The True Value of Education

It is not about what you know, it is about what you can do.

Brain Muscle

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Many times I am talking to a customer and trying to explain the value of proper education.  I have tried various approaches and they don’t always resonate. People wonder why they cannot just self-learn or wing it. 

Think for a minute about the expected outcome of a training class.  It should be that a user can do their job more efficiently and more effectively.  That is not done by memorizing features and functions, it is done by internalizing concepts so well that the "how" becomes almost routine, or "muscle memory".  This allows users to focus on what is really important, which is solving their problems.  The tool is just that, a tool to help them achieve what they are trying to do.  Users should not have to spend time and energy trying to use the tool, they should focus on answering the problem they are trying to solve so they can act on that.  It is not about what they know; it is about what they can do.

Let’s look at a few examples outside of software education. 

In sports, one of the reasons the New England Patriots (an American football team) are so successful is because of their coaches’ approach to education.  The coach teaches players not how to run a specific play, but more importantly how to react to certain situations to maximize their advantage.  When these plays come up in a game, they no longer have to worry about where to position themselves, they can just focus on their goal (scoring a touchdown or blocking a pass or whatever is needed at the time).

If you are a chef, you do not want to have to remember how to slice vegetables, or what temperature to cook chicken at; you want to focus on making amazing dishes.  What flavor pairings to use and how to build a balanced meal.  For chefs, it is not about following a recipe, it is about creating any recipe you want on the fly based off an eater’s request.  How to cut and cook food just becomes the tool to accomplish the goal.

In all these cases, after formal training, the mechanics of using these tools becomes just that, mechanics. They don't have to think about it.  It becomes muscle memory.  This allows them to accomplish their job more effectively and efficiently.

For a person using an analytics application as their tool, they too should not have to worry about how to use the tool.  For example, I would not want a user to worry about how to display bars side-by-side to show a reference line with the average value.  I want them to focus on the important part: the analytical question. In this case it could be "What resources do we need to complete this project on time, and where do we need them?”.  The "How do I do this in Qlik?" becomes "muscle memory"…it is just like tying your shoes.   

This is what value we give people.  They can learn things on their own, but they won’t connect the dots when they don’t know what they don’t know. There are features which may be better for them to use that they are not aware of.  By using education, we teach them all of these and it becomes just like tying their shoe, so they free up their mind and are equipped to handle any question that comes at them.

 

Are you interested in seeing how you can focus on your tasks and not the tools required to complete them? Take our free skills assessment to assess your Qlik skill level here: http://www.qlik.com/training/skills-assessment.

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