The spectrum of expertise

When you treat learning as an investment, you want to minimize unnecessary efforts. With the advent of the internet, learning seemingly became a free endeavor. You can learn just about anything online. And this is a great opportunity. However, it doesn’t come without a cost, albeit non monetary.

You have to have an eye for what is and isn’t applicable. And what is and isn’t likely to be factual. What may be missing. What may be unnecessary. What the big picture is. Or what the minor details that matter are. There’s a significant investment of your own mental capacity to extract and acquire the knowledge you desire.

It can actually cost more to learn for free online than it would to just buy a decent book or attend a modest seminar.

Fortunately, there’s a spectrum of expertise available in many learning situations. You just have to remember to take advantage of it to maximize your learning investment.

spectrum of expertise

On one end of the spectrum are opportunities to learn that monetarily cost little to nothing. Things like Twitter, Facebook and browsing the web. LinkedIn, blogs and blogs series progressively provide more potential value at a reduced cost to consume the content. In other words, a blog series is much more likely to align with and present a concise understanding of what you want to learn versus perusing Twitter.

Interviews, podcasts, magazine articles, speeches, presentations, webinars, teleconferences, conferences, videos, books, seminars and workshops take you further up the spectrum of potential value. On the highest end of potential value are coaching, apprenticeship and consulting.

I’m sure you can think of other opportunities. And many of these are interchangeable depending on the situation and who produces the content. But in general, there’s a spectrum of expertise involved that leads to higher potential value. Of course this doesn’t come without a cost.

Depending on the investment you’re making, you should consider this spectrum. Think about what the acquisition costs might be like and what the potential value may be. Weigh this versus the value of your desired investment outcome and figure out where to look on the spectrum of expertise.

Otherwise you’ll find yourself wasting countless hours just looking for content to consume. Hours that if you did the math would cost several factors more than the price of a book.