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  • Writer's pictureKristen Herring-Asleson

Information vs. Education? What's the Diff?

Too many people are looking at infographics or reading articles online and considering that an education.

The tasks assigned to an assistant, no matter the type – virtual, administrative, executive or personal – are quite varied and cover a broad spectrum of projects, tasks, and to-do’s. A new task, which is one I quite enjoy, is editing and producing podcasts along with show notes. If you listen to podcasts, it is almost like a successful event, if it is good, then you don’t know the real work that goes behind the scenes.

There are two companies for whom I edit and produce podcasts. One speaks to founders and people in the financial world, and the other’s guests all surround technology and cyber security. Both are fascinating, and I cannot tell you how much I am learning about both topics.

During a recent podcast, the guest speaker said, “People need to get educated. Too many people are looking at infographics or reading articles online and considering that an education. There is a big difference between education and information.” To support this concept, I needed to hear a second opinion on the difference between education and information. As luck would have it, my daughter called at this very moment.

“Information is something you can give to just anybody," she said. They don’t need to retain it nor do they need to learn it. It doesn’t necessarily make an impact on their life. Education is something that you learn and retain and can also be used in other aspects of your life or educate others with it.” If you are a patient in a healthcare facility, it is the difference between nice to know and need to know. Most patients see information on infographics, in brochures or on posters. That type of sharing is oftentimes the newest or latest theory. On any given day at any random spot, the information we see about one particular subject could be altogether different.

For instance, you might see differing information in multiple places as to things like what foods help with weight loss, what activities make joint pain or inflammation dissipate, what fruit or vegetables have the highest benefit to one’s body. What scientists or researchers discover over the course of the next year may reveal information completely different than what is being shared today.

Education, on the other hand, is something they need to know. When going through breast cancer, I needed to know the skills and knowledge necessary to recover from a double mastectomy. Furthermore, patients need to be educated on how to prevent further injuries, for example, or how to do exercises correctly that will keep their hearts healthy.

When it comes to the workplace, information and education serve different purposes. Materials to share information come at a relatively low cost and can be distributed easily. Information is meant to inform (obviously), inspire or act as a reference.

Education, on the other hand, can help a person transform, look at “things” differently, and provide a road to empowerment. When I contemplated attending college at age 28, I was not sure if would be to my benefit or how it could help me in the future. My dad said, “Education is the best waste of money there is.” At the time, I did not realize how true that statement was. So, at the age of 28, I strapped on my backpack and went back to get a four-year degree.

With the advancement of technology, it is easy to get information and education confused – people read one article and consider themselves educated and an expert. That could not be further from the truth.

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