Monina asks, “What do you currently do for professional development? What do you look for?”
I practice what’s called inquiry-based learning, or problem-based learning. This particularly methodology comes from the medical world; in the 1960s, students at McMaster University pioneered it in response to rote memorization (though the technique is timeless). Inquiry-based learning brings together many different skills, but can be inefficient and incomplete, and requires a base level of skills, which I usually obtain from online courses and reading. It is ideally suited for agency life and client work. Watch the video for a full explanation.
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.
In today’s episode, Molina asks, What do you currently do for professional development? What do you look for? So that’s a really interesting question.
Because in a lot of ways, I think the type of professional development I do is mostly tailored to how I learn.
And that’s one of the things that’s really important for any organization to do and for any individual practitioner to know is how do you learn best? There are all these different methods and techniques for learning, whether it is just passive content consumption, courses, training, conferences, you name it, there’s a million and a half different ways to learn some topic.
The question is, how do you learn best? And if you’re managing people, how do they learn best because there’s a lot of cases where a technique that works for one person will not work for another person.
My personal methodology is in academia, it’s called inquiry based learning or problem based learning.
This is essentially when you start with a problem that you’re trying to solve, and then you explore all the ways to solve that problem.
This methodology comes from really the 1960s.
At least the discipline has known today it’s it’s much older than that.
You could argue that Socrates and such back in antiquity, were doing this sort of thing because it’s, it’s functional learning.
The the specific discipline is comes from McMaster University in the 1960s and medical school, where students in response to their complaints that you know, at the time medical school is vast amounts of memorization without any practice.
They said this doesn’t help us solve problems that we’re likely to face in.
In the medical world.
inquiry based learning brings together many, many different skills.
So if you’re given a problem, how do you solve that problem, one of the ways you can solve it.
Now, it requires a few things to be effective.
Number one, it requires a lot of time.
Because you have to have the time to explore all the solutions.
It requires access to the information in some fashion or format, whether that’s through a mentor or through a search engine or whatever.
And it requires a base level of skills.
So if you don’t have any skills whatsoever, for example, in data science, it would be a very, very difficult way to start learning data science to open up the studio ID and got that blank cursor and an empty Filing a great, what do I do now.
So you probably want some other methods to supplement it like a basic class or a course, I usually get my base skills from online courses or reading tons and tons of specialist material looking at ways people have already tried to solve the problem and picking up techniques that they use and adding them to my repertoire.
In on Saturday nights, I do this thing, sometimes a post about on Facebook, on my personal profile and on LinkedIn, but sometimes they don’t call it the Saturday night data party, where I take a problem that I want to explore or a data set that I want to explore.
And I dig into it and it’s sometimes it’s work related.
Sometimes it’s not sometimes a piece of data crosses my desk is like, Wow, that’s really interesting.
What can we do with that? How could we use that? Or problem like, how do I make help a reporter more accurate AirTable it’s 150 queries in this thing, how do I turn that into something that I can take action on faster and then I try and solve that problem.
Now, there’s some downsides to this approach.
Like I said, One, it does require a lot of time it requires some basic skills and it can be inefficient.
You may learn how to solve a problem.
And you may come up with a solution, but it may not be the best solution.
You You may not discover best practices this way, unless you are actively looking for them.
And you may reinvent the wheel a lot.
And that’s okay.
In training and development, reinventing the wheel sometimes the only way to learn how will wheel works.
If you’re on a time crunch, it’s probably not the fastest way to learn.
But it is a way to learn thoroughly so that you can be a practitioner and be able to stand behind your work.
You know how a piece of code works, or tool works because you’ve used it to solve that problem.
Where inquiry based learning really shines, I think is in agency life in client work in places where you need to be able to show practical experience cases that when a client says I’ll now what kind of experience do you have in this in this field or in this industry, you can show very clear specific examples of how you solved in that industry.
And if you haven’t, if you can get a hold of a data set from the industry, you can show how you solved for it, even if you’ve never done paying client work event industry, which is super, super important if you are trying to start your own business.
If you’re trying to start a new team or a new line of business inside of a company, having that portfolio of case work that you’ve done really helps illustrate Your skills and instill confidence in somebody that you’ve done this before you know what you’re doing.
So inquiry based learning that really great for agency life.
The catch is you have to have time to do it.
So one of the most important things in general and professional development is making time for it.
But doubly so if you are an inquiry based learner, you must block off time and your schedule every week, ideally every day, so that you can continue to grow your skills because one of the challenges of inquiry based learning because it is nonlinear, and it can lead you down all sorts of interesting rat holes is it’s very difficult to develop a comprehensive map of what you know until you’ve really explored a good chunk of a discipline.
So if you are doing infrequently, you end up reinventing the wheel a lot on ground you’ve already walked on.
As opposed to if you have frequent windows or Training is not long if even if it’s 15 minutes a day.
You can remember what you did yesterday.
Oh yeah, open up your your code or your tool or software, whatever.
Like, I remember this, I remember doing this yesterday and you you continue down those pathways until you run out.
The other thing that you should consider if it’s possible if it’s there is finding some kind of mentor at least somebody or a community of people who are in that particular technique or technology or or system that you can ask questions to as I participate in Stack Overflow, the coding website, a lot, I a lot of questions like, hey, how do you do this? Has anyone ever done this? And there are literally decades of answers on there for some of these programming languages.
where people’s like, Oh, yeah, you see in 2008, someone asked me, How do you do this? Oh, yeah, I have that problem.
And it helps you solve individual techniques faster.
Not reinvent the wheel for something that is long standing and well proven, especially since a lot of the folks contribute answers on there.
will say, Well, here’s four different ways to do this.
So example I use the our programming language.
So here’s the tidy verse way of a data table way and the deep lie away and the bass ROI.
And you’re like, Okay, got it.
Here’s how all these different things work.
And having access to that knowledge in that community is is super helpful.
So that’s the technique I use, it is not for everyone.
If you are your brain works in this particular way, kind of scattered.
I joke Attention Deficit really shouldn’t in a lot of ways because that is a clinical diagnosis that I’m not qualified to make for anyone including myself.
But if you if you don’t learn in a linear way, if you don’t learn to not pick up the book, you know, start digging into the book.
Okay, let’s read the book, read the book, read the book, if that’s not your style learning, inquiry based learning may be the way to go.
But you have to be incredibly self motivated to do it, to pursue it, and have a place to turn when you run into questions you can’t answer and you can’t find a good answer for and you may not have the language to ask for.
So, community is learning very useful for that.
Speaking of which, if you haven’t already joined my slack group analytics for marketers, go to Trust insights.ai slash analytics for markers and join our slack group.
You can ask questions and if you’re doing inquiry based learning a great place to ask where to go next.
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