Training and Learning. How should you use them in your business?

whiteboard session to discuss training vs learning

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:

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.

So, 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.

WATCH: 3 Common Barriers to Training (and how to overcome them)

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. Often online retail sales training can include more elements of learning to make it more effective at developing long-term competencies.

How about long-term knowledge retention?

The below graph outlines the typical knowledge-retention curve known as 'The Forgetting Curve' (first hypothesised by Ebbinghause).This was created to illustrate the level of knowledge retained following something like a one-off face-to-face training workshop.

As you can see, there's not a lot that is carried on past the first week if there is no concerted effort for a trainee to revisit the training, or of there is no resource made available for them to do so!

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.

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 which is why having a coach involved in the process is such an important pert of training.

It takes time and feedback to get the best out of your team!

What are the characteristics of learning?

Learning is the process of understanding the knowledge that is presented to the individual  - either by speech, the written word, pictures, and graphs, or via multimedia.

It involves absorbing pieces of information in order to understand concepts, increase knowledge and skills, or to adopt material to teach and train others.

To learn is to absorb and retain information.

This information can be used not only to improve knowledge, as stated, but it can help to equip a person for unexpected situations.

For example...

Learning in the realm of the workplace can help employers and employees to become better at their job and more equipped to handle difficult situations that they may have not encountered before.

While you learn to do something specific, such as taking inventory in a retail store, you’re equipping yourself with the knowledge to replicate these learned actions in future situations.

Therefore, learning can often be characterised as the preparation to face unknown situations and make sense of unknown issues.

When it comes to training versus learning, the main argument for learning and why it’s such a crucial ingredient to the entire whole is that without learning to do something, a person cannot execute an idea or action to the best of their capabilities.

Having specifically learned a process or an idea laid out in a training course, the person learning can use this information and apply it for practical use.

This isn’t just true for work-specific tasks such as operating a till or visual merchandising, but it can also be applied to interpersonal skills; Learning to communicate more effectively with colleagues and customers, learning to negotiate, learning to handle a difficult customer, etc.

Learning is a long-term process focused on the ongoing development of the individual.

The main difference between training and learning is that learning is more about the person, whereas training is more to do with the organisation.

This user-centric approach means learning can be regarded as a key component to the success of any workplace.

What are the characteristics of training?

Training is part of the learning process, yet the difference between training and learning is that training is the action of teaching a person a skill or type of behaviour.

In order for people - especially employees - to learn, you must be able to effectively train them.

Training is one way a business or organisation can promote learning in the workplace and increase their company’s efficiency, productivity, and viability.

Training is essentially the transferring of knowledge learned.In the workplace, an employer may use training in the form of a training course or program to improve their staff’s skill set and performance.

From practical procedures such as taking orders, restocking shelves, and even basic housekeeping to the intricacies of more job-specific tasks such as achieving KPIs and time management skills.

The main focus of training consists of building new skills or improving on existing ones. Many employers train their staff so that they can repeat an action themselves in a future event or situation, as opposed to relying on another to fulfil that task or duty.

Training is often seen as profitable because it's often focused on practical skills acquisition.

The difference between training, learning, and development is that training doesn’t seek to change or expand a person’s viewpoint as learning does, and it doesn’t change the development of a person’s behaviour.

What it does is it describes or dictates a task or job and opens the individual up to responding to and standing up to that task in how they see fit.

Training can, therefore, be seen as a verb, in that it is the act of putting information or ‘stuff’ into people. How the person absorbs it acts upon this stuff is then up to how good they are at learning and using this knowledge to further develop.

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