• Krista Schaber-Chan

The difference between training and learning

Training and learning are two words that are often used interchangeably. There are similarities, but there are also some significant differences between the two, including how they are used within companies. Let’s start with the differences.


1. Training = a bum in a seat and is short-term and Learning = a journey and is long-term


Companies are constantly providing training to their employees and this is typically done for an immediate need like compliance. For example, if you work in the financial sector you will regularly be asked to complete a course on money laundering. This course will include instructional materials, as well as, some sort of activity to test your knowledge. Employees are required to review the course materials and must also pass a test for the company to be compliant.


Learning on the other hand is a bigger endeavour. It’s long-term and is often focused on achieving larger goals related to personal or professional development. What’s more is, learning includes training that will contribute to a specific goal which is not necessarily technical. An example here is career progression. Those looking to advance into a leadership position may enrol to learn more about managing people. This type of learning would be ongoing and can potentially encompass several management methodologies.

2. Training is usually mandated and promoted by a company. Learning is often more personal and led by the individual.


Training activities are regularly pushed onto employees by the company. This is common especially during change such as technology or business process implementations. In these cases, employees may require training to teach them a new skillset, or to learn how to use a new software program that is being implemented.