Debunking Training Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction

Save butterflies, Switch to portrait mode.

Training is Hogwash!!

Posted on 2nd January 2018 by Sheila Vasan Singla

Now that I have your attention – let’s talk about the training con game. Organizations have always spent money on training. And loads of it – too. The best way to waste money in an organization is to spend it on a training. I know this sounds sacrilegious coming from someone who started her company as a training company. But that is the truth – billions of dollars are being spent on training employees and no one knows what is being learnt. When employees get asked what has been their learning – they are quick to come up with some concepts that they may have learnt about in the training session. But ask them how their work has bettered because of the training program, and they fumble to provide answers. When people look at training, they get excited by the architecture, the methodologies and the bells and whistles that go with the show. The snazzier the training program is, the more it appeals to the larger population. Through all this frenzy, do we ask ourselves those crucial questions – What does the participant actually learn? How does the participant internalize the learning? How does the learning get applied on the job?

We as human beings are born survivors because our innate ability to learn, helps us cope up with the dynamics of the complex world. Let’s take a baby for an example. One doesn’t have to train a baby to walk a certain way, or talk in a specific manner or eat for that matter. A baby learns how to walk, at his own speed, pace and time, but when he does, he remembers it for the rest of his life. Mark Twain was smart when he said that he did not let schooling interfere with his education. A kid learns the maximum until they go to school, because the moment the kid enters an institution that trains them how to function, learning just flounders away. This philosophy is not limited to just kids and schools, but in organizations as well.

The basic difference between Training and Learning as concepts is where does the locus of control lie. When you train someone, it is always applying an external behavioral pattern or force on an already existing one. But, when somebody learns something on their own, they are imbibing it into their way of being. Training will never get you a lasting impact as it is being imposed onto you whereas if you set up an entire system where a person learns and automatically learns, you are bound to get measurable results.

What are we as Learning and Development organizations doing ensuring that people learn? Are we creating an environment and opportunities where people learn? One must lay emphasis on asking and ultimately answering these important questions which form the basics of Learning.

The problem with training is that it doesn’t take into account how other people will learn. But how are you as a Learning and Development professional enabling them to learn so that it becomes natural. Learning is innate, training is not.


Sheila Vasan Singla


Sheila is the Founder & Principal Associate of Chrysalis. She is a pioneer in Human Performance Improvement in India who has been passionate about driving business impact through Results Based Learning™.


Reimagining the Learning Function - Assessing the Reality

Future of Learning and Development Function

Easing Into a New Team- A Lesson from the Daughter-In-Law

Team Absorbtion Model Banner