Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

How we educate has always been a topic for debate, but in these days of Covid adaptation, all proposed methodologies, and their related consequences, are being critically scrutinized. 

In public education, policies and circumstances have driven the current dialogue about alternatives to a fever pitch. While in business organizations, where each investment’s value is projected and monitored, the discussion about the most effective education methods has continued unabated. 

One reason this debate persists is that we’ve labelled ‘learning’ as ‘education.’ Education is based on compliance, listening to approved content and focusing on what will be tested. But excelling at school is not the same as learning something. Learning results from doing

In K-12 public education, the current conversation may be about how much ‘teaching’ should be delivered virtually vs. physically. But the basic educational premise is unchanged – what is ‘taught’ is driven by what will be tested. The children have minimal exposure to real-life activity, experimentation and interaction as part of their lessons. 

In business, millions do their work every day, but few read books or regularly take lessons about how to do their work better. Many organizations specify continuous improvement as a core principle, but few motivate it. Investing in oneself is considered a distraction or, at best, inconvenient or simply wasted time. 

How would our learning be improved if it was consistently combined with our doing? And how would our doing improve if we invested more time to learn from it? When science students devise and operate their own lab tests, their understanding of the experiment dramatically improves. 

When employees collaborate to accelerate a work process, investing time to evaluate their output and to experiment with new approaches, their leaders discover that the team’s efficacy and productivity increases, safety improves, and job satisfaction surges. 

Learning embraces doing – the doing of interacting with others, speaking up, reviewing and being reviewed. Learning involves working on relevant projects and engaging with peers. Learning and doing, bonded together, occurring at the same time, each producing the other. 

Our society, and our businesses, could benefit from more learning and doing. And while we’re busy with all of this doing, we’ll learn how to do it better.

How do you motivate your team to learn from doing?