3 min read/Published On: June 11, 2020/589 words/

Learning vs Training

Last week, we talked about the fact that “eLearning does not work” – well, ordinary eLearning doesn’t anyway.  After we published last week’s post, a friend shared that they worked in Air Conditioning, with a number of current contracts in NHS settings.   As a result, they had to undertake loads of eLearning… (sound familiar?).  

What they actually did though was set the eLearning video going, sat down to the latest episode of their favourite boxset and waited for the video to get to the section where the questions were; as long as they got 80%, they were good to go.  Achieving 80% wasn’t too hard anyway because they had lots of experience to draw on.

This prompted me to think of two things: firstly, the difference between training and learning, which I must have mentioned before now; and, secondly, if you have lots of experience, why should you have to go through the entire training course?

Training vs Learning

This, for me anyway, is essentially straightforward – training is the method and learning is what you take away or remember.  You have all heard the expression that goes “you won’t remember the meal at the restaurant, but you will remember how the staff made you feel”.  Learning and training are very similar…

Anyone can attend a course, but not everyone will LEARN from it, which is why we like to talk about “person-centred learning”.  Think of it this way: when you start to work with a new person you are supporting or a client, what is the very first thing you do?  An assessment.  WHY?  So that the service you provide will meet the needs of that person.  You don’t have a “one-size-fits-all” service, so why we do have a “one-size-fits-all” attitude towards training and learning?

For the CIPD and HR professionals among you, when you first learned about Honey and Mumford and Learning Styles, did you have a dawning realisation of “that’s why I like to work this way… or learn this way”?  I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Honey many moons ago, and it was a fascinating conversation.

If the assessment is important for the people we support, then why wouldn’t we do the same for our staff?  Which leads me to my next point…

“But I already know all this, I have an NVQ and 12 years experience!”

I will be the first one to say, there is always room for improvement, just like CQC.  But, if we have a “one-size-fits-all” approach to training and learning where “everyone does everything, just in case”, then, guess what, the experienced people just switch off with any new staff desperately trying to keep up.

This is what we like to call the “sheep-dip” and what staff call “boring”!

However, if we could rapidly assess knowledge and skills, then tailor the delivery according to the various skill sets and knowledge identified, we make that quick transition to learning.  With staff more engaged, they feel more valued (remember Neil Eastwood’s post a while back?)

The flip side of “I know it all” is “awesome, we have a system to help you record your awesomeness and for us to collect the evidence we need for CQC, let’s get stuck in with an assessment”.  I do appreciate we might need a snappier tagline, but hopefully you are with me…

We don’t deliver “one-size-fits-all” care, so let’s not deliver “one-size-fits-all” training; instead let’s start facilitating learning, as that’s the bit that impacts on practice…

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