Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

What Is Your Best Definition Of Training?

I happened to fall onto an interesting exchange among trainers, instructional designers and educational specialists and the issue of defining training in a more precise way was brought up by one of the participants.

Photo Credit: Cristian Galletti (29) Casalgrande, (RE), Italy
Though your and mine opinion may diverge a great deal from some of the reference statements made here, I find this piece a valuable starting point for reflection and questioning about one of those things we give too easily for granted.

I invite you to challenge yourself with the same question and to try to contribute your own alternative options/definitions right after this one.

What does training really mean?



I would suggest that like many other words in the English Language there is no single correct "definition". There are, however, several referents.

I remember the EITB referent as being "Any situation in which an expert on a topic speaks to a group on that topic for two hours or more."

"Training" is a word that can be used at three levels:

Level one -- Here it is used as a generic word covering all of the following methods of providing learning opportunities "coach", "instruct", "lecture", "tutor" and "teach" and "instruct".

Level two -- Frequently, however, it is used as a misnomer for these various forms. For example "instructing". Instructing, for example, is essentially the directing of the learning of a 'skill', (particularly one that has to be applied on a 'one right way' basis.) Same for the 'training' of animals as well as for how to fly an aeroplane.

Level three -- Here is the *process* whereby learning opportunities are provided for those who wish to or are nominated to learn specific knowledge and/or applications of that knowledge. Training is more
effective if a systematic and analytical training process is applied.

This follows the stages of:

* Establishing precise/measurable learning objectives, related to what the learner should be able to DO following the training. -- Should derive from the
identification and analysis of operational and/or personal performance needs.)

* Designing and compiling the form, method and media for the optimum balance (of quality, quantity, time and cost) to deliver against the objectives. -- Should take into account learning styles etc.

* Delivering of this "training" package. [It's here that "train" (i.e."present"), "DIY-training", "coach", "instruct", "lecture", "tutor" and "teach" most obviously separate.]

* Assessing the programme's effectiveness. -- This is carried out at three levels -- Internal Validation (did the delivery of the package meet the required learning objectives? Correctly, this may be considered to be a "test" the participants based requirement, although it has been broadened to assess the training deliverer and venue etc.) It's the only one within the "Training" process. The other two -- External Validation (Was the training correct for the situation and is it being applied?) and Evaluation (Was the training cost-beneficial / cost-effective?) are effectively "manager/management" rather than "Training Dept." responsibilities.

So, to answer the question "What do we mean by 'training'?" here is what I would contribute:

"The systematic analytical based designing of methods and media so as to enable an individual or group to learn predetermined knowledge and/or processes against predetermined objectives and apply it to a required standard."

Source (used with permission):Maurice Hogarth - TopLine Management from Training-Ideas YahooGroup. Access requires registration.

What's your take on this? What does Training really mean to you?

Readers' Comments    
2010-04-07 21:21:56


The last post is very false. First and foremost, educating and training are different. Second, it is not necessary to have a behavior change with either of the two. You can educate and train me on different topics, thus does not mean I will change my behavior, especially with educating.

2010-01-25 01:28:16

Dr Jeremy Taylor

Both education and training are about behaviour change.

Please keep it simple or i'd hate to sit in one of your lessons!!

2009-01-19 15:27:30


Can anyone help me locate information on the "fair" or "fare" system of training someone has asked me abiut it but have never heard of it before.

2007-10-07 10:57:34

Business Industrial Network

Our training standard (BIN95) uses what you refer to as 'Level Three', then our training improves on it to bring it to the 'World Class

2005-03-14 11:26:58

amit gupta

i want to full knoeledge about tranning & defenation, meaning, objectivs, mission, vision, characterstic and much more.

posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, July 6 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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