Deep Thoughts

The Optimal Skill Building Algorithm

Knowing how to build the right skills is not as easy as one might think…

In a world of bloated centralised content catalogues that mostly promote decision fatigue. The aspiration of the self-led learning movement at scale is quite difficult to achieve.

Why so?

Simple really. Many of us don’t know what we need to learn.

And, even when we do, knowing what resources will actually help us in the quest to build a skill is not so clear-cut.

This is where the promise of most learning technology falls apart. Often marketed as the solution to any organisation’s skill-building problems by providing on-demand content.

This one-size-fits-all is still relatively standard in the education industry today.

As users, we’re peppered with limitless amounts of content on thousands of topics.

But, how does one know what is worth our time and what is not?

The choice of content and, with that, the quality of skill-building is all driven by the user who often doesn’t know what they should focus on.

It doesn’t really work, does it? 🤔

What we need is the right content at the right time to provide the desired outcome. Not more content with more choices that we often don’t have the expertise to correctly select.

We know that a lot of skill-building takes place in the day-to-day. That can’t be disputed.

We learn every day through what we experience, but this doesn’t always mean we acquire the right level of knowledge or behaviours for long-term growth.

We might learn something in the moment to solve a problem right there and then, but that’s often just one piece of the puzzle.

To scale that skill and work towards mastery, one must intentionally seek out more knowledge and practice in that area.

This is where I find many L&D teams get lost.

The last 5 – 7 years have seen such a focus on just-in-time solutions and building self-led learning, that we’ve forgotten that this is a tool in the wider toolkit, not a cure-all silver bullet or the only approach on which to build your organisational capability strategy.

In order to enable continued growth and strengthen our skills, we need a combination of both intentional learning and in-the-moment learning experiences.

In the moment experiences do what they say in the title.

They help us absorb new know-how quickly and apply it to solve a problem in the moment.

We store this in the hard drive known as our brain to call upon in similar future scenarios.

This will give us part of that puzzle I mentioned, but not all of it.

This is where intentional learning comes into the picture.

We can take those lessons learnt from our in-the-moment experiences and scale them in a structured experience with the right guidance to the most relevant resources, tools and experiences to deepen the expertise in those skills which allow a greater command of it.

This is what I find is missed when talking about learning strategies.

It’s not choosing one over the other, it’s making them co-exist to deliver an outcome.

In the moment, on the job, just in time or whatever you want to call it, is great. It will help solve problems in the moments that matter most but it’s not as great in deepening expertise in an area long term.

This is why blending intentional practices and in-the-moment experiences can not only improve our own growth but all in organisations today too.

Again, just my 2 cents on an early morning as I sip some delicious warm white tea.

Before you go… 👋

If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.

You can join me every Tuesday morning for more tools, templates and insights for the modern L&D pro in my weekly newsletter.

You might also like

One reply on “The Optimal Skill Building Algorithm”

Leave a Reply