The Learning Lab
Many of you are contemplating taking a gap year since most higher education is not a good value right now.
There is more than one way to get to where you want to go. But first you need to try some things or Sample to better understand what you are interested in. Most learning is done through experience. Your goal is to optimize your life to gain as much experience as you can.
Focus on 3 Important Areas
- Diverse Experience
- Interdisciplinary Exploration
There have been numerous studies that show being a specialist, and narrowing your focus right away does not always have the expected outcome. While at first you get a head start on people that are trying different things, in the end the generalists pass you because of their ability to connect different experiences that aid in problem solving.
Those same studies show that having diverse points of view and experiences leads to better solutions and outcomes. Combining different areas of experience brings new approaches to problems. It’s these new combinations of ideas and experiences that lead to break throughs. This sometimes looks like wandering around with no purpose but then shows up later in your life to help with an amazing discovery.
The way to gain breadth and diverse experiences is through interdisciplinary exploration. This just means you explore ideas, topics, issues, solutions, of various and different disciplines. You examine the world through the eyes and methods of different fields. When you are curious about something you explore it.
During the pandemic there are some perceived limitations to getting experiences. We believe that one of the most effective ways to gain experience is to make things and get feedback.
If you want to work on your writing… write. People will resonate with what you are writing or they will not. There are lots of ways to gain experience, and they all include doing them. Luckily there are plenty of guides in the form of books, blog posts, podcasts, and videos to inspire you and help you along your way.
If you get stuck try google.
There are a lot of professions that sound great when you are thinking about them. It is sometimes a shock when you go into that business environment only to find out it was nothing like you thought. There are many degreed professionals that are not doing what they studied because of match quality.
Match quality. How does the profession you are interested in match your personality, interests, and curiosities? People that take the time to find what matches their curiosities and interests accelerate past people that started to specialize early. There is a perception that you are being left behind. In reality you are delaying gratification so that you better match what you will be doing for quite some time. This results in greater achievements in the future.
There are also plenty of soft skills that you can work on. We have given you some examples below. The key here is to put anything you learn from your sources into practice. You can’t fully learn without the experience of doing.
You are ready to start the adventure of Gap Year.
Normally this would include travel and being exposed to other cultures, geographies, languages, and ways of thinking. Since the pandemic is limiting travel you need to replicate those experiences remotely. Here is your syllabus.
Fall Semester 2020
Learning & Doing
Strengthen your understanding of people and their needs. Ask them questions.
Liminal Thinking: Create the Change You Want by Changing the Way You Think
Learn to communicate. You can’t keep it all in your head.
Start a blog. Communicate your questions, ideas, insights, and start connecting the dots.
David Perell – The Ultimate Guide to Writing Online
Learn about remote work. It’s here and going to be a large part of business in a pandemic.
Reflect on what you have learned and how you learned it (self taught). Now how it can be applied to your community, state, nation, or world.
Write a manifesto for what you would like to see in the world. Get feedback on it.
Spring Semester 2021
Application of what you are learning.
Bring some part of your manifesto to life.
Put together a diverse team of collaborators.
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
Find a Critical Problem.
Make bets or experiments on how to solve it
Continue testing and refining until you have a solution that people will spend money on or pivot and use what you learned to start the next project – problem & solution.
Pitch your solution to a market or investors. Get feedback and apply what you learned.
At the end of this gap year you will better understand yourself and the things that interest you. You will have learned to Sample in order to find things that line up with your interests and skills. You will be closer to your Match Quality. If you decide on a traditional education you will be better prepared to demand what you need out of an education. You will not be creating debt while figuring out what to do next.
There are a number of opportunities happening around the pandemic. Remote learning has quickly become the standard for keeping people safe while learning.
The focus should be on the experience of schools, the administrators, teachers, students, and families. We need to develop resilient strategies based on impending spending cuts, enrollment, value propositions, technology, logistics, perceptions, parent, teacher, and student support.
We are looking for miracles. Until there is a reliable vaccine we need to prepare for a reality that includes deep learning, student led initiatives, higher thinking, collaboration, and project based assignments.
We need to help learners make the best choices. That may be a gap year for many higher education students. That may include supplemental learning from outside sources to help schools successfully balance the needs of their students and state requirements.
If learning is to be the focus then we need to embrace a world where methods must change. We need solutions from inside the community as well as outside. Prioritize curiosity and success will follow.
We are talking to some of the brightest minds in education and they are communicating these truths. Be part of the solution, get involved, our inbox is always open.