Training Versus Learning

Stretford End

Over the past few years there has been a significant ‘shift’ as organisations have sophisticated and begun to realise that the pick and mix, sheep dip approach to people development doesn’t achieve the impact necessary. Now the talk is of learning, Training Managers have become Learning and Development Managers, Training Departments have moved the same way. Often the terms learning and training become interchangeable and with a hierarchy being adopted where training becomes secondary to the (perceived) more value-adding process of learning.
What most organisations are missing is that it’s not either/or but instead its about the dynamic combination of learning and training and it is on this which we believe all people development should be based.

What Does The Combination Look Like?

First of all, let’s get our definitions clear:

  • Learning focuses on achieving permanent changes in behaviour. Learning interventions are generally longer term, driven by providing the individual with the opportunity to achieve the changes through personal experience or practice. Interventions tend to include things like 1-1 coaching and mentoring and 360 Feedback.
  • Training focuses on the acquisition of new skills and knowledge with training interventions generally being event driven. Classroom based workshops and pure play e-learning modules all feature heavily in the training arena.

And the differences between the two?


  • Skills development
  • Externally applied
  • Short term skill uplift
  • Equips for known challenges
  • Meets current organisational requirements
  • Focuses on the group
  • Primarily structured
  • ‘Doing’


  • Behaviour change
  • Internally accepted
  • Long term change
  • Equips for ambiguous future
  • Defines organisational future
  • Is focused by individuals
  • Primarily organic
  • ‘Understanding’

Structured Training understand this combination and deliver solutions through which:

  • Provide relevance by tailoring the solution to the individual rather than the group.
  • Balance the need for tactical skills injection with longer term strategic development.
  • Create ownership and commitment by enabling the individual to drive their own development.
  • Draw on theory and best practice and connecting them into the individual’s day to day reality.
  • Optimise the return on training expenditure by focusing on the real rather than the perceived need.

All Structured Training courses contain a range of activities and techniques all designed against the backdrop of the organisational objectives and tailored to suit the needs of the individual.