Turn Knowledge Into Action

Turn Knowledge Into Action

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso

We could start the year off with a lecture that includes “do this” and “do that”, but we are pretty sure you already know what you need to do in the next 5 months. You will prepare for your new classes, current job, future job, or a summer internship. All great things to think about now and have on your list of Spring Semester “to dos”. One item that usually doesn’t make it onto the ‘to-do’ list is “How will I turn my knowledge into Action”? 

Let me share why this item is probably one of the most important items you should have on that list!

In the article, Put it Into Practice: 14 Actionable Ways to Implement Your Learning (Forbes, 2018) the Forbes Coaches Council state,

“…there’s a big difference between absorbing information and putting what you’ve learned into practice. Without doing the latter, the training you’ve received will go to waste” ((https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/01/16/put-it-into-practice-14-actionable-ways-to-implement-your-learning/#605ff45c65ed).

This is a very true statement and the reason “How will I turn my knowledge into action?” should be on everyone’s ‘to-do’ list.

In the article “Seniors Think What They’ve Learned Will Help Them Do Their Jobs. Do Employers Agree?” (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2018), most seniors (93%) said that their learning was directly linked to their career path. It is great news to believe that what you are learning will actually benefit you in the future. 

But, there is more than just one percentage that is listed. Take a look.

  • 93% of seniors believe their knowledge prepares them for their future career
  • 59% of seniors believe they can apply this knowledge to real-world settings
  • Less than 25% of employers feel that college graduates are well prepared to apply their knowledge to real-world settings

Clearly there are different opinions about your ability to apply your knowledge.

So, where do you go from here and what do you do to better prepare yourself?

First, you need to understand what the phrase ‘turning knowledge into action means’.  Second, you need to add weekly items to your ‘to-do’ lists that help you gain real-life experience.

Turning Knowledge into Action – Events and Opportunities

Turning your knowledge into action means taking what you have learned in your classes, through readings and experiences and showing the ability to apply it to a situation, problem, experience, or event. There are a number of avenues for you to do this.

First, take a look at the Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence (MN STATE IT COE) College Website. Here you will find Challenge Events, Camps, Online Module Learning, and other opportunities aimed at helping you put your knowledge into action.


CCDC – Collegiate Cyber Defense Challenge – National College Cyber Defense Challenge where you are part of an 8 member team working to protect a business network from Red Team Hackers. This year’s competition is on February 9, 2019 at Alexandria Technical and Community College and there are 10 teams from across the State of Minnesota competing. If you are already part of a team GREAT, if not, connect with your IT Chair or Faculty member about getting involved.

Data Derby – This event has 2 challenges for you to work on in groups of 2-4 students. This is an open event and will challenge you to create stories out of data. MN STATE IT COE holds these challenges starting in February with event date scheduled for April 13, 2019. This is a great way to take classroom knowledge and apply it to real-world problems.

Career Readiness – We are currently developing a number of career readiness modules that will be available in 2019 to help you apply your career and soft skills to real work experiences. We are excited to have them available to all faculty and students.

MUDAC, Data Bootcamp, CSi Bootcamp and more! By staying in touch with us through our IT Connect Community portal, you will hear about all the great events aimed at helping you put your knowledge into action! Sign up for FREE Today!

Turning Knowledge into Action – Personal Conviction

You don’t need to wait for others to provide you with opportunities to start your ACTION ‘to-do’ list! You have the ability right now to create your very own Knowledge to Action Plan! Here are a few suggestions.

Action Planning

  1. Share Your Knowledge – Do you know that when you share your knowledge with someone you gain better insight into your understanding of the topic? Tell someone else what you have learned.

Start by sharing your knowledge with someone who may or may not know anything about the topic. Try it both ways. There will be times in the real world when you talk with someone who actually understands everything about what you are saying. There will also be times when a person or group have no clue about what you are talking about. Take note at how you handle each type of situation, but do both!

  1. Create an Action Journal – If you are someone who likes to see and read things, start an Action Journal. An Action Journal should have a topic listed at the top and a lot of room for you to explore how you can use the knowledge, apply the knowledge, think of questions about your understanding, research other ideas or research on the topic, and write it down. This becomes your own person record of learning. This will be useful as you begin to apply for positions and look for matching skill needs and abilities.
  2. Create Mini Mind Maps – If you are a visual learner or just have fun creating meaning from pictures, create a Mini Mind Map Journal – Put your learning topic in the middle and create branches of understanding and application from your topic. See any missing gaps in your Action or Experiences? Find ways to solve for them!

Example of Mind Map

  1. Incorporate your ideas into your daily routine – If you are studying data start using formulas, storytelling techniques, visual aids, and other data tools to apply the learning to what data can and should be used for! Tell your personal story through your personal data. Make it fun and be creative!
  2. Find groups or events that can challenge your knowledge. MN State Events, Study Groups, Campus Student Clubs, and professional organizations are all here to help you put your knowledge into action. These groups and events allow you to learn from others, teach others, and practice in a safe environment. Take advantage of them.

So, here is to your 2019 ‘to-do’ list! May it include weekly tasks of turning your knowledge into meaningful and purposeful action!


Forbes Coaches Council (2018).

Forbes Human Resources Council (2018).