Educating vs Training
Do we really want to deliver and receive training? Or would educating be better for everyone?
I’ve spent almost 2 decades working with people at all levels of seniority, in organisations from many different industries and market sectors and in many countries around the world, trying to help them understand and adopt new ideas. This type of work is generally called training. But I’ve never been comfortable with the word training to describe what I do. For me, the word educating better describes my intention and what I have learned is most likely to achieve the best results.
To me, training is something we do to animals. Like getting a dog to walk at your side or a horse to walk sideways. Educating is something we engage in with people. Like helping them understand how something works so they can make better use of it, or explaining why a different approach could help them achieve improved results.
I also think that substituting the word educating for the word training can lead to a better methodology from the person delivering it and to better outcomes for the person or people receiving it.
For the person delivering it, it should help them understand that the purpose of their work is not to tell people what to do. It is to help them understand why what you hope they will do is the best approach, so they will then choose to do it. It should also encourage them, at the appropriate times, to allow the people they are trying to educate to learn through error, and not to step in and make corrections whenever they sense error approaching. Mistakes are a key to effective learning.
For the person receiving it, it should help them realise that they will not be told what to do; they must work that out for themselves. This means they must first learn what are the best approaches and why. Then they must decide how best to use what they have learned. This also means they will have to struggle with the new ideas and techniques until they master them. But that’s a good thing because it’s how understanding and skill are built. Struggle is another key to effective learning.
So I think we need less training and more educating; and if my experience is anything to go off, the outcome will be more people who can think for themselves and make sensible decisions to do things they have learned and know will deliver worthwhile outcomes.
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