Learning ≠ Education

Learning ≠ Education

by The Content Team
on June 24, 2021

In today’s blog, I will discuss a crucial yet misunderstood topic relating to the acquisition of knowledge – Learning vs Education. I have come across many people who interchangeably use “learning” and “education” on numerous occasions. I have often read articles where people talk about “learning” when what they are clearly referring to is “education”. These two are NOT the same, and I believe recognizing and going through the difference is an important step towards becoming an effective lifelong learner. 

What is Learning?

What is Learning?

Learning refers to a life-long process of acquiring new knowledge, skills, values, or behaviour. This can be done via various means such as studying or teaching or training or experience. In simple terms, learning is a life-long continuous process where we see things, we observe them and then learn something new through our experiences in our daily life. The person who is learning is actively changing through their “experiences” and adjusting to the surrounding environment. Learning causes change, and change causes learning.

What is Education?

What is Education?

On the other hand, education is just one option within the learning process. Education refers to the acquisition of knowledge through a process of receiving or giving systematic instruction by people other than ourselves. 

Education is typically associated with formal education, where there is a structured curriculum and educators teach students. These students might not be interested in what they are being taught, but they study and memorize to pass the exams. In this scenario, they have received an education, they have not learned properly. 

Key differences between Learning and Education

Education is an essential part of humans as we need defined structures and systems for us to learn, but problems arise when we do not distinguish between education and learning. There is a famous quote by Mark Twain, a famous American writer, who said “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”

Here, I have listed down the key differences which would help us differentiate between learning and education. 

  • Motivation level: Learning is driven by intrinsic motivation, however education is mainly driven by extrinsic motivation. In learning, a person is motivated to perform an activity for its own sake; however in education, a person is motivated to perform an activity to earn a reward or avoid punishment. 
  • External guidance: Learning can take place with or without any guidance. However, the presence of a teacher or instructor or trainer is an important part in the case of education.
  • Nature of process: Learning is a natural unsystematic process, i.e., a person learns things daily by observing and connecting the experiences. However, education is a systematic process provided through a planned and structured curriculum delivered by a teacher or instructor or trainer. 
  • Age factor: Learning has no age bar and it is a lifelong process. A person even above the age of 70 years can learn how to drive a cycle or how to operate a smartphone. However, education (typically formal education) is received up to a certain age by enrolling themselves at education institutes. 

 Learning vs Education – Key Differences

Bottom line is that while education remains crucial in the acquisition of knowledge, the key differences between education and learning are important to understand. Learning is a life-long process that should be part of our daily life. 

Anand Damani

CEO, Examination Online


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