Attend training? Why not just read the book?

Training courses can be expensive. They can cost a lot more to attend than buying a book on the same subject. Earlier today, was asked, “What is the difference?”

And it’s a good question to ask. A book costs a lot less than a training course – and is far more convenient to read – so if you could get the same thing from a book, it would be a much more convenient way to learn. So why do we teach our children in schools and our corporations through training courses when we could just give them books to read? Anyway, I gave an answer like this:

When I was younger, I read books about martial arts. I looked at the pictures and ran through in my mind the exercises and explanations. And it looked really cool! It got me excited and interested so I kept reading.

One day, my parents allowed me to start martial arts training. It was the same – and yet totally different. While I already knew in theory much of what we were learning, training in a class with other people like me meant that I learnt much more than ever before. I realized that I didn’t really know as much as I thought that I did. And I had the experience of really learning. If I had kept reading books, I could become very knowledgeable, but I could never have become a Master.

If you want to learn about a topic, reading books is great. If you want to develop some serious skill, you will want to find the right context for your to explore, experience and expand yourself in ways that you might have never realized possible.

If you want to develop real skill, you’ll want to find the best training opportunities around.

Only you know if it’s the right time. But that you’re asking about this suggests that some part of you believes that you would benefit from some training. If so, we look forward to having you join us.

So are training courses worth the money?

3 comments on “Attend training? Why not just read the book?

  1. You make a great point Daniel! As GM of an IT Training company, I am passionate about skills transfer, and that is what is difficult to gain simply by reading a book.

    You can read about a skill, but as in your martial arts example, a book won’t force you to keep your back straight and feet in a particular stance to assure correct balance.

    A good trainer will be as much a mentor as instructor, so do take the time to get references when identifying any potential training course(s) you might require.

    Write on!

    Curtis Chappell

  2. Thanks Curtis! Reading a book is fantastic – and indeed, is one of the best paths to excellence – but you need a way to know if you’re actually getting better!
    We look at what we write – and even what we type – so that we can check whether it matches what it should look like; for more complex skills, it’s even more important as you said.

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