Doing and learning: from uncertain and incomplete to certain and complete

This rough sketch shows my idea about how learning and doing exist together as a piece of work moves from being uncertain and incomplete to certain and complete.

Sketch showing routes routes for work moving from uncertain and incomplete to certain and complete

We more usually just think of a piece of work as either incomplete, in progress or complete, which on this diagram would show it moving along the horizontal axis. But if we consider learning as equally important as doing work, then completing work without learning is sub-optimal.

So, a task starts in the bottom left as incomplete and uncertain. We may or may not know what the work will entail and may of may not know what we will or need to learn to do the work or from completing it. If we aren’t learning very much then the task follows the concave red line. It is completed but there is still uncertainty about it. For work where there is lots of opportunity to learn as well as complete the work, the task needs to follow a convex green line where learning more learning than progress takes place at first.

Thinking about work as being equally about learning as completing tasks changes the ways we might approach work.