Fewer jam options will make you happier…

Rich Ward Jul 31, 2018

12 months of working in the corporate learning and development industry and there’s a lot of noise.

Consistent feedback is that professionals don’t know what to learn and don’t believe they have the time, so self improvement stalls. This sent me down a research path about what’s happening to today’s knowledge worker and Barry Schwartz’s work on ‘The Paradox of Choice’ offered so many answers. At its extreme end, an abundance of choice (in life) has been proven to lead to depression and loneliness. If you like this thinking, you can take it a step further here with the concept of ‘Voluntary Simplicity’.

Back to the learning industry, and like any industry, there’s trends. Microlearning struck me as being heavily catered to. People’s attention spans are apparently shrinking. Urban myth will tell you we have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. Jason Miller will tell you otherwise here. I’m not convinced we should overly cater to professionals being ‘busy’ - this will never change. Instead, we should focus on helping professionals build a learning habit, make good learning choices, and enjoy learning. Like the gym, you only really get the benefits if you go on a regular basis.
“Learning is a lot like exercise - you're always burning calories but doing a weights session burns a lot more” .... by my boss!

A study by Sheena Lyengar of Columbia University and Mark Lepper of Stanford University found that when participants were faced with a smaller rather than larger array of jam, they were actually more satisfied with the taste. Here’s the TED summaries page in case you’re short on time.

A few weeks back I was asked, “What is the number one challenge your clients face?” I simply answered “Time”. The primary explanation for why professionals are not developing their skills further.
It felt right. It still feels credible. But maybe it’s choice. What do you think?

Find other articles like this
This post is part of a series that my colleagues and I at Filtered are working on. It’s broadly about how recommendations help us to make sense of all the content clutter, especially in learning. Have a look at our other posts here.
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