Teachers and trainers seldom take the time to distinguish the difference between “education” and “training.”

There is a big difference and, unfortunately, with the introduction of e-Learning, many trainers have forgotten both the meaning and purpose of “training.”

Information-only programs are beginning to blur the lines. And, sadly, the real losers are those employees who need to learn-through-training — both for themselves and for their organizations.

Too many trainers have lost sight of the important fact that their purpose is to impart necessary skills to those individuals charged with excelling at the necessary tasks they will be asked to perform on-the-job.

The distinction between Education and Training has been clear for centuries. While “Education” is difficult to pin down, the accepted definition revolves around the acquiring of Knowledge for one of a variety of purposes. And, there is a plethora of research indicating that Knowledge arises in the mind of an individual when that person interacts with an idea or experience.

Training, on the other hand, has historically been associated with “skills acquisition.” We learn to do something by being shown how to do it.

Information is merely an ingredient successfully incorporated into both Education and Training, but it can often be a subsidiary part of the skills acquisition (training) process.

According to Bernd Hornung,

“Information is the meaning of the representation of a fact (or of a message) for the receiver.”

We become educated or trained — partially —through the acquisition of information.

So, what’s the big problem?!?

Under the guise of e-Learning, raw information is being packaged today by many training vendors and passed off as skills training. And, too many uninformed buyers, mistakenly, believe that Information Programs are examples of successful skills training. They have forgotten that successful skills training results in “Doing.”

That “Doing” may be hands-on or it may be vicarious through well-designed, multi-sensory media courseware. Information is merely the background knowledge that is often necessary to the “Doing.”

We learn to pack a pump by doing it — not by reading about it. In the first grade we learned to hold a pencil correctly by practicing the doing of it.

So, why are so many vendors passing off Information courseware that is easy to produce?

Because it requires no knowledge on their part of either the learning process or of knowledgeable instructional design. These courses do not result in the “Doing” — which means that your employees have no way to apply the learning to the tasks assigned.

Effective skills training is more difficult to produce because it offers genuine value for the customer through a better-trained workforce that, through increased skills, can positively contribute to an organization’s productivity and its bottom line.

On the other hand, Information Programs are easy collections of simple facts — while ignoring the applications for those facts — resulting in precious little new skills acquisition.

America’s workforce needs training courses that actually teach them the application-knowledge they need to acquire.

Obviously, you want your newly trained employees to excel on the plant floor.

Therefore, to be successful as a trainer you need to re-sharpen your focus on the core differences between education and training!

More on Thursday – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning (Tuesdays & Thursdays)