Enablement vs Training

I have been asked on numerous occasions which option is better, should a Vendor or End User select the Enablement or Training route when learning a new product.

My opinion is that Enablement and Training, though closely related, are really quite different options and that they each meet different needs.

Training meets the initial learning need, so in learning a product from scratch I suggest that you always begin with training. Courses are set out to cover all the aspects of a product from start to finish and are aimed at giving the trainee a holistic view of the product and how to use it.

Enablement focuses more on taking this training knowledge to a new level. Once you know how the product works you will have “How to Questions” these now fall into the enablement category and are not covered over a support desk call or in a classroom training session.

Most of these “How to Questions” are common questions and enablement resolves these queries via online webinars, video clips or enablement documentation.
There is also the option of enablement within a community. This allows you to share ideas with other community members in a “chat like” forum. You can be sure that the problem you are facing is one that someone else has faced and solved. By sharing your question on the community forum you not only will receive a quick answer but you will assist future users who have the same question.

My view is that Training is more constant and delivers that same message in each course; Enablement is more fluid and allows the learning to be more question and answer driven. Enablement sessions should cater to a set topic but always be open to answer additional questions on a variety of other areas of the product.