Learning That Isn't Broccoli

Roei Deutsch, CEO & Co-Founder at Jolt
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February 5, 2019

Learning is like broccoli. Everyone intuitively understands it’s good for them - but they don’t necessarily want to eat it for dinner every night. But what if we could come up with a learning experience that isn’t only good for you, but also fun to consume?

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When we started Jolt, we wanted to design the ultimate learning experience.

We thought: the problem isn’t that people don’t want to learn. This generation of workforce is curious and self motivated. The challenge is that we actually need to constantly be learning in order to stay competitive in today’s employment market - and doing something again and again means it has to become a habit.

And habits are really hard to form.

So we started from scratch - with disassembling learning into its smallest pieces and question every piece of it. The classroom, the students, the teacher - everything has to be re-evaluated to fit to today’s sophisticated professional, with just one key rule.

The ultimate learning experience is student-centric.

We noticed that nearly all of the current learning experiences were designed to be as effective as machines - because they were not designed with the student in mind, but rather as a tool for governments or organisations to train massive audiences.

It’s kind of like making food that only makes you full. Or healthy. (sorry, soylent, it isn’t personal).

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That’s why the oldest classroom looks kinda’ like this:

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While effective (the scholar - source of truth and knowledge - shoots out information to a massive audience), it is based on a few assumptions that have not been changed since the beginning of education:

  1. There’s one source of truth and knowledge. Students are ignorant novices who need to be taught.
  2. You only learn once - you study a profession as a one time investment and then you’re good to go.
  3. You only learn one thing - everyone should be an expert in just one thing they’ll be doing (and improving) for a lifetime.
  4. Few people can teach. Teaching is complicated and requires years of mastery.
  5. You can only learn from people in your city who are physically competent to teach. And there are only a few of those in every region.
  6. Learning stops everything for a few years.

It’s quite clear by now why some of these assumptions seem outdated.

So we’ve set out to redesign education based on some new, modern assumptions:

  1. There’s no one source of truth and knowledge. In the innovation industries, knowledge is created every day by thousands of professionals you can learn from.
  2. You can’t learn once and you can’t learn one thing. Everything changes so quickly you need to constantly acquire new skills and knowledge (and connections!) to stay relevant.
  3. Hands-on practitioners make the best teachers. The best classes are taught by people who show examples from their most current experience, and engage a small group of people into discussion.

And that’s how we came up with the ultimate learning experience:

We'll tell you more about it soon.

Hope to see you on the other side,

Always Be Learning,

So why do so few of us have creative breaks?

Because almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you.

Charles Darwin took long walks around London. Kurt Vonnegut made listening to jazz a daily priority. Fiona Apple disappeared for 6 years after the release of her third album.

So why do so few of us have creative breaks?
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I ask because I can often be found agonising over the "more". If only I posted on Instagram more, I'll think in the bath. I'd have more followers if I pitched to more publications. I need to post 2 more times a week, minimum. I could go on...

Between you and me, I've got frustrated with myself for browsing Facebook or watching too much TV more times than I can remember.

And I'm not alone. So many of us are terrified of taking a break, creatively speaking. We won't let a moment pass without listening to a podcast, consuming an article or sharing something.

The cognitive load is real, y'all.

But like Vitamin D, sleep and good food, it's not only ok to take a break, it's essential.

Living a successful life is also about knowing when not to work. For your best output, you need to focus on your input, too.

The world won't end if you disappear from the internet for a week or so. Your creativity won't suddenly stop. Your time is now, but your time was also then and it will be again.

Your dreams don't have an expiration date.

Many of us confuse being "busy" with being constructive. But you can only do your best work by taking breaks.

And science backs it up, too. The brain requires substantial downtime to do its most innovative thinking. The ideas you have while driving or in the shower aren't coincidental. They're a result of you taking a step back, whether you're aware of it or not.

Here's a challenge for you

Let yourself take a wonderful and indulgent break. Several breaks. Hell, get downright bored.

Put airplane mode on for a while. Sit down. Lie down. Be still. Do nothing. Observe. Listen to your mind. Let it do what it does without judging it.

Wallow in it. Don't be afraid of it. Push it as far as you can.

When you leave your laptop behind, something always happens. A new idea or a fresh perspective appears.

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"A spark of inspiration needs an empty cave."

Take proper breaks, often. Completely clear your mind. Your next best idea depends on it.

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