Careers advisors should teach meta learning

By April 15, 2020 No Comments

Kudos must’ve made an impression on me. For the uninitiated, Kudos is an aeons-old careers software programme that bestows upon you a future career path via the answering of a few carefully crafted questions. If your a softwrae engineer / product manager for kudos….many apologies. You’ve probably progressed since Kudos v.1999.

However, this is my blog and my rules.

I deciphered Kudos’s algorithm from first principles. Actually, that sounds grandiose. I repeated the process hundreds of times with different answers trying to find a career that piqued my interest.

“This week I want to be a pilot……”

“Work well at heights?”

“Yup, absolutely!”

And I continued, ad infinitum, second guessing what answers a particular career requires and then tailoring my answers accordingly.

Information platforms have their place, but are at the bottom of Phill’s Careers Advice Taxonomy (my version of Bloom’s. I trademarked it 5 minutes ago). They teach young people to be consumers-i.e. read a bunch of information and I can do a particular career. They also teach students careers are linear. Which they aren’t.

Higher up on Phill’s Taxonomy are skills like “Developing the skills to add value”. You see, gaining employment is a matter of simple supply and demand. Skills that a lot of people possess and are in ready supply command low prices in their exchange. Valuable and rare skills command a premium. In today’s market, high grades are becoming a commodity?—?the supply is ever increasing and benefits of their possession are becoming increasingly marginal. (Please note, I am not advising against the pursuit of grades. I’m a believer in doing everything to the best of your ability. If you’re at school, you may as well dominate).

Careers advisors must teach students how to develop these skills. Education becomes far more valuable when it equips young people with the skills to keep learning once they leave. I can’t tell you how many people I heard say “I’m never reading another book again” after they finished “To Kill a Mockingbird” in my GCSE English class, yet it is precisely through reading, curiosity, self-discipline, and pragmatism that will enable students togo forward and thrive in their career.

If a young person can learn how to programme websites, sell product, foster networks, analyse accounts, communicate ideas, organise time, mine data, understand people, show empathy, create innovation, solve problems, placate complainants, understand logic, calm colleagues, perform experiments and navigate society they will succeed. Even if they learn one of those skills, they’ll do well. Advice will prove secondary as they’d find out they’re apt for most career pathways.

A careers advisor might not specialise in any of the above skills. They will, however, be able to provide advice about how to go about learning them. And that is far more empowering, as it is a trait a young person can take with them through life.

I know what you’re thinking. If a young person has no information, how will they know the skills they need for a particular pathway?

  1. Generic soft skills will qualify them for A LOT of careers
  2. Google is the most effective parser of information known to man. Google “career pathways for people interested in science / maths / working with animals” or even “what careers can I do with a Business degree / Maths A Level etc etc. Teaching problem solving skills will enable anyone to do this.

Meta learning is defined as “the process by which learners become aware of and increasingly in control of habits of perception, inquiry, learning, and growth that they have internalised”.

These skills are far more impactful than mere information. Teaching young people how to take charge of their own learning will have far reaching benefits. Not least, they’ll now be able to plan a career using their organisation skills, curiosity, ability to research, ability to communicate, ability to plan, ability to problem solve and their desire to succeed.

This is the ethos behind Kloodle. Information platforms are ten a penny. Kloodle shuns the easy path of sitting in front of a screen to click buttons and receive a dopamine hit when you get told you could be a “brain surgeon” or you’re “studying the correct subjects to get into Queen’s College, Oxford” in favour of reflecting on skill development. We know real learning requires reflection and a commitment to continual progress. We also know these are the tenets of a good career. If you’re a life long acquirer of skills, the world will be your oyster. You didn’t get into teaching to spoon feed kids, you wanted them to discover knowledge for themselves, explore the edges of their potential and to build skills to let them thrive. Kloodle supports this outlook wholeheartedly.

Phill

About Phill

Phillip is co-founder of Kloodle.

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