Formal training and informal training

Do you need a professor with a syllabus or a coach with a keen eye? Which will provide a higher return on investment? Will you actually enjoy the training and what will you accomplish? Modern students have many great choices to make, and each choice can be very expensive.

What is formal training 


Formal training definition is that it is structured and organized educational programs designed to impart specific knowledge, skills, and competencies to individuals. It is typically provided within formal institutions such as schools, colleges, universities, or specialized training centers. The primary objective of formal training is to equip learners with a comprehensive understanding of a particular subject or field.

These training programs follow predefined curricula and are led by qualified instructors or trainers. They often include lectures, practical exercises, assessments, and examinations to evaluate the learners’ progress and understanding. Formal training ensures a standardized approach to learning, providing a solid foundation for individuals to excel in their chosen profession or area of expertise.

Through formalized training, individuals can acquire theoretical knowledge, practical experience, and develop critical thinking abilities. This structured approach also facilitates the recognition of qualifications and certifications, boosting career prospects and employability. Moreover, formal training instills discipline, time management, and teamwork skills, preparing individuals to understand the definition of formal training.

Examples of formal training in the workplace

What are formal training examples? Most people are confused about this question. Here are some important examples.

  1. Workshops: Organizations conduct workshops to impart specific skills or knowledge to employees.
  2. Seminars: Formal seminars cover various topics and invite experts to share insights with the workforce, best formal training examples 
  3. formal education which involves instruction by specially trained teachers 
  4. Leadership Development: Formal training programs groom employees for leadership roles.
  5. Compliance Training: Ensuring employees understand and follow legal regulations through formal training.
  6. Sales Training: Equipping sales teams with strategies and techniques to improve performance.
  7. Customer Service Training: Enhancing customer interaction skills and service excellence.
  8. Technical Training: Teaching employees to handle specialized equipment or technology.
  9. Diversity and Inclusion Training: Encouraging a diverse and respectful workplace through formal instruction.
  10. Safety Training: Ensuring employees understand safety protocols and prevent workplace accidents.
  11. Communication Skills Training: Improving verbal and written communication for effective business interactions.
  12. Time Management Training: Enhancing productivity by teaching effective time management techniques.
  13. Conflict Resolution Training: Equipping employees with skills to handle conflicts constructively.
  14. Project Management Training: Training employees to plan and execute projects efficiently.
  15. Team Building Workshops: Fostering teamwork and collaboration among employees.
  16. formal credit training : formal credit training program equips individuals with financial literacy, risk assessment, and lending principles. It covers credit analysis, loan evaluation, interest rates, credit scoring models, and underwriting techniques. 
  17. formal sales training : Formal sales training equips professionals with essential techniques, communication skills, and product knowledge. It empowers reps to handle objections confidently, build rapport, and close deals effectively. Role-playing, presentations, and feedback optimize learning. Elevating negotiation and persuasion abilities drives revenue growth.
  18. Problem-Solving Workshops: Teaching structured problem-solving approaches to tackle challenges.
  19. Change Management Training: Preparing employees to adapt to organizational changes.
  20. Financial Literacy Training: Educating employees on financial concepts and budgeting.

What is formal and informal training?

Formal training refers to structured and organized learning programs that follow a predetermined curriculum and often lead to certifications or degrees. It usually takes place in classrooms, workshops, or online courses, with clearly defined learning objectives and assessments.

In contrast, informal training is more spontaneous and unstructured, occurring through day-to-day experiences, on-the-job learning, and interactions with colleagues. It doesn’t have a set curriculum and often involves experiential learning, mentoring, or self-directed exploration.

Both formal and informal training play essential roles in skill development and knowledge acquisition, complementing each other to create well-rounded learning experiences for individuals in various contexts. 

1:1 with Anna vs Thinkific courses

Before we dive into the entertaining part of this article, I want to address a very practical question. The 1:1 with Anna has no syllabus and no progress path except for the training schedule. The thinkific courses have a very detailed schedule, yet all the sessions are recorded. The cost of 5 sessions 1:1 with Anna is roughly equivalent to the cost of 25 hours (probably more) of video training. (No doubt this is much more than the 2 hours of video we put in our cheap courses.)

Definitely, in x5 hours of training, I can get into more advanced materials and dive deeper than in any other medium. This is especially easy, since every couple of minutes I can show a slide that exemplifies my thoughts.

Anna has the ability to diagnose every issue by observing the detailed performance. Most errors and misunderstandings can be corrected on the spot, others in the following session. The materials and methods can be adapted to the particular needs of the individual.

The products complement each other, but if you do not have time or money for both, which is better? This is a tough choice!

The degree of your syllabus

If a junior professor has a syllabus, he will not adapt to your needs. You might as well watch a video course. Unfortunately, most basic university courses come with a syllabus and an exam. The professor needs to follow the guidelines and has very little attention to spare between his 120 students (the actual number can vary). The materials seldom change and the professor is basically repeating the same text year after year. This is the only way to ensure that all the students receive an adequate level of education for their degrees.

Postgraduate studies are different. The syllabus is still presented to the 10 students that decide to take the obscure courses. There is no exam, but instead, students submit a research assignment or a practical project. The professor adapts the content to the interests of the students and the syllabus is a recommendation rather than an obligation.

The  PhD work does not come with a syllabus. Nobody knows if certain research will be successful and how much time it takes to learn a delicate subject. The studies usually take between four and six years, but the scope can vary widely. The thesis advisor has a couple of PhD students at any given time and teaches them everything he knows. This is the deepest but also the most time-consuming form of education.

Syllabus as a contract

Coaching or therapy rarely (almost never) has a syllabus. The needs can change every meeting, and the meetings are adapted to personal needs. Trying to get a syllabus from a therapist is the best way to make him feel uncomfortable. A good therapist will instead offer you a contract, explaining the path you will take, the limits you should not test, and what is expected from each party.

Can the therapist or the coach provide a detailed explanation? Probably. Will your progress follow the same path as the progress of other patients? Quite likely. Yet there will be no syllabus, as the content of each session is derived from the communication, analysis of progress, and diagnostics of the difficulties.

A coach does not expect you to understand the theoretical basis for the progress and the latest studies for the particular predicament. He will provide the most effective strategies and ensure you can use them.

The pedigree of the graduates

The more prestigious and expensive institutions don’t always provide a better education. Instead, they offer a higher pedigree to their graduates. Since it is more challenging to gain admission to these esteemed institutions, those who are accepted typically possess high intelligence and socioeconomic status. These individuals tend to excel due to their inherent qualities and often support alumni from the same institutions due to shared values.

Self-education can be even more enriching. By reading the right books and engaging in hands-on projects, we can become more creative, insightful, and effective than graduates with formal pedigrees. We are likely to enjoy our work more, as we avoid the monotony of uninspiring professors who may detract from the joy of learning. This path may also make us better entrepreneurs. However, it’s important to note that we might not receive the same level of professional respect, as our education may have significant gaps.

A word about my education

I have a very wide and heterogeneous education. My first degree and my first job was as an RF engineer. Later I acquired a PhD in machine learning (stochastic processes). With that, I worked as a software engineer. I acquired MBa-equivalent not in university but in a bootcamp for entrepreneurs. Although I used to be a college professor for a short while, and Anna taught me several things, in psychology and education I am an autodidact. If I know some medicine or accounting, this is hands-on skills acquired at work.

So I would say that while I was trained as an engineer, I do not actually feel like one. I am definitely a technologist but in a wider sense. I feel that people occasionally need debugging and reprogramming very similar to computers, and that everything we know is interconnected.

Hands-on training

To tell you the truth, nothing of the initial education truly matters. It only prepares us to be effective in real projects. The most important part of the training is hands-on training, with no professors or coaches. In the best-case scenario we will have a mentor to help us.

By the way, if you need my help please write. Do not write long stories. Up to 5 numbered bullets with 3 sentences, 5-7 words each will get my attention faster and better.

Hands-on experience tends to be the most expensive element of training, as we give up our most valuable time. Do not expect to learn a lot when you are tired, stressed and undersleeping. Military training builds your character, not optimizes your learning experiences. To learn effectively, use your prized prime time, when you are focused and energetic.

Return on investment

Since the time we invest in learning is our most valuable time, it is easy to justify investment in learning more effectively. We do 80% of our work or study 20% of our time. Tripling our efficiency during this 20 % will triple our productivity. It is smart to invest up to a year of time and an equivalent amount of money to acquire this productivity, and we suggest doing more with lower investment. Then it makes sense to divert the acquired skill set not to reading fiction and learning foreign languages, but to get a better professional qualification.

Dealing with stress and depression

Stress and lack of confidence are the biggest obstacles in that path. Depression can suck up a lot of focus and motivation.It is a good idea to acquire the skills needed to deal with inner demons (like we teach in keytovison)  as a part of effective learning. You might not need them, but I think most of us cannot function without certain self-help techniques. And again, this is something you are not likely to acquire in school or college. Definitely, self-help is cheaper than therapy, and in some cases more effective.

The tree of learning is very similar to the tree of life. As we learn and evolve, we understand what it means to be human.

Even autodidacts benefit from formal training


Formal training is beneficial for several reasons. Firstly, it provides structured learning, imparting knowledge and skills efficiently. Secondly, it offers expert guidance, ensuring a solid foundation and preventing misinformation. Thirdly, it encourages discipline and commitment, fostering consistent progress. Fourthly, formal training often leads to recognized certifications, enhancing employability. Finally, it promotes networking opportunities, connecting individuals with peers and mentors in their field.

Let me give you an example. Today many of us work as programmers, even though our degree is officially in physics or engineering. Does that mean we learnt operating systems, compilers, algorithms and design patterns? Probably we acquired the knowledge at work or through books and video courses rather than university programs. And yet we understand the basic math due to our formal training. We have experience with software, especially simulation and design software, but also often with assembly code or databases due to our formal training. We kind of hold the values and culture indoctrinated by years of study in a university, at least sufficiently to ask the right people the right questions. We would be less successful professionally without our formal training, even if we do something slightly different.

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