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Do you know you have 4 types of learning need?

method mindset Nov 25, 2020

I started working in higher and further education in 2003.  While we tend to think of building our skills and knowledge when it comes to investing time and money in learning opportunities.  My observations of adult learners over the time since, and particularly this year, have led me to identify at least 4 different types of learning need or stretch area.

In terms of professional development, the ‘gap’ we need to fill will generally fall into one of the following categories:

  • skills and knowledge
  • confidence and belief
  • perspective
  • reassurance

Evolving needs that change over time

As you develop through your tourism career and business, you will more readily outsource skills and knowledge that you don’t have to an expert in the area.  However, as your develop through your career and business, the need to work on your personal confidence, belief and perspective grows. The need for reassurance and emotional support are a constant, and have been a particular feature of our 2020 journey.

It’s really important to figure out what your gap or stretch is at a point in time. This is because different types of support will meet different stretch needs.  This article shares some thoughts and my own experiences in what works for the different need types.

  1. Skills and Knowledge

If I need skills and knowledge, the first place I will look is a book.  It’s definitely the most accessible and cost-effective way to expand your knowledge and there are books on literally every topic you can imagine. If I want expertise, I will join a training course with access to an expert trainer. Increasingly, I’ve observed that, when it’s pure skills and knowledge that I need, good quality online training is ideal for me.  This is because it is literally on-demand at the time I need it and is the  most efficient in terms of time input from me.

  1. Confidence and Belief

If it’s confidence and belief that’s in short supply, I’ve never managed to gain them from a book.  Building up stores of confidence and belief has come through journaling, working with a coach or being part of a group learning or knowledge-sharing environment.  Interestingly, I find being inspired by others on a similar journey to me, who are creating their own breakthroughs, is the biggest fountain of confidence and belief for myself.  For example, I wanted to invest time developing my leadership skills this Autumn and I’ve found a six month group programme, based on journeying together through four Celtic seasons and drawing on current leading thinking in leadership systems, that I’m very excited about.  It’s called The Celtic Leader and I’ll let you know how that goes.

  1. Perspective

It’s the same for me when it comes to perspective – again, not something I’ve found in a book or in formal skills training.  It’s perhaps the most challenging of needs to identify and also address.  Until our perspective is challenged, usually by somebody else, we can stay unwittingly ‘stuck’.  Since qualifying as a professional coach myself, I also work with a coach myself on an ongoing basis, somebody with whom I can step out of the normal busyness and just reflect.  Through having that listening and thinking partner, I get to work out far more things and learn more about myself and my ambitions than I ever could alone.  That’s literally priceless.  The other powerful support for me regarding perspective is being part of a Peer Mastermind whose members engage meaningfully with each other, challenge and support each other and hold each other to account in some way.

4. Reassurance

We all need good cheerleaders! We need people who reassure us that we’re doing a good job, making a difference, on the right track – all those good clichés.  By good cheerleaders, I don’t mean unquestioningly positive supporters, rather people who genuinely want you to succeed and who will be honest with you in their support.  This is where peer networks and, in our case, tourism business networks can play a really significant part in your professional development journey.


Learnings from 2020

This year, the Recovery Room Huddle has really highlighted to me and those who take part the value in having a group of people to lean into who are both similar and different to oneself to help with those 3 key areas of confidence & belief, perspective and reassurance.

 In fact, my own observations and feedback from businesses who took part, have led to us setting up The Better Tourism Business Network and the Better Tourism Business School this year.

The Better Tourism Business School

The School offer tourism business courses and training online that teach defined subject areas, with access to experts who can support the learning journey. 

The Better Tourism Business Network

The Network, on the other hand, promises an enterprising community and a support framework that provides really valuable help in the areas of building reassurance, confidence, belief and perspective – with some great skills and knowledge tools mixed in as well. 

If membership of The Better Tourism Business Network is something that might be of interest to you, there’s a special offer right now to get 30 days free membership.  January is not that far away and we will be heading into a changed world together. If you’re thinking about how you will resource yourself for 2021, then membership of this tourism business network may be something to consider.   You can find out the details here.


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