What is the Difference Between Teaching and Learning?

Education is always flooded with new concepts about learning and teaching. Teachers and administrators are usually bombarded with suggestions for reform. They are asked to use new curricula, new pedagogy strategies, and new assessments. Both teaching and learning are vital processes in survival as they comprise the very foundations of growth. Both of these methods are necessary for achieving development by seeking to realise significant changes in behaviours. Equally, they have various techniques and approaches that guide the education system. They are also essentially interconnected in a way that you have to learn something before you can actually teach it and that the act of teaching can make you learn something. As a result, teaching and learning are highly crucial and related progressions.

What is Teaching?

Teaching is a process of imparting information or instructing someone to do something. It is an art and science of helping others to enhance their skills, knowledge and command in any particular field. Teaching word comes from the old English word tǣcan” which means “to show” or “point out”. When you hear the word “teach”, you oftentimes think of classrooms, lessons, and of course, teachers who point out various information. Teaching not only involved the education part but also include different moral values such as manners, skills, behaviours, traditions, and stories. Teaching is something that we all do in our daily life. Parents teach their children how to eat fitly; grandparents may teach their grandkids old stories – in short, we all teach others something or the other.

 There Are Two Forms Of Teaching
  • Formal

Formal teaching is classroom-based teaching which is provided by trained teachers. It is governed by educational organisations that have to follow certain curricula, class hours, and related rules and regulations.

  • Informal

Whereas Informal education happens outside the classroom, in after-school programs, community-based organizations, museums, libraries, or at home. For examples home-based or outside-school tutorials.

What are the main differences between formal and informal teaching?

Informal teaching, lecturers have to match set standards that have been put in place by the government. The government does this by advancing a curriculum that is suitable for students. However, informal teaching has more flexibility as there is usually no schedule to be followed while teaching.

There will be a similar number of regular students and teachers in one class. Attendance is generally stable. However, in the case of home-based teaching, attendance is usually variable because the programs to be offered do not usually expect learners to participate in classes on a daily basis.

Teachers are highly trained and experienced. The training given to teachers is usually standardized. Eligibility and experience of home-based teachers are different

What is Learning?

We all learn something new every day, but how is 'learning' defined in educational psychology? The activity or process of acquiring knowledge or skill by studying, practising, being taught, or experiencing something. When you were a teenager, did you learn how to ride a bike? Did you learn how to do long division, or learn the name of capital cities of different countries?  We use the term 'learning' all the time in daily life. But within the field of educational science, the term learning is actually a specific term. Different people use different words to define learning within educational psychology, but in general, we're talking about a step-by-step process in which individual experiences permanent, lasting changes in knowledge, behaviours, or ways of processing the world.

Several people compare learning with education we receive at educational institutes such as schools and universities. Some people think that learning is listening and accepting what they are taught. But we learn something every day in our lives and real learning involves understanding and applying or using what you understood in real life circumstances.

  • More or less permanent change

Learning is defined as a relatively lasting change in behaviour that results from the experience. In operant conditioning, learning can be either positive or negative, and both should increase the chances a behaviour will occur again. Positive learning is used to reward a person.

  • Positive or negative

Ideally, an individual should change positively or negatively after being taught. However, it's a well - known fact that negative behaviours are commonly learned.

  • Brought about by experience

Any relatively stable change in behaviour brought about by experience or practice. It should also be noted that learning is not due to passive causes such as disease, maturation, and injury.

How Teaching is different from Learning

Authority in Teaching and Learning-

  • Unlike learners, teachers have higher authorities.

Expertise in Teaching and Learning-

  • Teachers are experts in their core field as compared to learners.

Range (with respect to existence) of Teaching and Learning-

  • Largely, it is possible to learn till our last breath. For teaching, people can still learn from somebody's teachings which have already passed.
The goal of Teaching and Learning

The primary objective of teaching is to guide someone, impart knowledge and to monitor change in behaviour while learning aims to understand and apply information. A teacher seeks to share what he knows whereas a learner intends to receive new knowledge.

  • Dependence on Teaching and Learning

To make the teaching process real, teachers need to get novel knowledge for the students. On the other hand, learners do not always need teachers to learn something, because the experience of privacy can only give realization; Therefore, learn, then, to learn.

Teaching vs Learning: Comparison Chart



Less teachers as compared to learners

More learners as compared to teachers

More liberty

Less liberty

Generally concerned with imparting knowledge

Basically assumes a recipient role

Higher authority

Lower authority

Arouses learners’ curiosity and motivation

Improved by being cognitively piqued

Gives feedback

Understands and applies feedback

Can be mandated

Cannot be essentially mandated

Credited with better skills

Viewed with lesser know-how

More dependent on the presence of learners

Less dependent on the presence of teachers

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Date: 03 Feb 2019

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