Education or training? What’s the difference and why does it matter?

February 16, 2015 | By: James Whelan

education vs training

Training prepares people to do simple tasks reliably. It’s generally very practical and focuses on the competent completion of tasks. Education develops skills and knowledge. It involves forming and communicating ideas, developing and challenging understandings and learning to conceptualise and solve problems.

Community organising and campaigning are not basic skills or competencies that can be learnt through training. Certainly some of the requisite skills can be learnt through training, but to strategise on the run and to learn the ‘savvy’ to analyse political circumstances requires a deeper education.

  • To what extent do you intend to primarily train people to undertake core organising tasks?
  • To what extent do you need an education program to equip your teams to think and approach campaigns as organisers?

During the last year, we’ve discussed education and training with many Australian social movement groups. Through these discussions, we’ve created a one-page framework that helps differentiate between education and training, and between programs tailored to the learning needs of experienced campaigns and those that are intended to meet the needs to volunteers, recruits and other community members. The framework focuses on the different pedagogy curriculum and format our programs might be built around.

Download our framework here > Education and training for community organisers

About the Author

James Whelan

James Whelan

James is co-founder of the Change Agency and director of our Community Organising Fellowship.

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