What's the difference between training and learning?

What’s the difference between training and learning?
March 8, 2016 Anya Anderson
man working on his laptop

What’s the Difference Between Training and Learning?

And, what impact can a culture of training vs. a culture of learning have on your business?

‘Training’ and ‘learning’ are inextricably linked, but they’re different aspects of the educational process and both yield different outcomes. So let’s break it down:




The action of teaching a person a particular skill or type of behaviour.

The acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience, or being taught.


Short term

Long term

Focused On

Immediate needs

Career development


The masses

The individual


Specific job or role related

Conceptual and general knowledge


So, while training is aimed at teaching the masses how to perform a specific skill or replicate a desired behaviour, learning is a more personal approach to education.

The idea of “learning” in this context is focused around ongoing development of the individual.

We’ve all heard “Have you done the training?”, “Have you been trained yet?”, “I haven’t been trained.” All of these phrases point towards training having a beginning and an end. The idea behind learning is that it never ends.

What impact does this have on your business?

Knowing the difference between the two allows you to better identify personal development opportunities for different employees. But, it’s important to remember that personalised learning doesn’t replace formal training.

They have different aims and satisfy different business needs.

Being able to create a learning pathway for an employee rather than a one-off training event can have enormous benefits to the business including reductions in staff churn, increase in customer satisfaction and an increase in sales.

How do you get the best ROI on your training?

Let’s imagine we’re a retail company looking to improve the way you and your team sell on the shop floor.

Which method is going to transfer the most knowledge?

You could send your trainees on a day’s worth of training… However, while short-term training may be more cost effective and less time-consuming upfront, is it really saving you time & money in the long run?

We’ve done a bit of a deep dive into the nitty-gritty stats and additional factors, to help you to get the best learning outcomes long term!

Short term face-to-face training is great to get staff engaged and give them a kick-start to the topic you’re wanting to cover.

We often get asked; How is this method of training measured long-term? How much is it really saving you in the future?

From a cost perspective, short-term training can have a number of hidden or un-budgeted costs in terms of travel-time and taking your staff off the shop floor for a period of time.

So, when we say “we’re saving money with short-term training”, this statement becomes a little more complex as it can be a bit of a false economy.

How about long-term retention?

The below graph outlines the typical knowledge-retention curve following a face-to-face training workshop.

knowledge retention scale over times

How do you measure the success of learning?

Companies who have a strong culture of learning embedded in their business realise that training is more than just box-ticking exercise, and a measure of ‘success’ is more than just the completion rate of a course. Businesses should be interested in how engaged their trainees are in the training, as the higher the engagement the higher the quality of learning.

It takes time and feedback to get the best out of your team! We talk here at RedSeed about how fundamental Coaches are to a trainees engagement but that deserves its own article which you can read about here.

Because learning is about ongoing development and changing behaviours, measuring course completions doesn’t give you an accurate snapshot of how engaged your trainees are in their training. Here at RedSeed we give you a snapshot of your businesses engagement with an Energy Score. The more people who are active or have completed their training, the better. You can read more about how we calculate Energy here.

If you want to change your businesses selling behaviour then make sure you get in touch and we would be happy to run you through how RedSeed can grow your business.