Differences Between Education and Learning

This week’s readings present some exciting ideas on the differences between education and learning. Burbules (2013) distinguishes between the two mentioned concepts and states that the process and outcomes of learning are more focused on a student’s inherent curiosity, needs, and interests. In comparison, education is viewed as a system that aims to equip students with predetermined knowledge and skills. It is especially prominent in cases when teachers try to provide all the material instead of paying attention to how well students mastered it. Learning styles imply that a teacher is expected to organize lessons in a way that makes sense to particular students, which is more energy-consuming and requires creativity rather than just retelling what is written in a textbook. According to Burbules (2013), education can be defined as instruction giving, which does not include modeling, discussing, and motivating. On the contrary, learning occurs when a teacher encourages interest in a certain subject or historical event by influencing students and facilitating a creative learning environment.

Furthermore, the concept of continuous learning is examined by Burbules (2013), who suggests that an educated person never stops in his or her development. In this connection, the diversity of learning styles should be given special attention since what is relevant for one person can be uninteresting for the other one. In addition, how students interpret, perceive, and make conclusions also differentiates them as learners. The application of knowledge received is mentioned as one of the ways to measure the effectiveness of teaching. If a person implements new materials that were received during lessons, it can be stated that he or she learned them. Accordingly, education remains more detached from the real world as students often forget what they have been taught after passing exams and receiving certificates. In this regard, the relevance of modern education is one of the controversial questions that should be addressed.

The article by Kirschner and Merriënboer (2013) opposes the modern opinion that students are the best managers of their education. The authors aim to discuss the widely accepted point that a student better knows what he or she wants to learn and how to achieve it. Another legend, as it is called by the above authors, is that modern students are digital natives, who are different compared to previous generations that were not closely interacting with technology. In addition, it is suggested that modern students have specific learning styles, and each of them should be given individualized education. Kirschner and Merriënboer (2013) state that these “legends” are not supported by sufficient evidence, which means that they were not verified empirically. It is also claimed that a child cannot be considered as the main person responsible for his or her education since they cannot practice multitasking or properly choose pertinent materials.

Despite rejecting the mentioned assumptions, Kirschner and Merriënboer (2013) admit that they can be true if avoiding generalizations and conduct future research. In this connection, they argue that research should not merely discover what works well, but set the goal of understanding why it is effective. The practical implementation of findings should also be examined by scholars to produce substantial academic, empirical evidence. The very scientific attitude towards educational studies should be changed to adjust methodologies and apply a wide range of theories to verify or reject current statements about self-education, digital natives, and the learning styles of students.


Burbules, N. C. (2013). Learning is not education. In P. Smeyers & M. Depaepe (Eds.), Educational research: The attraction of psychology (pp. 159-166). Dordrecht, NL: Springer.

Kirschner, P. A., & Merriënboer, J. J. G. (2013). Do learners really know best? Urban legends in education. Educational Psychologist, 48(3), 169-183.

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ChalkyPapers. "Differences Between Education and Learning." February 9, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/differences-between-education-and-learning/.