The Fourth R of Learning

We’ve all heard of the three ‘R’s of Learning: Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic.

These were all pretty important way back in school. They are essential literacy skills. Without them most of us would be lost – if not unemployed.

A lot of people are now talking about ‘coding’ as the next essential skill.

I’m not so sure about this.

Yes, it could be useful as a thinking skill. But design thinking is equally if not more important.

Plus, do you remember our conversation about strengths? Not everyone should be a coder in life.

And more importantly, machine learning (AI) is likely to take over more and more of this skill anyway.

Instead, I propose another ‘R’ as the fourth essential learning skill.

It’s ‘R’ for ‘Reflection’. It’s the fast, free, easy, take anywhere skill that everyone can do right now.

It’s stopping and thinking back about what just happened. Was I skillful? Or unskillful? And how would I act next time?

I think it’s essential because it is the key to learning from what we do well or badly. It can mean the difference between being a jerk one day and enlightened the next.

Making mistakes is human; learning from them is leadership.

(Ironically, in the age of AI, the algorithm of reflective practice is precisely why machine learning is getting smarter.)

Do you have a personal reflection practice? When and what do you do? Hit reply and let me know.

PS: Reflective Practice is core to authentic leadership and will be a focus in the upcoming Effective Facilitation Skills workshop.