Sunday, August 26, 2012

Training versus Learning

I truly believe that "learning" is one of the most important competencies for everybody who want to survive the crisis and who has ambition to grow. Training will not be the answer, Learning is the key to success. But what is the difference ?

Training is an activity
Learning is an attitude

What do I mean by this ? 
Training is what we do in a classroom, or via e-learning, a manual, ... Most of the time, it is somebody else who shares his knowledge & experience with us. It is an outside-in activity. Training often results in wallpaper-certificates.

Learning is very different from training. It is an attitude that happens 100% of the time. We learn from what we do. If we fail, we create a learning opportunity to prevent us from doing the same mistake twice. Good learners do this in a conscious way. They take time to reflect on what happened and what they can learn from it. It is an inside out activity. Learning results in knowledge and experiences that help us grow, improve and excel.

In Belgium organizations have to "train" their staff a certain number of days a year. E.g. in Logistics this is 5,5 days every 2 years. That means 1% of the time employees spent on improving their skills (if they attend a successful training. I honestly believe we should spent almost all of our time on learning.

My tips to improve Learning in your organization

  1. Allow employees to make mistakes, if they learn from it.
  2. Regularly ask your employees what they learned that day. This will start up a process where people start reflecting on what they did today and find ways to do it better tomorrow.
  3. Organize learning groups where people can learn from each other. 
  4. Don't focus on the amount of hours your staff attended trainings, but check how many innovative ideas (process improvement, new products, ...) they launched. This is an important indicator that they learn.
  5. If you have a training departement in your organization, change it into the learning facilitation department and allow them to create a learning culture (by facilitating workshops, improve learning awareness, ...)
Become today a learning organization and start you growth and innovation. 

What's next ?
Over the next few weeks, I will publish a series of articles on the challenges for learning & development and provide some practical tips how you can improve your organization.