Teaching vs. Training

Training as an essential part of education comes from the importance of skill development and education institutions being able to offer their future alumnus as skilled employees for various careers. Mewar University has a tradition of providing essential and value-added training and it is important that both these directions are covered in the curriculum. Teaching and training are non-interchangeable and have their own methods, the former dealing with acquired knowledge and the latter with application of knowledge.

Teaching is more of learning the theory. Mainly, itreinforces knowledge in which that you already have a foundation. As an example, when we started schooling, it was to grasp the fundamentals by rote,and once grasped, it becomes those fundamentals to start on and continue learning. In the case of language, it is always seen that even if one has a command over the language and is skillful with using the language, it is the practice and ability to adapt that enhances the learning curve. Most cases of success come from implementing the knowledge and adapting it to meet the skillsets. The theories and principles that is learnt in various disciplines, be it arts, sciences, education, commerce, engineering, medicine, law or any allied field, they may be taught in theory and exemplified in practical sessions for enhancing and demonstrating the knowledge through the senses, they do not generally provide the skills to do, but focus on the know-how, which happens in training programs. These programs are developed on the basis of vocation, skills-gap or specific to some needs. Most professional courses have incorporated these trainings as a part of the syllabus but after the teaching curriculum, so that the skillset to apply the theory to practice is developed. Again, teaching is about fostering the mind of the learner, by encouraging independent think and knowledge of physical and cultural world, the understanding and sense of values. Training requires some theory and teaching requires some skills, but both deal with different aspects.

The training is there for people who want to get know-how of not just how things work, but also answers the important question “How can I do apply my knowledge in practice and do something like implement a new system, improve a specific ability or further their ability in something.It is, however, important to hold on to the different roles the two play because, at times, the distinction between teaching and training is not made succinctly. Although, the words teaching and training are used interchangeably in certain aspects, it is important to address which area is teaching and which can be specified as training. Fundamentally, teaching would lead to whatever can be answers for the questions – Is it a foundation course? Is it a part or the school or college curriculum? Are the prerequisites for learning simple (e.g. knowledge of a language, mathematics and such)? Training, on the other hand, would answer – Does this result in application of knowledge? Is it a specific skill for some kind of work? Does it have any importance in business or commercial settings?

Lawyers, for example, need to first understand the principles of law, but who would want a lawyer who does not practice or cannot argue the case before a judge or prepare papers accordingly. Similarly, if a lawyer is very good in persuasion and argument, but does not know the law, then also he would not fit the above situation.What experience training provides which is different from teaching? It is a further jump from teaching and into getting hands-on, which makes training very different from teaching. Suppose, a surgeon who has detailed knowledge of anatomy but has not completed his training, will you want surgery be done by that surgeon or someone who has hands-on experience.

From the perspective of an engineer, can it be said that engineering can be done without knowledge of science? Can a chemist be trained if s/he has no knowledge of chemistry? Can an elementary school teacher teach French if s/he does not know the language? Similarly, we can ask the same question in regard to the knowledge base for the course/subject and the practical training experience for being able to handle the job. For example, a farmer is skilled to grow, cultivate and harvest crops because of observing the same being done by others. It is the practice that has induced the understanding of things as they happen, without having any knowledge of soil science or botany. However, it becomes essential to have knowledge (both taught and hands-on) to understand the ongoing phenomenon and risks associated with any process. In the case of the above farmer, if the rainfall is less in a particular season and s/he does not know that more water is required for cultivation, s/he will suffer from crop loss and not know the reason or be able to rectify the situation. From the perspective of the farmer, s/he did not know what happened wrong, but if there was theoretical knowledge, this situation could have been avoided.

Another example of a commerce graduate who has just completed the undergraduate degree. During an interview, s/he is asked if s/he knows anything about accounting softwares, and replying in the affirmative, s/he talks about the way the accounting software deals with entries and where all the entries are placed, convincing the board that s/he can handle the accounting position. However, in the job, it was found that s/he does not have the hands-on approach (like doing entries properly or knowing the shortcuts for the software) and hence had to be sent to a training institute for vestibule training(training in simulated environment to match the environment in a corporate house and/or industry) at the employee’s cost. As s/he showed the requisite knowledge on paper but could not prove the same, a discrepancy arose. In these cases, there are various resources for the employer and it is better to be both true and trained as a job applicant.

In most cases, it is seen that training leads to skill development, and at times, the training happens by picking up cues from other people who have had the experience of handling such situations. It is also essential that the forms of training, namely vestibule training, simulation exercises, workshop, lectures and conferences are well understood and chosen from, when the training is not during the job itself. These methods of training have theory and practical engrained together and lead to the freedom to express and apply in multitude of directions. In these cases, making mistakes and learning from them happens without loss to the organization and newer or novel applications may come as a result, with the trainer coaching and mentoring the trainees to develop the appropriate skills based on their passion, core competencies, education and habits. While teaching has its own guidelines and methodologies, training allows expression of interest and ability to pick skills from the trainer and other trainees to develop the learning and make it oriented to one’s career or passion. Being in a work environment does not offer the flexibility, although there are also methods to learn as an apprentice, intern, working under supervision, etc. wherein the flexibility to explore is reduced and prevalent working norms need to be followed.

Training provides value addition to the trainee and enhances their skillsets, which boosts the employability of the trainee. It is a great way to learn and experience in a simulated environment, how things work there and skillsets that generate the trainees’ interest, one the basic knowledge is gained. These value additions are a part of the Mewar University curriculum and the students doing their courses here gain the ability and experience, which makes them practical oriented and nurtures the all-round professional development, with soft-skills, sports and other vocations also being in the Mewar University culture.

Author :

  • Dr. Rahul Lodha–rahullodha@mewaruniversity.co.in

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