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Imagine that you are allowed to follow one last training course. For the rest of your life there will be no training course after this one. There are no limits in terms of costs, location or content. You are free to choose. Which training course would you choose as your last one?
It’s a difficult question. Comparable to your last supper, your last wish, your last lecture, your last trip. But I’m not being morbid. I guess you are not dying, and even if you were, the question could be relevant. Anyway, the question is important enough to think about it.

Choosing Your Last Training Course

What would your selection criteria be?

  1. A training course that would boost your chances on the labor market? Maybe you’d go for an expensive training at a business school of high reputation.
  2. A training course that would give you that new skill you’ve always wanted but you did not get it?
  3. A training course that gives you the ultimate insight in the secrets of life, humanity, …

Your choice probably depends on the stage of your life. If you’re in the early stages of your career you might opt for the first category. If you’re in the middle you might opt for the second choice. And if you’re  in the later stage of life you might go for the third.
However, people in the later stage might wish  that they had the third kind of training course or learning experience much earlier in their career. Indeed, we seem to focus on content and knowledge when we pick our learning experiences. We think that this will get us further. And indeed. In the early stages of our career we are supposed to provide expert knowledge. However, we might benefit more from the third option if we would get this kind of input much earlier.
Because of our focus on knowledge we risk to get stuck in a one-way street. Training has often a tunnel effect. We build on what we have learned before. But it’s very often more of the same. Building knowledge might even create biases. And this kills deep learning.

Training Is Not Learning

I asked about your last training course. But even if there is no training after this one, you can continue learning. So the choice of this training could be oriented towards that learning: learning how to learn. Could there be a training course that opens your mind so much that you draw in knowledge, experience, evolution. What kind of mind boggling training would that be?
It would be a training course that probably erases your acquired biases. These are filters in your observation and learning that hide novelty from you. They protect you from anxiety, uncertainty but they freeze your evolution. Biases lead to confirmation of what you know or prefer and they reject anything that is confusing. So maybe there is a training course around that erases these biases and makes your mind so open it is almost dazzling.

Human Deep Learning

Your last training course must make all further formal training not needed. It’s a training course that boosts your curiosity, your drive to learn. The training enables you to learn deeply. I strongly believe that deep learning is not only something for a machine. Deep learning is for humans as well. But it’s a skill that we do not develop. Or we lose it. And our education system does not launch pupils into deep learning, but rather into biased skills acquisition.
Your last training course will launch you into the deepest learning possible. Would you go for that?
Choose wisely.

David Ducheyne is the founder of Otolith. As a former HR and business leader he focuses now on humanising strategy execution.

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