Training vs Learning

Business simulations are about learning NOT training - learn why I believe that this is true.

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A recent article by Ron Kaufman (06/13/12) in the Chief Learning Officer entitled "Why Customer Training Is Missing the Mark" coupled with a long running thread the Linkedin Learning, Education and Training Professionals Group about how we should describe learners (students, trainees, participants, grunts, etc.) got me thinking about differentiating between learning and training.

What is Training?

Ron Kaufman suggests that "Training plays a key role in teaching defined, job-specific functions". Also Kaufman suggests that training can "wear off too soon."

In the terminology thread a recurring theme was that training was what you did to a dog (to improve its behaviour and teach it to do tricks).

This clearly positions training at the bottom of Bloom's Taxonomy and is an Operational Learning Investment.

What is Learning?

Kaufman contrasts training with education where education is needed when learners face situation where they "must respond to [and where the situations] are often unprecedented and unusual". Situations where learners "must work out problems with each other and to discuss various approaches and options" and where learning involves developing "a higher level of thinking and a greater degree of thoughtful problem solving". Thus the learners need to make the informed judgments that lead to the wise decisions required in this uncertain, complex and ever changing world.

I see education as something that occurs at school and university and so prefer to use the word learning to describe developing the wisdom needed to properly deal with today's (and tomorrow's) world. This clearly positions learning at the top of Bloom's Taxonomy

Another aspect is whether the impact is short-term vs long-term. Again Kaufman suggest that education (learning) is appropriate where there is a need to "Focus on long-term results" and thus is a Strategic Learning Investment.

Training vs Learning

For business people, as illustrated to the right, although training and learning are contrary forces they are interconnected and interdependent - with training providing a foundation of basic knowledge and learning taking this on through experience to wisdom .

Further I feel that training and learning differ in terms of process. I feel that training can be trainer-centric and provided using lecture or on-line e-learning. In contrast, I feel that learning must be interactive and learner-centric and provided through processes such as discussion, role-play and, of course, simulation.

Training, Learning and Business Simulations

Business Simulations involve the application of knowledge and experience and thus build on and test a knowledge base, transforming it into the ability to make wise decisions. Thus business simulations provide learning but there is a need for prior knowledge.

There is a need to provide appropriate prior knowledge through training or experience. Besides developing wisdom a business simulation can be used to identify future training/learning needs.

2012 Jeremy J. S. B. Hall

Most recent update: 19/06/12
Hall Marketing, Studio 11, Colman's Wharf, 45 Morris Road, London E14 6PA, ENGLAND
Phone +44 (0)20 7537 2982 E-mail
jeremyhall@simulations.co.uk