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Learning@aramex: Training vs. Learning

The Aramex Corporate University addresses the big leap between transferring knowledge to employees and enabling them to acquire it. Dr. Salman Al-Shobaki, Chief Learning Officer at Aramex’s Corporate University, reflects on this topic. 


People, as any good CEO will declare, are always a company’s principal asset. Giving life to the statement in the global knowledge economy, though, has never been more challenging: multinationals now compete across borders for the best talent, employees have an increasingly transient attitude to work and, in technology, long-acquired knowledge rapidly becomes obsolete.                           

As a result, training and development have been seen as vital weapons in HR managers’ armory, ensuring employees are both sufficiently skilled and continuously stimulated and motivated. However, as research has indicated that people retain just 10 per cent of any knowledge transferred during a training program, the emphasis has evolved from training tolearning. 

The difference is subtle but significant; training implies a one-way transfer of  information in a  brief timeframe, while learning is the continuous and participatory acquisition of knowledge.The statistics bear this out. Development that occurs on the job and follow a 70-20-10 rule: 70 per cent is derived from experiences both on- and off-the-job assignments, 20 per cent from other people – coaches, mentors, one’s boss – and 10 per cent from courses. A more clear distinction between the two areas can be found in the table below:

Training Learning
Skills development

Behaviour change


Courses, seminars, classes


Wikis, blogs, knowledge management

Externally applied

(done to you)

 Internally accepted                 (You do it to yourself)


Short term skill uplift

Long term change

Equips for known challenges


Equips for ambiguous future

Meets current organizational requirements


Defines organizational future


Focuses on the group


Is focused by individuals


Primarily structured


Primarily organic























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