Training vs. Development

Over at is another attempt at explaining the difference between training and development. The site targets businesses with the primary purpose of selling online software applications, but once in a while, there are articles of value. This one could apply to any organization and is worth a read. Here a few highlights:

In general:

Traditionally training has comprised the of learning a set of skills. Or predictable actions or behaviour. This change in skills and behaviour is usually aimed at improving the current job performance of an individual. Training may also prepare an individual for a potential job or role.

Development not only seeks to improve performance in a role, but seeks to bring out some form of maturity growth. Development is used to increase the potential of an employee as well as equip them to be ‘better’ individuals.

Training compared to Development

Comparison Chart of Training & Development

Meaning The action of teaching a person a particular skill or type of behaviour. The action of providing the opportunity for an individual to improve their general knowledge and abilities for their overall growth.
Term Short Term Long Term
Focus on Present/ immediate need Future role
Concentrated towards Job & ability Career & possibility
Who leads? Trainer Self
Purpose To improve the work performance or capabilities of an employee. To prepare individuals for future challenges.
Number of people One or many Only one
Aim Specific job or role related Conceptual and general knowledge

The Purpose of Training

To provide the ability to undertake a task or job

To improve productivity and workforce flexibility

To improve safety and quality

To develop the capability of the workforce

The Purpose of Development

More productive management and leadership come from better educated and informed managers. Research has shown that the performance of managers can be improved through:

Better knowledge

Changing attitudes

Increased capability and skills

The purpose of ‘development’ is to improve leadership effectiveness through planned and structured learning. A planned approach to developing managers and leaders will enable the growth of managers. It will also provide for the future needs of the business or organisation.

The article emphasizes that training is best conducted on-the-job rather than in a classroom.

In the past (the 1970s & 1980s), training was associated with being in a classroom with a trainer or instructor. A training course started at the beginning, ended at the end, and everyone in the room got the same things.

The world has moved on.

I have pontificated on this point before. Too often we all sit through a training workshop on a particular subject in which we have no or little interest or of which we really need some small part. That “some small part” is presented, but we miss it while looking at our smartphone messages. Besides, even if we heard the lecture and observed the demonstration, could we have performed “some small part” on our own? We’ll never know. What is needed is just-in-time performance oriented training (POT): (1) need identified and communicated, (2) subject matter expert appears and trains to the task, (3) repetitive performance of task, (4) critique and re-training as necessary.