Are you designing training or professional development?

There is an important distinction between training and professional development. Training is about the ‘how’ — how to comply with certain rules, how to use a budget system, how to use the jargon in a technical field, how to calculate things, how to perform CPR, etc. Training is necessary because people in workplaces must know what tools to use, when and how to use them. Trainees learn to do something automatically, so they can apply these skills under stressful conditions as well.

Professional development includes so much more. It is also about the ‘why’ and should be about empowering people to make a change.

Self-paced e-learning modules are examples of training. Are they meaningful? They have a place in the e-learning landscape, especially for systems and compliance training. Yet even there, the sector is increasingly questioning the need for training when a smart job aid can do the job. Very little of what we do in the workplace is about compliance, yet it dominates the e-learning sector.

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