Experience Transfer is a training company specializing in subjects that are crucial to excel at which, unfortunately are learned but not taught. I do it through books, online courses and seminars. Problem Solving (AKA troubleshooting) is the first subject I am focusing on but have 5-6 more in the wings.
I’m qualified to teach Problem Solving because of 3 things…
- Decades of fixing everything under the sun from problems with software, cars, electronics, coffee makers, desktop calculators, business processes, health concerns, garage door openers, learning and much more .
- A natural ability to take all these separate experiences and to generalize or abstract the common lessons to finding and fixing problems in almost anything and doing so quickly.
- Lots of teaching experience… first as a karate instructor but also as a technology trainer. My key skills here are the ability to take complex things and simplify them for ease of understanding, and then communicate using common language and encourage my students. I strive to understand their perspective and break down their misunderstandings in a positive manner. My students know that I care about their learning.
Ray started off as the son of 2 blue collar parents. Dad worked in an Asbestos factory and mom did retail, assembly and cafeteria work and was a nursing aid. His background was unremarkable and his grades less-so.
Making a hot dog electrocution device for Cub Scouts sparked an interest in “technology”. Coming from a blue collar background had Ray using tools at an early age. first as a fetcher and later as someone tinkering with cars, electronics and other “things”.
Lots of mistakes on things (read breaking) taught him about the limitations of materials and how to reassemble things.
This slow, self education and years of discovery taught Ray about fixing things and doing it efficiently.
Over time he was drawn to electronics and eventually graduated 2-year college with a degree in electronics technology. He landed his first technical job for RCA working in a computer chips design group as an electronics technician by answering an interview question wrong in theory but right in practice… a foreshadowing of things to come.
Ray learned how to program computers at RCA but after a few years realized he needed more, so he returned to school in order to get a bachelors degree.
After college, he moved solidly into software and left electronics in his background.
As a late teen he began studying Karate having been the 98 pound weakling. Within 6 months, he was teaching “first nighters” the basics of Karate and his teaching career was off and running. Wind forward 12 years and Ray’s instructor offered Ray to buy the school .
So Ray had this dual life, a technical guy during the day and a Karate teacher in the evenings and on Saturdays.
In software, Ray was creating and troubleshooting computer programs for both small and major companies in vastly different industries, learning new languages and sub fields of computing like databases and networking. Software is a serious learning career and things you made a living at 5 years ago, you can’t find a job in today, so Ray got really efficient at learning and now sees learning anything as a problem to be solved.
Through Karate, he had to learn how to explain things to people of all ages and education. This brought on a necessity of using different sets of vocabulary and level of detail depending on who he was teaching. Imagine explaining a more complicated set of moves to a 5 year old vs. a 25 year old, college educated guy.
His deep experience as a Karate teacher led to his later career shift of becoming a technical trainer.
This cross-background teaching served him well in teaching technology, first teaching Webmaster Fundamentals and later in Reporting Software.
It was through technical training that Ray realized the value of his background. Frequently, he was sent in to save failing classes. Frankly, the classes were failing due to bad teachers. Quite literally paying students had organized and approached management indicating they wanted refunds. Ray was sent into this circumstance several different times and within an hour had turned around the revolt and got these tortured souls back from the edge and gave them the skills they were looking for in order to change their lives. Serious stuff right?
Frequently, Ray would be approached by students thanking him for his teachings. Compliments which deeply touched him came in monthly and his evaluations were almost always 4’s and 5’s.
So the last piece is in what to teach. Face it, there are thousands and millions of individual things that need to be fixed. Every hour of every day we are solving problems big and small. Some so unconscious that you do not even realize you are fixing them.
It is very inefficient to learn specifics of fixing lots of different things, you quickly will overload your memory and still leave you high and dry when something new comes along. The better move is to learn a general set of rules and procedures and then to transform and apply them to new circumstances, That is worth memorizing and deeply ingraining.
Learn one thing well and apply it.
Kind of like carrying a Swiss army knife rather than boxes of tools. Armed with knowledge of how to fix or improve nearly anything is much better than a portfolio of how to fix 1,000 things.
Amazingly, the very thing we do every hour of every day is rarely taught in a generalized way. Instead we slowly learn it, or, some just keep learning specific solutions to specific problems and are left to either pay someone else to fix things, just buy a new one wasting money, or tolerate broken things they do no know how fix.
Problem Solving skills should be taught at an early age and continuously be evolved throughout our educations. Starting in Kindergarten. Every adult should be a master at solving problems.
Knowing problem solving brings value to every life regardless of educational background, economic status, culture etc. It is coveted by businesses enhancing job opportuntites, better education, higher income, saves money, and sometimes, saves lives.