Stages of Learning

Typically a person has two stages of learning: lectures and experiencing. One phase is passive, depending on listening and remembering. The other phase depends on exploring, trying and failing.

Lecture-based Learning

Lecture-based learning most often occurs in grade-school and college consists. In class there is a professor speaking at you, listing of dates and events, summarizing theories and intrepretations. Later you have papers and excersizes that effectily measure you note-taking and research abilities. This is typically low-pressure (except perhaps when finals time rolls around), giving you moderate time to study, get tutoring or do additional research.

Experience-based Learning

Next you graduate and enter your field—welcome to the experience phase. Most of your life is this phase—you learn by watching others on your team and other teams or by blindly making it up as you go.

Learning in front of others might be one of the scariest things you do in life. Learning is something most prefer to do from observance or in solitude, afterall not-knowing can be frustrating or embarrasing.

Though often, when you’re thrown into the middle of something scary and you must pioneer your own path, you often learn more and retain it longer. Then hopefully you end up being quite proud of the experience and what you’ve created.

Improvising

Improvising is often activly learning in context. No one knows what they’re doing all the time.

Confidence

A key to experience-based learning is confidence. That doesn’t mean you pretend to you know everything, stop listening, do everything wrong and cause chaos. No, the confidence I speak of is acknowledging that you’re learning and going to make mistakes. Be confident in the fact you have areas to improve in, and cherrish people that want to help you along the way.

Mistakes

Mistakes are often the hardest part of learning; no one likes to fail. But at each failure is an opportunity to understand what went wrong and what you should do next time.

Keep Learning

The most important thing is to keep learning. It keeps you young. Keeps you energetic. Most importantly, it keeps you relevant.

Building A Team: Stop Making All the Decisions

When a question pops up on my team, they typically come to me, explain the situation, then I’d make a decision and it was implemented. This was great since everything was done just the way I wanted. But then I noticed that the issues were getting smaller and smaller, and they kept coming to me for the answer. This wont scale.

This didn’t feel very productive. More and more, when questions were asked, I’d find myself thinking “They should know this”.

And so, I tried something new. When they came with a question, I helped them explain the various options, weigh each one, then choose the best one for the situation. We discuss, they implement.

This helps build analytical skills, and empowers the team to become more autonomous. It's a simple shift, but builds the right foundation for a more productive team.