The words training and development are generally used interchangeably in the corporate world. However, while there are many similarities between the two, they are not the same. It is critical to identify these differences between training and development to create a cohesive and effective learning path for employees.
Here are 5 key differences between training and development:
- 1) Scope –
- The primary differentiator between training and development is the scope they cover. Development has a much larger scope. Employee development relates to the processes that are designed to develop employees in an organization. Employee development generally includes – classroom training, on the job training, cross skilling, coaching and mentoring, stretch assignments etc. Employee development is carried out in collaboration between the employer and employee by considering the career aspirations of the employee.
- Training on the other hand, is more specific in its scope. As we saw earlier, training is one of the methodologies used to develop employees. From that perspective training is designed to address specific developmental needs of employees and therefore the scope of training is narrower.
- 2) Duration –
- Employee development is carried out throughout the life cycle of an employee within the organization. Since employee development relates to the overall career aspirations of the employee, it is an ongoing process. Career development initiatives may change depending on the career aspirations of the individual. However, we must remember here that the individual career aspirations cannot be in contradiction to the organizational vision and goals.
- Training initiatives are short-term. They are designed to address specific development needs or knowledge gaps of the individual. Training programs usually last a day or two, in recent times however, this duration has further reduced to half-day or a few hours, keeping the attention span of individuals in mind.
- 3) Outcome –
- Another differentiation factor between training and development is the outcome expected from the two. The outcome of training is skill enhancement or addressing knowledge and skill gaps. Training can also be behavioral in nature where it addresses behavioral challenges that an individual may face and therefore may struggle with cultural fitment.
- Development like its scope has much wider outcomes. Employee development is designed to meet the career aspirations of the employee, it results in employee growth, more efficient output and very importantly it improves employee motivation. Employee feel motivated when they see the organization investing resources in their development and this in turn impacts retention.
- 4) Target –
- Training initiatives are generally targeted at a group of people with similar learning needs. A group of individuals needing time management training are generally put together in a classroom to undergo time management training. Learning is largely in a group and common challenges are addressed.
- Development is focused towards the individual since it is designed to address specific career needs and aspirations of an individual. No two employees will have an identical development plan since it will consider their aspirations, current expertise tenure etc. However, two employees may go through the same training program as part of their individual development journey.
- 5) Focus –
- Another factor that creates a difference between training and development is the focus of the two initiatives. Development is future focused; it relates to a long-term plan that is derived from the career path of an individual. All development initiatives are designed to reach a certain future state in terms of technical and soft skills to attain a certain career goal. For this reason, development initiatives are long-term.
- By now we understand the focus of training is the present. Training addresses current and short-term learning needs. While training may eventually be part of the development journey, but the focus is to present.