Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Learning VS My Training or is it?

I think we have heard this over and over again and there is so much talk about Learning and Training especially in the corporate world. Last week I received a call and a colleague was explaining a current situation she had- a vendor had organized a meet for all their clients to share and learn best practices. Of course the question was whether we can justify this is not a learning event. After explaining to her our stand on learning and training and how we treat each other so we can justify whether or not to pick up the bill- I went into deeper thought into the topic and wondered the situation- is learning really free? and do we always have to pay for training?

The corporate world spends millions and millions of investment into human capital development, we send people to be trained to they can obtain the skill or knowledge. At the end, when they completed the program, we say that they are trained for the job but whether they learn is another question.

Training is often or most of the time not free and comes with a hefty price. Sometimes people justify that training is free but that comes from purchasing some machinery or equipment so is it really free?

People can go to training but never learning anything (not always) but people who learnt may not necessary gone for a training and learn from somewhere else.

Learning on the other hand is self initiated and often needs discipline or wait for someone to go "hungry" for information. You can learn from a lot of people via collaboration or you can learn from an expert. But if the expert charges for the learning- it becomes training. (ha ha ha) Then comes the question which is more effective?

Training, you can churn reports and massage the data into the favor of the training department- however most reports show attendances, training courses implemented, feedback for the courses. Seldom do we see the effectiveness of the program- although sometimes there are benefits from training. Learning on the other hand, it is very hard to capture data that someone has learn but you can try to link it to performance. It takes personal initiative to learn and sometimes because of job demand, they find it hard to take time of to learn.

Today we have Google, Flickr, RSS and the list goes on to gather knowledge that can be applied to work. We can gather information, read it in the morning or any time you are free. The benefits of Web 2.0. So learning is made easier... or so I thought. What I found today that there are a lot of information for me to process, too many things to learn. So learning today is available but you need a lot of discipline to process information, put it into plan and then execute it.

Is training really free? Is learning really free? Training comes with a financial price while learning comes with a personal time and sacrifice. Both however have the same outcome (although there is a discussion about which is more effective) that is to build skill, knowledge- human capital development.

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