What’s the Difference Between Training, Education, Development and Learning?

by Jun 18, 2013Learning

image of Kevin Wheeler, Founder of Future of Talent Institute

Kevin Wheeler

We in the corporate learning space often discuss the concepts of learning, education, training and development. These terms are used so frequently, we might assume we truly understand the differences between them.

In this short post, I will review the differences between training, education, development and learning, by providing you with various referential definitions of each term.



  • Teach a specified skill esp.by practice (Oxford Reference Dictionary, p. 1528)
  • Systemic instruction and drill. (Webster)
  • If the end result is a specific behaviour, such as welding two metals, and the justification for learning is to improve effectiveness of the organisation in which the welder works . . . the enterprise is training. (Curriculum for the Workplace, p. 13)
  • TRAINING: Specific transfer of same skills to similar settings for the purpose of addressing gaps in skills or knowledge learning. (Dr. Simon Priest)



  • The knowledge and skills resulting from instruction and training  (Webster)
  • . . .systematic instruction.  (Oxford Reference Dictionary, p.448) 
  • Education focuses on learning new skills, knowledge, and attitudes that will equip an individual to assume a new job or to do a different task at some predetermined future time.  (Nadler, p.6)
  • When the behavior at the end of a learning experience is unknown, because it is unknowable, and the justification for the learning is to enhance a person’s being, not necessarily the improvement of a performance that translates easily to the improvement of the organisation’s effectiveness (though that might happen), the enterprise is called education. (Curriculum for the Workplace, p. 13)



  • Development activities are not job related but are oriented to both personal and organizational growth. The focus of such activities is on broadening the learner’s conceptual and perceptual base in areas not previously explored or experienced by the individual. (Nadler, P.7)
  • DEVELOPMENT: General transfer of similar skills to very different settings for the purposes of improving the way people feel, think, behave, or resist learning. (Dr. Simon Priest)



  • The act of acquiring knowledge or skill  (Webster)
  • Knowledge acquired by study  (Oxford Reference Dictionary, p. 814)
  • Permanent changes in a person that is related to past experiences and the opportunity to acquire skills and knowledge.


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