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Transferring what you learn

When we take a course in university (or school), it is structured to give us exposure to different scenarios around a concept, in the hope that we will be able to understand in some contexts and then be able to successfully transfer that to other places.

But this doesn't work well at all.

In fact, the biggest complaint in the industry is that the fresh graduates that they hire as employees don't really have the necessary skills to be functional from the first day, and are in need of several weeks of training to get them up to speed for what's needed.

This isn't just true of fresh grads, but of people who have experience working for some companies. While they might be well versed with the ways of functioning at that company, they can't successfully transfer that to working on a new problem area or at a new company, and need to undergo training and onboarding again.

Being able to transfer our learning from one area / context / company to another is an essential skill at the workplace today.

This is why, when I'm hiring Product Managers, I always set up my interviews in such a way that I first understand what the candidate knows (from the work at her current and past roles), and then spend the second half of the interview evaluating whether they are able to transfer what they showcase to new scenarios.

And quite often, the candidates I speak to cannot do this successfully.

One of the biggest things writing on this blog everyday trains me to do is to identify a transferrable learning from one context to a totally different one.

If you don't think there aren't hundreds of good reasons to write everyday already, then this is another one. 

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