As said in the title, my question is how corporate training is different from college education. Does it have major differences? I think both way we learn the same things.

  • 3
    I think that you need to get more specific in what your problem is, if you want a useful answer. – Eric Wilson Mar 21 '14 at 18:18
  • @JoeStrazzere >>training my company will provide for me to help me do my job better Yes – user10125 Mar 21 '14 at 18:18
  • Yes, that's my question – user10125 Mar 21 '14 at 18:24
  • The cynical me says: corporations don't want to train anyone. They want people to be able to do the job immediately. – Irwin Mar 21 '14 at 20:39

College training, you will find, focuses on building the base skills of a trade, and broadening your understanding of that trade so that you will be prepared to apply it in any way a company requires.

Corporate training is practically the opposite - when you are hired for a position, a corporation will want to hone your skills in a specific area, so that you can focus on solving their problems for that area.

The area that they will have you hone in on depends on the field you are in - if you're a programmer, it could be a specific coding language or a specific application you are expected to maintain. If you are in marketing, you may be trained in providing presentations and reports.

Basically, college training provides you a broad base of knowledge, but in the corporate world, your on-the-job training is to focus that knowledge and produce finished work.

Note: This is different than job training that you may get outside of regular work - often corporations that want to help their employees fill knowledge gaps will send their employees to job training, and at these training sessions you will be expected to learn a broad variety of ways to apply a particular skill, but, that skill will likely still be focused on the job you're expected to do when you return from training.


Your college education is about what you want - you choose your major and even within a major, you have some freedom to choose the courses you want to take.

Corporate training is about what THEY want from you and what THEY need from you to be of better use to them. In other words, they train you to fill their needs and your happiness/sense of fulfillment either in life or on the job is certainly not a priority let alone a consideration in their Weltanshaung (world outlook)

In addition, corporate training is typically very focused on immediate benefits to the organization and very narrow in scope. Basically, they want you to go out there and just get the task done.


Corporate or corporate deposited training is very specific to your job function, or anticipated function (an upcoming upgrade or new application to support etc...). You come away with skills you can use right away.

College is a foundation - in many cases you learn "how to learn", and other "soft skills" like time management... Many people wind up in careers unrelated to their degree. I was a Computer Science major, and a bunch of us approached the dept. head(s) to suggest they change the intro level programming language to one that was actually in wide use; that way we'd get the theory as well as the practical knowledge. The dean responded, "This is an institute of higher learning, we don't teach practical skills; you're to learn those after you graduate".


In my experience at both IT and non-IT employers, a major difference between corporate training and a university education is that students in corporate training programs are expected to pass.

Many university programs have so-called "weeder" courses designed to filter out those who "don't have what it takes" to move on, and many non-"weeder" courses also require sustained effort as well as some level of innate ability and background knowledge (often obtained in prerequisite courses, or previous levels of education). For example, to succeed in a graduate-level course on research methods, one must not only have some aptitude, but must also have a firm grounding in both basic statistics as well as the subject-matter of the field being studied (e.g. psychology, medicine, education, etc.). If you don't have these, you are very likely to fail.

Most of the corporate training courses that I have taken do have final exams, and some even have projects or homework. The difference is that the instructor sets things up so that it is essentially impossible to fail. If you seem to be struggling, the instructor will invite you for a "study session" in which they will essentially give you the answers so that you can move on and stop costing the company more training dollars. In fact, at the last training course I took, most of the class was actually spent studying the actual final exam, with only the question order changed, and we were explicitly told that this was the case. If this wasn't enough, we were told that we were allowed unlimited repeats of the final exam if, somehow, we still didn't pass after being told all of the answers in class.

Online training modules I have taken are also "gimme" courses, but in a slightly different way. The final exams (again, at multiple employers) are essentially basic reading comprehension exercises. If one of the exam questions is "Are employees permitted to foo the bar without the explicit permission of their supervisor?", the chances are 99%+ that somewhere in the course materials is the sentence "Employees are permitted to foo the bar without the explicit permission of their supervisor" or "Employees are not permitted to foo the bar without the explicit permission of their supervisor". There are no synthesis, higher-order thinking, or even logical reasoning questions like you often find in a university class - it is literally "snarf and barf" memorization all the way.

Abstract, creative, and original thinking is similarly rare in corporate training in my experience - they really only care that you know it is against the rules to foo the bar and that chemical safety gowns are kept in the red closet. They don't test whether you know what fooing the bar really is, where the exact borders are between fooing the bar, reticulating the spline, and reorienting the negative parallel matrix, why fooing the bar is wrong, how historians have explained the process of how fooing the bar evolved from a synthesis of the medieval practices of fish slapping, doofus dunking, and fork flinging by a group of 13th century Celtic monks, and especially not whether you can handle complex real-world cases where actually going ahead and fooing the bar might actually be the most rational choice because you live in the real world where most things are gray, not black and white.

Think about it this way:

  • Corporate training: Fooing the bar is allowed only if you have obtained permission from your supervisor and are wearing a chemical safety gown. Answer the following question: "What are the two requirements that you must meet before you may foo the bar?"
  • Undergraduate course: Fooing the bar is the process by which a bar is prepared for retransmogrification. Chemical safety gowns are typically worn during this process to protect against blowback. Complete the exercise on Page 10 of your lab manual.
  • Graduate school: Recall yesterday's reading in which you learned about how best practices in fooing the bar evolved side-by-side with advances in chemical safety gown technology. Today we will be discussing Dood (1984)'s Five Layer Theoretical Model of Bar Fooing. Propose a methodology by which you can use this model to predict the effectiveness of chemical safety gowns at each stage. In your paper, clearly define and explain the terms "chemical", "safety", "stage", and "the". Quantify your result.
  • PhD candidacy: Tell me something I don't know about fooing the bar.

Depending on the specifics, there can be some similarities and some big differences:

Some courses I took in university could be passed by someone taking the old exams and using those to get a passing grade. In this case, the person never had to go to the lectures given or read the textbook. The exams were multiple choice which can be quite different from a corporate environment where you don't have only 4 possible choices before you to consider in how to get something done. How well does someone have to know the material after the final exam would be another way to see this.

Some corporate training may not have an exam as it may be about being present to hear the company's harassment policy or have some other orientation that may be viewed as training or on-boarding. All of my undergraduate university courses had a final exam in contrast.

Some corporate training may be outside of regular working hours that isn't necessarily the case of university courses that generally follow a schedule. I can remember going to the office on a Saturday morning to learn about ITIL and how my employer was going to bring that into the organization with this specific tool that was to be used in this way.


corporate training is current, college education not so much.

corporate training courses change every day to keep up with standards and new things that someone needs to learn.

college education although current, may lack the On going new processes that are happening out there.

That's why a 3 week corporate training course cost more than a year at college.