We’ll be sharing the top tips to build a learning curriculum at work to get ahead of the curve, learn more stand out.

When I landed my first internship, I felt very accomplished.

I had gotten into my dream company – I thought I was set.

Little did I know, the real challenge had only just begun.

In my first week I started hearing all this jargon like “product-market fit”, “churn” and “PRs”. I thought PR stood for public relations, but apparently, it means pull request. WTF.

I was way out of my depth.

I realised work was an entirely different battleground from school and that I was going to have to learn so many things on the job.

The fact is, in any job you’ll need to be CONSTANTLY learning to stay in and ahead of the curve.

Not only that, 87% of people learning for professional development report benefits like getting higher pay, promotions or advancing their career.

In other words, (using my best Tai Lopez voice) knowledge is power.

So I started researching the random jargon that would appear while I was working, but couldn’t keep track of it all.

It was too hard to keep up with the new information and perform tasks I was expected to do.

That is until my manager, told me to literally structure out everything I was learning. Like school.

I can hear the groans already, (I myself was reluctant) but it worked. I built my own learning curriculum at work which:

  1. Helped me adjust to the working environment
  2. Made me excel and get offered a full-time role

Even now I try to learn something new about product management to bring more to the table at work and stand out.

So below we’re going to unveil the steps to build a learning curriculum at work and level up your knowledge to accelerate your career!

Step 1: Figure out what you don’t know

People generally have 3 bodies of knowledge:

  • What you know
  • What you know you don’t know
  • What you don’t know you don’t know

And as brilliantly said by Aristotle, “the more you know, the more you know you don’t know”.

The problem with learning new complex topics is that most people either:

1. Find the strange jargon and lack of context to be daunting and stop altogether or

2. We spend so much time discovering what we don’t know we don’t know such that it feels like we aren’t getting anywhere

To solve that, if we take a step back and figure out what is it that we don’t know that could be important to our work or any future careers we can solve the two above issues altogether.

If you’re interested in learning product management for example, we can start by brain dumping a list of topics that are thrown around a lot or seem relevant.

Step 2: Find watering holes of knowledge

The fact is that if you’re trying to improve your skills and knowledge at work, the things you’ll need to learn are all available on the internet.

Whether that be courses, training programs or people – it’s all there. To get ahead of the curve though, seek the highest quality resources.

Most industries tend to have certain resources, blogs/newsletters and influencers that most people rave about.

For example: If you’re interested in product management…

You should subscribe to Lenny’s Newsletter, follow Shreyas Doshi on Twitter and complete a course by Reforge.

There are plenty of subject matter experts in your field with knowledge, resources and information to power up your knowledge and work. And some of these things can be found on easy to access platforms like Discord or Twitter.

By digesting this kind of content you get to open your eyes to not only what’s out there, but also the highest quality stuff out there.

Find these resources.

Once you’ve found new, interesting ideas that might be relevant to you, add them to your list.

Step 3: Put it all together

Once you’ve investigated what’s out there, now it’s time to build your curriculum so that you can do focused study on different concepts in your job, field or future career.

Think of this as an opportunity to literally build a curriculum like school.

What are the umbrella topics and the sub points that are necessary to learn?

By this point you might have random concepts written down from the first step we mentioned in this process.

See how you can group topics together and create a plan to deep dive and learn something new every week. See if you can craft a curriculum to follow for 8 weeks.

Here’s an example structure we’ve created. You can access the sample curriculum doc here:

The point is to create as much structure so that you feel like you’re constantly learning, applying yourself and getting ahead.

If there is someone in at your workplace or someone that you know working on a project that you want to learn more about, set up a fortnightly sync with them. You could even treat these as “tutorials” where in-between the catchups you learn and absorb as much as you can about that project or subject and use those sessions to ask good questions.

Your education doesn’t end at school. Which can be a drag for some, but the most exciting part about now is that now you get to build your own curriculum.

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Hannah Ahn

Hannah leads the Brand & Marketing at Next Chapter. Previously she worked as a Product Manager at Canva and is currently building in public on building up to $1M in ARR.