Training or learning?

The shift of emphasis from ‘training’ to ‘learning’ initially driven by budget restraints – on-the-job rather than paid training courses – gathers pace with the emphasis increasingly on integrated continuous learning, aligned with and supporting organisational strategy and business objectives, and facilitated by line managers rather than delivered by external providers.

Learning and talent development opportunities continue to be a significant factor for recruitment and retention. It boosts the employer brand and employee value proposition. Effective learning and development programmes are important for engagement too:

Randstad research shows fulfilment at work derives largely from job satisfaction – particularly opportunities for development – and the absence of these is one of the main causes of voluntary staff turnover.

The basic distinction between training and learning remains the same. In a 2004 study Helping people learn: strategies for moving from training to learning, Jake Reynolds wrote: “training has a tendency to react to present needs... to transfer large amounts of information rather than build on the knowledge of participants... detached from the context in which work is produced”.

Learning, in contrast, has been described as supporting, accelerating and directing learning interventions at group or individual level in the context of the workplace and in ways designed to support organisational strategy and support processes needed to put new ideas into practice.