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Education versus Training

by Ron Kurtus (updated 14 March 2023)

If you are studying or involved in corporate training, you probably are not looking at the learning process the same way as a person involved in education views it. Training and education are very similar, yet different areas.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.


Formal education is usually thought of studies done in schools. The students range from the very youngest through college to those in adult education.

There is also informal education or self-study, where adults read books, listen to tapes and learn through other media. Observing life itself is a form of education.

The objective of classes or of self-education is usually to gain knowledge about facts, events, principles, concepts, and such. In some classes the student is required to demonstrate the memorization of facts and the association between concepts. In other classes, they must apply rules to solve problems.

Testing concerns memorization and understanding, plus perhaps analytic and problem solving skills.


On the other hand, formal training is usually concerned with gaining a skill. Training is done in trade schools, seminars, and business training classes. Learners of training are usually adults, although there are some classes to teach youngsters certain skills.

Informal training is usually done through reading, viewing or listening to how-to material. Sometimes that material is then used as a guide, while the person applies the skills learned. For example, you may refer to a how-to book when trying to fix your plumbing at home.

Verification of skills is best achieved by actually doing something in the real world. Sometimes tests given in trade schools check for knowledge, as opposed to skill. Often in corporate training sessions and in seminars, there is no verification that the learner had achieved the desired skills.


Education concerns remembering facts and understanding concepts. It is usually taught in school, although self-study is possible. Training concerns gaining skills and taught either in trade schools or business training sessions.

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