What is the difference?

Learning, not training

When training, whether this is in reference to people, dogs or roses, the critical element is the learning. Training, or teaching, is the general term to describe the process of engineering learning to happen.

Can learning only happen because teaching and training is arranging it?

There is an inclination to see teaching as a format of education and training as a selected repetition or repeated physical actions. Both are forms of learning.

Learning as an overarching term includes:

  • acquisition of knowledge,
  • development of skills which may be cognitive, perceptive or motor, and
  • understanding,

All of which are continually integrated with our experience and existing knowledge, skills and understanding.

Learning is defined as a “measurable change in behaviour”. We can only know learning has occurred when there is a change we can see, or feel or measure in some way. This can range from an increase in fluency, to a faster response, or a conceptual understanding that is shown in a selected outcome.

We cannot see learning happen unless we can measure the changes

Roses are “trained” up a wall, but the rose is not learning. There is zero choice for the rose, it is tied to the route to be taken, and if not able to adjust to that route, pruned.

In education the teaching process is measured by what the student has learned, in both quantity and quality. Too often in dog training the training process is measured by the success, or failure, of the dog to learn.

When learning is happening it is the learning that must give us the data, the progress made, not whether the teacher or trainer thinks they have done the job and it is the failure of the student or dog to learn.

For this course I will refer to training as the process of learning.

In management there is no active learning. When the management tools are removed there will be no evidence of a change in behaviour. A fence will stop a dog moving between the garden and the field. If the fence is removed the dog may hesitate over the boundary from a habit of stopping at that location, but will then move freely between the garden and the field. Or never return.

The rose is managed to grow along the wall, not trained, and it has not learned. As soon as the wire is removed it will revert to its natural form.

We can be quite sloppy in interchanging these words to mean the same thing or something different – this does not clarify a situation.

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