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Why and How to Develop a Skills Learning Plan
Lesson on developing a Skills Learning Plan. And suggestions on what factors you need to consider in developing your Skills Learning Plan. (Updated Jan 26, 2023)

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ASC Staff

First Published

January 2, 2017

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Learning Blockchain

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Develop a Skills Learning Plan

In order to optimize your valuable time, you need to develop a Skills Learning Plan.  You need to “filter and focus” your learning on the most important skills.

There are many ways to decide where to spend your learning capital.  

You need to decide the following:

  • Skills that I should definitely learn – Usually job-related Skills like Java or welding or auto repair or accounting. Also includes personal skills like balancing a checkbook, buying a house, reading, writing, “critical thinking,” and politeness.
  • Skills that I should only partially learn – These are skills like creativity, empathy, perceptiveness, assertiveness, or minor technical skills, like maintaining your car, computer, or appliances.
  • Skills that I already know – These are personal skills and career skills.
  • Skills that I definitely don’t need to learn – These are things that I can either pay someone else to do well or things I will never use.

Skills I Should Definitely Learn As Part of a Skills Learning Plan

There are almost an infinite number of skills that I can learn. But only a small subset of skills that I should learn. is a very small subset of that large number that are skills I should learn.

Here are just some of the skills I am trying to learn right now: Java Networking, SQL, iOS Application Programing, WordPress, Photoshop, Lightroom, Landscape Photography, blogging, writing, editing, iBook Author, iTunes Producer, Facebook, Google Analytics, video editing, sound editing.

The thing about all these skills is that I know I can learn these skills to a large extent.  I know that I can learn these skills to the extent that I need to master them in order to achieve my personal goals.  And, I know that I can always improve the skills I already know.

I know there are classes I can take to help me learn these skills,  I know I can learn some of these skills by just doing it and experimenting.  And I know there are some of these skills I can learn from others.

I can tell if a skill is in this group by looking to see if there are there specific and extensive classes to teach the skill.  I also tell the importance of the skill by seeing how many classes there are that teach the skill.  The more important the skill is to the community, the more classes are available.  

Job-Related Skills

Job-Related skills are the skills I need to know only as a part of my job, like Java Networking.  I don’t need to learn Java Networking to achieve my personal life goals.  Job-related skills are often gotten through “On-Job-Training” (OJT).  I did not know about networking until I was hired by GTE and worked at Verizon and took networking classes as part of my job training.

Personal Skills

Personal skills are the skills I would need to thrive, independent of my career choices.  Personal hygiene,  politeness, organization, and basic financial skills are helpful in succeeding today,

Some of the personal skills I’ve learned over the years have included Quicken Personal Financial Management, Auto repair (much of this from my father), cooking, balancing my checkbook, plumbing, gardening, communication, writing, and public speaking.

I am always trying to improve these skills.  For example, last night I cooked Potato Pancakes for the second time.  This was a learning experience.  The more I do things the better I get at it.  So, I am always doing things.

Skills I Can Only Partially Learn as Part of Skills Learning Plan

I know I can learn to be more creative, more perceptive, and more assertive, but I have a basic genetic predisposition that constrains my ability to learn these specific skills.  So I am not going to spend a lot of time trying to improve them.

My running is a great example.  I know that I can learn to run faster, but how much faster could I ever learn to run.   There is no way I could ever learn to run a 4 min mile.  I couldn’t run a 4 min mile when I was 18, there is no way I could learn to do it at 65.

There may be a learning opportunity, to learn to be more creative, perceptive, assertive, or run faster, but there is little benefit to me taking these classes.  I have so many things to learn that I know I can learn, that there is little return on my investment of time to spend learning these things.

I know I want to be creative and perceptive, so, I am always looking to learn to be more creative and perceptive, but I prefer to learn these things simply as I go through life learning the stuff I know I can learn.

Skills that I already know but Should Still Be on Your Personal Learning Plan

There are a whole hosts of skills I already know.  These are skills like accountability, dependability, honesty, faith, empathy.  I learned these skills at a young age and they have not changed.

I might not always exhibit the skill, but I know how to do it.  And I know I should do them as often and as well as possible.  I don’t have to learn this.  I already know it.

Take empathy and dependability for example, I know I need to have empathy in order to improve my communication.  And I know I need to be dependable in order to build trust.  I don’t have to learn this.  I already know it.

Skills that I will never need to learn.

There are many skills that I don’t need to ever learn.  For example, I don’t ever need to learn how to create leaded glass windows, or I don’t ever need to learn brain surgery.