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Chris Niccolls

Training vs. Education

By November 17, 2012

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Training vs. Education

Education and training are two very different things. Yet in many outsourcing engagements, the two are confused. Oh, there is definitely overlap, but you need to understand the differences if you want to have a successful outsourcing project. Especially if you are outsourcing knowledge work.

Training is a short term event, and most outsourcers have become quite competent at training. Here, you are taking staff and imparting to them the specific set of steps that they need to follow. You should have a followup process (quality control, continuous improvement, etc.) to verify that the staff follows the process. For example, if you outsource a document production group, you might train for a new process like this: When you complete edits to the document, do a full spell check, and then go to the document profile and check-off the box that says, "I spell checked this document."

Education is a longer-term event, that can take years to accomplish. Education does not impart specific instruction, rather it teaches general skills that require significant time to master and apply. Education is more likely to involve making decisions than following well documented steps. For example, workers may be given courses on financial analysis so that they can perform a process such as: "Use the databases that we provided you with to analyze the following 10 corporations and identify the best target for acquisition, with a detailed write up on the factors that make it the best purchase."

You can train, master and test the results in as little time as a week or two. However, education can take months or years for the "student" to understand the materials and practice the work until they achieve mastery. If your program needs education, and you planned for training, your program will be over budget and way off on its schedule. Or do you already have a program like that?

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