Difference between skills acquisition and education credentials

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What is Rapid Skills Acquisition?

It is a process of breaking down a particular skill someone wants to acquire into tiny bits in order to identify the most important parts of the skill and those important parts first.

It has four (4) major steps.

  1. Deconstructing a skill into the smallest possible subskills
  2. Learning enough about such subskill to able to practice intelligently and self-correct during practice.
  3. Removing physical, mental, and emotional barriers that get in the way of practice.
  4. Practicing the most important subskills for at least 24 hours.

You simply decide what to practice, figure out the best way to practice, make time to practice, then practice until you reach your target level of performance.

There is no magic to it-just smart, strategic effort invested in something that you care about. With little preparation, you’ll acquire new skills rapidly, with less effort.

The amount of time it will take you to acquire a new skills is largely a mater of how much concentrated time you’re willing to invest in deliberate practice and smart experimentation and how good you need to become perform at the level you desire. Don’t expect overnight results. Don’t expect that your total time invested will be much less than it would otherwise be if you went into it without a strategy.

Skills Acquisition vs Learning.

To illustrate, this point, think of English Language taught in schools in PNG as the medium of instruction and business.  One student can take required English lessons from Elementary  to University and pass all of them.  Yet he/she cannot write and speak fluent English. That is learning. The goal of learning English by this student is perhaps limited to passing the English subjects and moving up the education ladder rather than writing and speaking fluently.

Another student drops out of school or has failed English lesson. However, he reads a lot of books, watched videos and actually lived with some English Speaking people and he can write peaks fluent and intelligent English like a native speaker. That is skills acquisition.  This students goal of learning English is different. That is to learn as much as he would toe communicate with the people he/she is living with as well as using  for his education in other areas of his/her interest.

If you want to acquire a new skill, you must practice in context. Learning enhances practices, but it doesn’t replace it. If performance matters, learning alone is never enough.

Skills Acquisition vs Training.

There is big difference between training and skills acquisition. Training is improving a skill you have already acquired over time. You acquired the basic skills and keep improving from there. For example, someone completely new to use computer would first attend a training to use the move, keyboard and basics of operating a computer. Then he/she continues to attend other computing training like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, touch typing and etc . The more he/she trains, the more productive he/she becomes when it comes to use of computer. Same principle applies to sports athletes to compete in tournaments. They more they train, the stronger or faster they become.

Training and learning require skills acquisition. For example, basic skills in operating a personal computer is paramount to engage in any computer related training or learning. Subsequent trainings only reinforce a the core skills.

Skills Acquisition vs Education and Certificate.

 Education and certification have almost nothing to do with skills acquisition. Skills acquisition requires practicing the skill in question. It requires significant periods of sustained concentration. It requires creativity, flexibility, and the freedom to set your own standard of success.

Methods of used in education and certificate systems is completely opposite. The primary goal isn’t to acquire skills, it is to certify completion of a mostly arbitrary set of criteria established by standards committees far removed from the student, for the purpose of validating certain qualities some third parties appear to care about.

Creativity, flexibility, and freedom to experiment-the essential elements of rapid skills acquisition-are antithetical to the certification process. Unfortunately, rigorous education and credentialing can actively prevent skills acquisition. The main problem is the opportunity cost, if the requirements to obtain the credential are so intense they impair your ability to spend time practicing the skills in question, credentialing programs can do more harm than good.

B y the time a student has spend 3 to 4 years, they gained a lot of theoretical knowledge but in terms of skills, it restarts at the very time the student starts his/her employment with an employer. If the student has invested those three or 4 years in tertiary education in acquiring skills in areas that he/she care about or interested in, they would be far better and satisfied lives.

If you want to get good at anything where real-life performance maters, you have the to actually practice that skill in context. Study by itself is never enough.

You can improve any skill, provided you are willing to practice.

Source: Extract from The Book “The First 20 Hours-How to learn Anything Fast” by Josh Kaufman