During my visit to London for the 2012 Summer Games I got inspired for a blog series. In the London Underground, “Mind the Gap” is the constant warning to see and beware of the space between the platform and the train door literally a matter of life and death! Boarding my blog, however, is a 2-minute focus on the valuable difference between words or concepts that otherwise used interchangeably from appearing similar.
What IS the difference, for example, between Teaching and Training?
First of all, why are they similar? Because teaching and training both involve LEARNING! It’s not as philosophical as asking “does the fallen tree make a “sound” in the forrest if no one is there to hear it?” when I ask:
“If no learner is present or no learning has occurred, can it be said that either teaching or training HAS?”
Of course not! So, learning if a necessary component for both why not just call teaching and training “learning” instead of teaching or training? Why are there different words for “learning”? Well, its kind of obvious that teaching is about “knowing” and training is about DOING! For me, its deeper than that. When I really MIND THE GAP to seek value in that difference, it all comes down to Accountability and the worthlessness of teaching WITHOUT training! Let me explain…
Some people in the world learn just for learning’s sake…the information itself IS the reward, so a “grade” has no power of accountability in those cases. Otherwise, without also training, the highest and best reward of being “taught” is getting a letter grade.
“The goal in teaching is what the learner “gets”…whereas with training, the goal is about what the learner can now “do/give”!
MIND THE GAP: We can never train without teaching while we CAN teach without training! But, WHY? Why teach at all without ALSO Training?
Not only can teaching make NO GUARANTEE that the learner will continue to “know” what they have learned, but there is also NO CHANCE of ensuring that the learner will now be able to DO something they were previously unable to do. And, it may seem that Teaching has accountability through quizzes, assignments, exams and, most importantly, due dates and terms (semester, quarter, etc.), but what can be “known” can also be forgotten! Worse yet, ?because “getting a good grade” is the goal, students will: cram, cheat, lie, beg and actually commit fraud to “get a grade”…all the while learning NOTHING! Most of my students admit to forgetting an aced final exam’s worth of “knowledge” in less than 72 hours after the exam (achem, in their other classes, achem). 🙂
When the only thing you are held accountable for (being taught) is “to know” something…the only thing you are really learning is how to remember and forget something. However, once you are “trained” to ride a bike, you’ll “know” forever!
I believe that no matter where you’re at in your life or career, it’s important to be a lifelong learner…but it is even MORE important to be a lifelong TRAINEE! Always ask yourself “What will I be able to DO after this learning experience that I cannot DO now?”
Unless you are part of the 1/7 (one seventh) of our population that values learning JUST for learning’s sake (and even if you ARE), I urge you to make sure there is a “training” component to everything you are taught. Hold your learning experiences accountable to making sure YOU can be held accountable to apply that knowledge to a better life, business or career AFTER the learning has been learned.
Teaching alone can’t promise “application”, the learning MUST include training to do that!
So, what are YOU doing to sharpen your saw? How are you staying competitive and “hirable” through the acquisition of skills and abilities you previously didn’t have? I’d love to hear from you about your experiences and how you choose to learn. Click here for a summary/sampling of private or workplace trainings we provide and CLICK HERE for some free training content on how to hold yourself and others accountable….and, as always, thanks for reading another edition of Mind the Gap!