For the past several months, we have been doing our homework. In preparation for this month's issue , we've been researching, writing, designing, creating, and then
tearing it down and starting all over again. Along the way, we've asked you—our readers—question after question regarding what you wanted from these pages, month in and month out.
Most of you responded with phenomenal ideas, many of which you will see brought to life in this and future issues of Training. But there was one response that really surprised and, I'll be honest, bothered me. In fact, the many versions of this response—which came in the form of a question—continue to echo in the darkest recesses of my mind.
Version one: "Are you going to change your name?" This was asked in a curious, yet expectant sort of way.
Version two: "Really, don't you think you should change your name?" Emphasis, for these readers, was on should.
Version three: "Naturally, you're going to change your name, right?" Imagine the unspoken "duh."
After a while, it felt as if we were about to be wed, and our collective mother-in-law-to-be was not-so-politely urging us to do away with our maiden name. But as you can see, the answer was, and is, no.
Some of you will no doubt view our decision as a mistake. Others will most likely be pleased that we didn't dismiss our 35-year, brand-building heritage because of what seems to be a question of semantics—albeit an important one.
Opinions varied about which flavor of the month buzzword should replace the Training on our front cover, but a near unanimous theme included various combinations of learning, knowledge, education and the like. To train, to learn, to know, or to educate—that was the million-dollar question. For us—or perhaps more importantly for our audience—to train is the answer. And it seems that even Mr. Webster would agree.
After consulting the master definer, it's apparent that regardless of use, these words—train, teach, instruct, educate, know, tutor, school, discipline—share common meanings. In fact, almost all of the definitions are intertwined. As verbs, they all have one core meaning in common: to impart knowledge or skill.
"Teach" is perhaps the most widely accepted, since it can refer to any act of communicating. "Instruct" usually suggests methodical direction in a specific subject or area. "Tutor" usually refers to private instruction of one student or a small group. "Educate" is comprehensive and implies a wide area of learning, achieved either by experience or, more often, by formal instruction in many subjects. "Train" generally implies concentration on particular skills intended to fit a person—or, as many of you pointed out, an animal—for a desired role.
It has been said that education encompasses the "why," "who" and "where" issues; training provides the "how" part of the equation. But the two cannot operate independently of one another if effective learning is the goal. Most people really want and need to understand the whys, whos and wheres of a process in order to master the hows. The bottom line is this: Training is what trainers do, but effective training begins with education. Depending upon the learner, education progresses to learning and ends with implementation.
Definitions aside, the other reason we kept our coveted name is quite simple: We'd rather be defined by what we do than what we're called, or even how we look. That said, we hope you enjoy our new look, from the cover to all of the pages that follow.