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  • Writer's pictureInsightworks

Learning, Education, Training.. Different or Similar?

Are learning, education and training just buzzwords used in seminars, or workshops? Do they have differences? I believe there are great differences between them.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines these words as:  


· the activity or process of gaining knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something: the activity of someone who learns

· knowledge or skill gained from learning  


· the action or process of teaching someone especially in a school, college, or university

· the knowledge, skill, and understanding that you get from attending a school, college, or university  


· a process by which someone is taught the skills that are needed for an art, profession, or job   Learning is the entire bubble that encompasses both education and training – the knowledge or skill that is gained. All humans continuously learn throughout their lives. The old saying “You learn something new every day” rings true – it is impossible to stop learning. Whether it be through training, education or a blend of both – learning is the outcome. Once a person has learned something their behaviour has changed – they’ve made connections with the materials and are applying it to their lives.  

Daniel Burrus said it best:

You train people for performance.

You educate people for understanding

Education allows people to develop a deeper understanding of a concept.  For example, during a nursing degree, a student will learn about the biology and chemistry of the human body and drugs used to treat it. This allows the nurse to understand the theory, major concepts, and understand the big picture – the why and the how.   On the other hand, training provides skill-based knowledge and the practical skills to perform a task – it provides you with the how-to. This same nursing student will, for example, learn how to insert an IV into a patient. This task requires practice. The student will be educated on the situations that an IV is needed, why it needed, what types of drugs can be injected through an IV, but ultimately would not be able to correctly complete the task without training.   In my experience, workplace learning is best achieved when there is a blend of both education and training. In order to implement a new process or use a new piece of equipment one needs to be taught how to perform the task, but also needs to understand the fundamentals – how this new task or skill will affect their current work, or why this process or new equipment is being adopted. By providing both practical skills and theory, employers are able to leverage one and the other to achieve deeper learning for their team.


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