learning or training

Recognising the similarities and differences between ‘learning’ and ‘training’ is vital when determining the purpose of an educational course. With this in mind, perhaps it’s sensible to take a look at both approaches to professional development to understand what each is really about.

Let’s start off with a definition of the terms. Training can be described as the giving of knowledge and information, through the written word, speech, or other methods of presentation, in a way that instructs a trainee for a specific objective. Learning is the process of receiving and understanding information to improve your skills and to understand how best to apply them.

In what way is training different?

Conversely, training is more of a direct process for developing skills for a specific aim. For example, a new starter at a job may receive training to ensure they can carry out necessary daily tasks and understand how their role fits into the larger organisational picture. Essentially, training is not supposed to change how a person learns. The point is to teach the learner how something is done so that they can do it by themselves.

So, how does e-learning fit into this?

An effective curriculum for e-learning will employ the principles of both learning and training. This enables a tutor to provide students with the means to deal with present matters, develop lasting skills, improve problem-solving abilities, and show how to make best use of educational resources such as online libraries and databases.

E-learning is particularly effective in allowing a student to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule, which can have positive effects on the efficiency of the learning. In fact, a recent Brandon-Hall Group study found that e-learning typically requires 40% to 60% less employee time when compared with a traditional classroom setting. It allows students to try, fail, learn from mistakes, and try again, without the pressure of the classroom environment. In addition to this, the Research Institute of America found that e-learning increases employee retention rates on training courses – between 25% and 60% – while employee retention rates of face-to-face training are very low by comparison, at just 8% to 10%.

For these reasons and more, businesses are turning to e-learning as the solution for investing in and upskilling their employees, whilst simultaneously meeting the ambitions of individuals who are looking to enhance their careers or start out on new and fulfilling career paths.