Teaching vs training LO18005

Richard S. Webster (webster.1@osu.edu)
Wed, 6 May 1998 16:46:36 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO17895 --

Kathy Smith & Other LO Network Colleagues -

>(1) ...is there a difference between "teaching" and "training"?

My experience is that "teaching" is what is done in schools (K-12) and
colleges, "training" is what happens in business settings, and
"instruction" is used in both, somewhat interchangeably with "teaching"
and "training."

T-T-I all involve the organization taking responsibility for content, what
is to happen, when, how, who's to attend, and what they are (supposed) to

A useful and agreeable difference with "learning" is that the
responsibility is in the hands (and heads) of each learner: each
individual must decide - ideally with the organization's help, support,
encouragement, recognition and reward.

The most helpful description of what's wrong with what he calls
"institutional learning" (and what I think is better described as T-T or
I) is in Peter Vaill's "Learning as a way of being:..." (Jossey-Bass,
1996). Anyone who has any doubts of the efficacy of T-T-I as strategies
for helping individuals improve their performance on-the-job need only
read the first 100 pages of Vaill's book. Couple his powerful critique
with Dana & Jim Robinson's "Performance Consulting:..." (Berrett-Koehler,
1995) in which they point out that less than 30% of whatever goes on in
T-T-I sessions gets back to the job, and you have (a) an even stronger
argument for moving from T-T-I to "learning!" and (b) 100% - 30% = 70%
waste. Seventy percent of the $50 billion / year spend on "training" is a
BIG number that argues for "learning as a way of being!"

I'm proposing "responsibility" as a key distinction. Martine Devos'
<mdevos@argo.be> use of "surprise" (LO17900) was also very helpful. Was
it Holiday Inn that pointed out that "the best surprise is no surprise?"
Martine proposes that the most effective workers (and I'd bet the most
satisfied and most productive) are those equipped to deal with the
unexpected and with well-designed responsibility for their own learning.
Vaill assures us that this "permanent white water" is full of surprises,
and things will likely get more frantic in the years ahead.

>Training: to be prepared against surprise? (Yes, no question marks in my
>mind. I wonder what responses you will receive from those taking
>responsibility for planning, designing and delivering the T, or I or T?)

>Learning: to be prepared for surprise? (Again yes, as determined by each
>individual, taking responsibility for what they feel they need to learn,
>with the help and support of the person they report to - the work group
>leader - and best if also another company person, a "performance

>2) Also, how inclusive is the concept of "learner"? Are there differences
>in who gets to learn what kind of information (in theory? in practice?)?

Each individual is a learner, on and off the job. Not everyone enjoys
this role, largely thanks to "T-I and T" in school and on-the-job. Being
told what - when- how to "learn" for 12 or more years is not always a big
thrill or results in a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Difficult to help companies change their views on "training" and move
toward "learning" models that move freedom of choice downward throughout
the organization, with individual responsibility for good planning and
accomplishment of learning plans worked out with the organization's help
and support.

Hope these viewpoints are useful and that you'll summarize your views in
light of LO network responses.

Dick Webster

Richard S. Webster, Ph.D. - President
Personal Resources Management Institute
709 Wesley Court - Worthington OH 43085-3558
e-mail <webster.1@osu.edu>, fax 614-433-71-88, tel 614-433-7144

PRMI is a 501(c)3 non-profit research, development, and consulting company
founded in 1978. The Institute's programs and projects relate to:

* "Learning models," a key strategy for performance improvement and making
the paradigm shift from "training, instruction and teaching."

** The use of proven change activities and tools for improving performance,
work processes, learning, and other desired results. Effective change
practices come from creative ideas (CI), inclusive leadership (IL, e.g.
Block's stewardship, Greenleaf's servant leadership), knowledge
management (KM), learning organizations (LO), organization development
(OD), participative management (PM), and quality improvement (QI).

*** Learning qualities of character and citizenship (QCC, referred to in
many educational circles as "character education.").

NB: Remember - learning is each person's responsibility, and opportunity.


"Richard S. Webster" <webster.1@osu.edu>

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