training or learning?

The shift from undertaking externally-provided training courses to learning on-the-job was initially driven by budget restraints. The emphasis is increasingly being placed on integrated continuous learning, aligned with and supporting organisational strategy and business objectives, and facilitated by line managers.

Learning and talent development opportunities continue to be a significant factor for effective recruitment and retention. It boosts the employer brand and employee value proposition. Effective learning and development programmes are important for engagement too: Randstad’s Fulfillment@Work report shows fulfillment at work derives largely from job satisfaction – particularly opportunities for learning new skills – and the absence of these is one of the main causes of voluntary staff turnover.

The basic distinction between training and learning remains the same. In ‘Helping people learn: strategies for moving from training to learning’, Jake Reynolds writes: “Training has a tendency to react to present needs... to transfer large amounts of information rather than build on the knowledge of participants... detached from the context in which work is produced.”


Learning, in contrast, can be described as supporting, accelerating and directing learning interventions at a group or individual level in the context of the workplace to support the organisational strategy and processes needed to put new ideas into practice.


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