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What is the difference between teaching and training?

At their cores, teaching and training have the same aims. In both, you are transferring information into the minds of another person or group of people with the aim of them gaining an understanding of the topic.


However, there are marked differences between the two which make them two very different roles in actuality.


Read how being a trainer is different from being a teacher.



Teaching imparts theoretical knowledge and training imparts practical knowledge


In a taught lesson, teachers use theories and examples, and invite learners to assess the topics they are studying with a critical and analytical eye. Training sessions involve showing trainees how to complete a practical task and to take the new skill at face value as being the correct way of doing things.


Teaching covers a wide span of content and training is specific


Think back to a school literature lesson. The aim of these lessons all together was to build your literary analysis skills but throughout their duration they involved reading texts you were not going to be assessed on, philosophical discussion and watching film adaptations. In this sense, the scope of the content you covered went beyond the exact skills you needed for your exam.


In training, however, sessions tend to be a lot more specific. Whilst trainers will invite discussion and use a variety of activities to support trainees’ learning, each aspect of a session will be very focused on the exact skills trainees need to have acquired by the end.



Teaching takes place in a classroom environment and training moves into trainees’ own workplaces


Of course, in the modern, digital age there are many ways those who seek self-improvement can access either subject lessons or specific training, but in general terms these take place in different settings.


Taught lessons are associated with being part of a long course which takes place at a school, whereas training sessions can be set up within trainees’ own workplaces.



Teacher focuses on long-term building on knowledge and training aims to immediately share a skill


Teachers aim to guide their students to adopt long-term knowledge that will aid them in their lives in ways that go beyond the exact subject matter. In addition, these lessons themselves are usually part of a longer-term programme of a school-aged course, college programme or university degree, for example.


Training sessions are aimed at immediate skill acquisition. They are not part of long-term courses and are often just single, one-off, self-contained sessions. Their goal is for trainees to leave with the ability to immediately conduct the skill they have learned in full, aiding their everyday professional abilities from the get-go.



Teaching follows syllabuses and training programmes are individualised and designed by the trainer


Of course, a teacher’s role involves a lot of time spent planning lessons, but they are doing so by following a given, often nation-wide, curriculum or syllabus. This is due to the fact that their students are being readied to meet the requirements of a particular qualification and will assessed through national exams and assignments. Trainers can also lead sessions that are widely-taught but training in general involves less reliance on outside influence. Trainers can refer to a skill they are a specialist in to design their own training programmes from scratch, meaning they are able to offer something unique to the market. In addition, a training programme can be entirely customised to a trainees' needs.



Teaching introduces new concepts and training adds skills to existing knowledge


Teaching involves bringing whole new subjects and topics to students and building their knowledge on these from scratch. Training will be focused on a specific skill that trainees will already be aware of and know why it is important, and they will leave feeling that they have mastered actually conducting the task and are able to add it on top of their other occupational duties.



Teaching professionals requires specific qualifications and trainers can have all sorts of backgrounds


To be a teacher in most contexts and in most countries, people are required to have a specific qualification, usually a particular degree. Conversely, training can be found in so many forms and, consequently, trainers do not all start out in the same place.




With clearer understanding of how the two roles differ, choose from boosting your abilities as a teacher or as a trainer with Notting Hill College.


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