From Training to Knowledge Discovery

If you search ‘define training’,  your DuckDuckGo or Google results will read all dog, leash, collar, bark collar and then nearly shock fence. Sound familiar? Maybe you’ve found yourself on both sides of ridiculous classroom scenarios as I have academically and professionally. If you’re a leader and the idea that your staff feel like dogs at times surprises you in the least, or if you’ve judged an investment–of time or money–in training, first take another look at this activity and how we engage with it.

/* This post initiates a quest from training to knowledge management. It introduces concepts and relieves a case of itch on the brain. */


When seeking fresh perspective I turn to etymology, conveniently delivered these days by typing “define [term]” into most internet browsers. I actually own a dictionary that serves this need occasionally with a side helping of nostalgia. Next, I go directly to the verb tense of the word, because it’s true what’s said about actions and words. In the absence of a verb, I create one. Nouns are passive and teach little about the act of doing or using [term].

Example: verb train.

  • 2.
    point or aim something, typically a gun or camera, at.
    “the detective trained his gun on the side door”
    synonyms: aim, point, direct, level, focus;

    zero in
    “she trained the gun on his chest”


That first one, wow. It’s surprising the worst reaction I’ve seen from a trainee has been eyes rolling back in her head (as her eyelids illustrated the slumber her brain had already undergone). Can training feel punitive? Yes. If it’s ill conceived friendly fire the effect is much like a pickup line delivered with no regard for the smokin’ hot but obviously disengaged man you aim to impress. It’s not about you, remember? All cognition is blocked, and you find your team dazed watching your competitors’ tail lights.


Spend a little more time showing Princess Peach the joystick.
Spend a little more time showing Princess Peach the joystick to keep her off the wall.


 If a term has lost its true north in practice, its dated and archaic uses can help locate it.
  • 3.
    go by train.
    “Charles trained to Chicago with Emily”
  • 4.
    entice (someone) by offering pleasure or a reward.
Don’t feel it yet? Play along for a minute.

A tunnel is passed through where the entrance and exit are equally expansive. This tunnel is narrow enough to cut through an obstacle without undermining the stability of its environment and wide enough to safely accommodate vehicles and travelers.

Visualize that tunnel as training. It succeeds within specific scenarios that are relatable to its participants; the students are empathetic to the challenge and circumstances and navigate the tunnel with ease. Still more learning occurs when students are part and parcel to the upkeep of the tunnel.



In other words, an apt learning program ushers in its participants and guides and accelerates their momentum on the other side. By kicking the tires (or tracks) enough to generate better questions, we kickstart our innate facility to address them when we find ourselves up against our next treacherous mountain pass. Training in business or any other setting can move people by train again.

“Focus,” you say, “is not bad.”

Correct. There’s an issue of compliance in gateway training, such as that which is required in order to use software or control machinery. We must pinpoint training objectives that move everyone to a singular minimum comprehension to avoid all kinds of business and bodily harms. These must be met quickly and without confusion, but do we want to stop there?

Facts or instructions followed exactly will take most of us only so far before we find ourselves untangling an unforeseen plot twist. The tunnel collapses or it was never completed in the first place. Without introducing the context of WHY or HOW in an expanding way, the likelihood increases that your staff will approach you with ill informed questions rather than astute recommendations when push comes to shove (and it will). It’s the old adage applied to your dollars, hours and sense sanity.

“Teach a woman to fish and she will orchestrate a revenue generating and environmentally    sound farm producing Trout (yes Trout) of acclaimed taste.”

Attributed to a student of life



/*  Discovery that churns as long as this post did in draft mode does not happen in one post.

Go ahead and question the ideology with me, and come back for the deconstruction phase. */

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