Is It Training or Is It Education ?

So as soon I declare that I won’t have an academic discussion on the science of education, my very next blog post appears to be so. However this basic discussion will help instructors stay focused and ensure lesson plans are addressing their stated objectives.  (You’ll notice objectives come first.)

There is an important distinction between training and education;

  • We train for what we know will happen
  • We educate for the unknown circumstances

Training session: “Hey man, when the light comes on and it glows is red, press the button labeled STOP. When the light comes on and its green, press the button that says GO.”  Simple effective training – sometimes this type of training is called  “buttonology”.

What happens when the light flashes amber?  Well, I don’t know? What is the light connected to?  What makes it go on? Is it important? Is there a manual? Is this a life safety issue?

Imagine yourself on-board  US Airways Flight 1549 on January 15, 2009 when it hit a flock of birds shortly after takeoff and experienced dual engine failure. Your pilot’s has no alternative but to land the Airbus A320 in the Hudson river. At the controls, do you want a highly trained super-pilot or would you want a pilot with a deep understanding of aerodynamics and aircraft systems?

Of course would you want Captain “Sully” Sullenberger at the controls – he was trained AND educated to handle this unique circumstance which no one planned for.  It was the combination of education, training and of course skill and experience which allowed he and his crew to perform the Miracle on the Hudson where all 155 passenger and crew survived. YouTube video (radio traffic and animation) of the event.  Oh BTW, Sully was also a glider pilot – wonder if that training and education came in handy…

Training without the context of education is shallow. With that said, there may be situations where education takes a back-seat to pure training and buttonology. The Military may use this learning model more frequently; however I can imagine with the increasing technical complexity of weapons systems, education on how and why a system works becomes necessary to facilitate the most basic troubleshooting.

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