Learning and Business

Learning should not be compared to business. Business is a poor model for learning.

Business leaders are out of their expertise when they suggest that competition in learning is comparable to competition in business. The examples where businesses display poor practices are so numerous that they could fill an entire book. 

Business is so different from education that in my education book the only place I use the term “work” is in the index where the word “homework” is referred to as “home tasks” or “home assignments.” This is a deliberate attempt to differentiate effort in learning from effort in employment.

The entire epilogue of my education book, Discipline without Stress, is about how business is so different from learning that the two should not even be used in the same sentence. The concluding paragraph states,

“Learning is learning; it is not business. Comparing learning to businesses is not only a poor metaphor, it is a false one. Just because business and learning share attributes of efforts and skills, it is unwise to compare them for the reasons listed. We would be well served to call attention to and refute the comparison whenever made.”

Or to put it another way, using a business model for learning is a practice that has been described by the comic strip character Dagwood Bumstead: “You know, that makes a lot of sense if you don’t think about it.”