What are the differences between training and teaching?

“Training” and “teaching” are two different instruments of learning and we have to make a distinction between them in order to know how to use them correctly in our personal and professional development. The distinction is necessary especially for the specialists involved in people development in order to be efficient in their role.

Teaching is more theoretical and abstract, while training is more hands-on and practical. Teaching seeks to impart knowledge and provide information, while training is intended to develop abilities.

For example, suppose you want to teach someone how to paint a house. You can explain how paints works, you can showcase several finished work that you have done in the past, you can showcase masterpieces, you can even demonstrate painting right in front of delegates.

How much can you achieve only with these kinds of techniques?

You can raise learners’ awareness, introduce various techniques or make them interested in the skills. However, unless they pick up a brush and paint something they will not know how it feels to paint or what they are supposed to do when they hold it in their hands. How much pressure does it take, what angle to use, what kinds of issues to expect or how would drawing on a canvas feel? If they don’t go through the experience themselves they are very likely to forget all about it shortly after the course.

It’s the same with management skills, sales skills or any other soft skills. People must experience the skills, preferably several times, before they can learnsomething new.

Teach: to provide knowledge, instruction or information

Train: to develop abilities through practice with instruction or supervision

Training is about learning a new skill. It is not about awareness or getting exposed to a new field. That is the aim of a teaching.

It also aims to teach delegates new skills there and then. In a training course, you cannot rely on training people once they have left the course. That would be self-learning; not an interactive, instructor-led training course.

Training should be viewed by employers as a management tool. A strong training program helps employees understand not just what to do, but also how and why to do it. The best trainers know how to bring in pre-learning materials and useful follow-up processes and to bridge the gaps between past learning and future development programs.

Both teaching and training are important parts of long-term employee development that can be used independently or together to improve employee performance.

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