Formal and informal training

Do you need a professor with a syllabus or a coach with a keen eye? Which will provide a higher return on investment? Will you actually enjoy the training and what will you accomplish? Modern students have many great choices to make, and each choice can be very expensive.

1:1 with Anna vs Thinkific courses

Before we dive into the entertaining part of this article, I want to address a very practical question. The 1:1 with Anna has no syllabus and no progress path except for the training schedule. The thinkific courses have a very detailed schedule, yet all the sessions are recorded. The cost of 5 sessions 1:1 with Anna is roughly equivalent to the cost of 25 hours (probably more) of video training. (No doubt this is much more than the 2 hours of video we put in our cheap courses.)

Definitely, in x5 hours of training, I can get into more advanced materials and dive deeper than in any other medium. This is especially easy, since every couple of minutes I can show a slide that exemplifies my thoughts.

Anna has the ability to diagnose every issue by observing the detailed performance. Most errors and misunderstandings can be corrected on the spot, others in the following session. The materials and methods can be adapted to the particular needs of the individual.

The products complement each other, but if you do not have time or money fo both, which is better? This is a tough choice!

The degree of your syllabus

If a junior professor has a syllabus, he will not adapt to your needs. You might as well watch a video course. Unfortunately, most basic university courses come with a syllabus and an exam. The professor needs to follow the guidelines and has very little attention to spare between his 120 students (the actual number can vary). The materials seldom change and the professor is basically repeating the same text year after year. This is the only way to ensure that all the students receive an adequate level of education for their degrees.

Postgraduate studies are different. The syllabus is still presented to the 10 students that decide to take the obscure courses. There is no exam, but instead, students submit a research assignment or a practical project. The professor adapts the content to the interests of the students and the syllabus is a recommendation rather than an obligation.

The  PhD work does not come with a syllabus. Nobody knows if certain research will be successful and how much time it takes to learn a delicate subject. The studies usually take between four and six years, but the scope can vary widely. The thesis advisor has a couple of PhD students at any given time and teaches them everything he knows. This is the deepest but also the most time-consuming form of education.

Syllabus as a contract

Coaching or therapy rarely (almost never) has a syllabus. The needs can change every meeting, and the meetings are adapted to personal needs. Trying to get a syllabus from a therapist is the best way to make him feel uncomfortable. A good therapist will instead offer you a contract, explaining the path you will take, the limits you should not test, and what is expected from each party.

Can the therapist or the coach provide a detailed explanation? Probably. Will your progress follow the same path as the progress of other patients? Quite likely. Yet there will be no syllabus, as the content of each session is derived from the communication, analysis of progress, and diagnostics of the difficulties.

A coach does not expect you to understand the theoretical basis for the progress and the latest studies for the particular predicament. He will provide the most effective strategies and ensure you can use them.

The pedigree of the graduates

The better more expensive institutions do not always provide better education. They provide a higher pedigree of their graduates. As it is harder to be accepted into the better institutions, the people who are accepted have very high intelligence and socioeconomic status. They will tend to excel because of their qualities, and they will promote alumni of the same institutions because they share similar values.

We can learn more via self-education.  Reading the right books and doing hands-on projects, we can be more creative, insightful and effective than the graduates with pedigrees. We will probably enjoy our job more, as we did not need to suffer boring professors that can suck all the fun out of any activity.  Quite possibly we will be better entrepreneurs. Yet, we will not be given an equal level of professional respect as there will be huge gaping holes in our education.

A word about my education

I have a very wide and heterogeneous education. My first degree and my first job was of an RF engineer. Later I acquired PhD in machine learning (stochastic processes). With that, I worked as a software engineer. I acquired MBa-equivalent not in university but in a bootcamp for entrepreneurs. Although I used to be a college professor for a short while, and Anna taught me several things, in psychology and education I am an autodidact. If I know some medicine or accounting, this is hands-on skills acquired at work.

So I would say that while I was trained as an engineer, I do not actually feel like one. I am definitely a technologist but in a wider sense. I feel that people occasionally need debugging and reprogramming very similar to computers, and that everything we know is interconnected.

Hands-on training

To tell you the truth, nothing of the initial education truly matters. It only prepares us to be effective in real projects. The most important part of the training is hands-on training, with no professors or coaches. In the best-case scenario we will have a mentor to help us.

By the way, if you need my help please write. Do not write long stories. Up to 5 numbered bullets with 3 sentences, 5-7 words each will get my attention faster and better.

Hands-on experience tends to be the most expensive element of training, as we give up our most valuable time. Do not expect to learn a lot when you are tired, stressed and undersleeping. Military training builds your character, not optimizes your learning experiences. To learn effectively, use your prized prime time, when you are focused and energetic.

Return on investment

Since the time we invest in learning is our most valuable time, it is easy to justify investment in learning more effectively. We do 80% of our work or study in 20% of our time. Tripling our efficiency during this 20 % will triple our productivity. It is smart to invest up to a year of time and an equivalent amount of money to acquire this productivity, and we suggest to do more with lower investment. Then it makes sense to divert the acquired skillset not to reading fiction and learning foreign languages, but to get a better professional qualification.

Dealing with stress and depression

Stress and lack of confidence are the biggest obstacles in that path. Depression can suck up a lot of focus and motivation.It is a good idea to acquire the skills needed to deal with inner demons (like we teach in keytovison)  as a part of effective learning. You might not need them, but I think most of us cannot function without certain self-help techniques. And again, this is something you are not likely to acquire in school or college. Definitely, self-help is cheaper than therapy, and in some cases more effective.

The tree of learning is very similar to the tree of life. As we learn and evolve, we understand what it means to be human.

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