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Use it or Lose it!

December 17, 2010

As a teacher and a student, I am constantly looking for ways to improve the learning experience for others and myself.   Most learning theories include the “do” or “experience” step.  If you do not practice or apply a skill you have learned, you will not retain the information.  As teachers we must help our students find ways to apply knowledge.  As students we must look for ways to apply the knowledge in our lives and work.

Francis Bacon gives us the famous quote, “Knowledge is power.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson takes that thought one step further with,  “Knowledge comes by eyes always open and working hands; and there is no knowledge that is not power.”  The power of knowledge is activated by using it.  Nothing gives me more joy than when my students tell me that they have used a tool or concept that they have learned in class.  That is success for a teacher.  If what a student learns from me improves their life or job performance, I have done my job.  As a student, if I apply what I have learned to my life or job, I have truly learned the lesson.

As Project Managers, we are both teachers and students.  We must help our organizations learn how to operate more effectively and efficiently by teaching them how to do projects better and faster.  We must learn the lessons from previous projects and apply them to the next projects.  Without the complete learning cycle, we are destined to repeat past mistakes and not reach our full potential.  Use it or lose it!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 17, 2010 7:09 am

    A related idea is that “teachers” create independence. Their goal is to cause their own obsolescence. If the teacher has done his/her job, the student should be able to move past the teacher and begin working independent of the teacher. It is the difference between giving a man a fish and teaching him to fish himself. One creates dependence and weakness, the other self-reliance and strength.

    • December 17, 2010 11:05 am

      Excellent point. Your years as a teacher underline the importance of this point. Thanks for your input!

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