom. What do you call that person? A teacher? A trainer? What’s the difference?

A teacher’s job is to educate their students, to impart knowledge. The learner is focused on facts and theory, and the teacher’s job is to impart good information and explain complex ideas. But education doesn’t typically involve application. What students do with their education is up to them.

A trainer’s job, on the other hand, is to impart instruction for the sake of application. Training is focused on behavior. Certainly some amount of education can be useful in training, especially when it comes to complex tasks, but at its core training is about learning to do something.

This, ultimately, is why organizations invest in the training of their workers. Companies benefit from the application of knowledge, not the acquisition of knowledge.

Unfortunately too many training programs include too much education. The effect is to dilute the training, to distract the learner, to make it less clear what they are supposed to leave the class and go do.

For example, a training course on engine repair doesn’t need to include facts about where the engine was manufactured. It need not go into the history of why engineers made this or that technical choice in the engine design. Learners in an engine repair course need to know how to diagnose a problem (which will involve some amount of theory) and how to fix it. Anything else is just noise.

In your training programs, ask yourself what you want your learners to do after completing your course. Focus on how to accomplish that, and cut anything else.

Academic Approach

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