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Bridging The Gap Between Academic And Industry



  November 09, 2021

Learning is a lifelong journey. Yet, many of us still think learning happens only through academic training. Although formal education is still an important part of the journey, learning goes beyond the comfort of school and university. 


Regardless of your career industry and educational background, here’s the reality that most people face: what we learn at school and university doesn’t necessarily prepare us for the corporate world. 


Don’t get us wrong, completing the education is always important. We still gain many important and fundamental knowledge, skills, and connections required to get ahead. However, because the world is constantly changing, we also need to constantly update the knowledge and skills we have.


Here are five steps to bridging the gap between academic learning and work in the business landscape. 


#1 Understand Your Strengths & Weaknesses


First, do some self-reflection and define what you already know and are good at. Understanding yourself and all your strengths, weaknesses, motivations and interests means understanding what you can do well at work and what else you can work on to improve.


#2 Research Latest Skills In Demand


With your strengths and weaknesses in mind, we move to the second step: research the general skills in the business landscape and the specific skills of the industry you’re in. The skills in demand change often and no matter how long you’ve been part of the workforce, they will continue to change.


The skills needed can vary from general qualities such as leading to more technical and industry-related skills like coding. Today, artificial intelligence and automation are taking away a lot of monotonous tasks and jobs. Therefore, the gap in skills can be filled with enhanced capabilities to apply human emotion, intuition, and understanding toward better customer service, for example. 


#3 Check What Is Missing


Third, check for the overlap between what you already know and are good at and what is required in the business landscape. This allows you to see the gap. What current knowledge and skills do we have that are still relevant today? What is irrelevant? What are we missing?


Of course, at the end of the day, we cannot know everything. But this is the beauty of learning – there is no limit to it and we can continue to learn as much as we desire so that we can know more and add value to our skillset. 


#4 Define Your Learning Goals


To keep track, define the goals you need to achieve to fill the gap you’ve identified. However, keep in mind that we cannot fill the gap completely. Our world changes fast and before you know it, the skill demand has changed. 


To make sure you’re not wasting your time, stay agile and be ready to adapt to changes. Define your goals and what you want to achieve with learning so that you know whether or not you’re on track, but at the same time, keep it flexible and constantly loop back to steps 1 to 3. 


#5 Explore More Learning Styles


If you’re a student, try expanding your learning beyond the classroom. If you’re already part of the workforce, expand beyond the training that your organization provides. 


Regardless at school or out of school, a one-size-fits-all approach has never worked. Whether it’s in leadership or learning, there is no such thing as a single best way to lead or learn. 


So if there is no one best way, a great approach to learning is to mix and match different learning styles. This blended learning uses different learning styles such as online courses and classrooms to match your needs and provide the most effective ways of learning. 


In A Nutshell


Our world is changing faster than we can ever realize; therefore, we must constantly learn to catch up. So, let’s loop back to steps 1 or 2 constantly. 


All in all, bridging the gap between learning at school and university and skill demand in the real-world business landscape is a constant journey. Once you feel that you’ve bridged the gap, new challenges will always come up. The only way for you to get close to bridging the gap is to learn continuously. 


Do not blame the school and university when you think there’s a mismatch of skillset between what you’ve learned at school and what the current business landscape needs. Let’s take initiative to fill up the gap and prepare ourselves for more challenges and opportunities! 


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