The 5 "W" Questions; if you cannot answer them, forget learning new skills
Noah Olatoye

Noah Olatoye


The 5 "W" Questions; if you cannot answer them, forget learning new skills

The main reason I wrote this post is to help you start a purposeful and fun learning journey. The one that you can be proud of come rain come shine. If you can not finish it at a go, you can bookmark it and refer to it anytime.

The WHY, WHAT, WISH, WHERE and WINDOW questions! If you answer correctly, you will never be depressed in your learning process. I call them the 5WQs.

For easy navigation to any of the sections, use the links below. 


The Introduction

No one ever learns something new just like that; there is always a price to pay to learn a new skill (professional, digital or artisan). 

Let us be realistic; we are all learners. We learn every day. Do you still recall when you first got your smartphone? Hmm! I did remember when I first got mine. The night of the day I bought, I could not sleep. I stayed up all night to get a better understanding of how it works. 

Then, a 3G internet connection was a big deal. The internet service provider could conveniently deliver 2G; thus, I had to stay outside on top of a fence to get a 3G connection. Imagine the price I paid to learn how to operate the phone. 

The same thing is expected when trying to learn new skills. Sometimes, you will be required to stay up at night, forgo your money for some pieces of training, attend some free seminars, Etc. All these investments are not wasted if you can answer the five questions discussed in this post. 

Practically, it takes commitment, patience and curiosity (which I call CPC) to succeed when learning something new. 

Below, I have listed five questions that will help you take the right steps so you will not waste time on irrelevant things. It is a long read, all I will say to you is that it will be worth your time. 

1. The Why Question; why learn new skills (the big picture)

For me, I think this is the most critical question you should provide answers to if you want to break barriers. You have to be serious with your WHY answers. It easy to give free and straightforward answers like, I want a better job, I want to be relevant, I want the skills because it is trendy. 

Wait a minute! If these are the reason behind you wanting to learn new skills, you better STOP RIGHT THERE! Haven't you done your research about people who already have the skills and still complaining of not getting what they deserve? (we will talk about research in the next sections). 

The primary issue with this straightforward answer is that it is too broad; you need a more specific answer to not end up like people who get frustrated a few years after their new jobs. 

If you ask me, "how can I be more specific?", I will say to you, focus on the problem around your community. The best way to answer is when you know the problem people face in your community that you can fix with the new skills. 

For instance, let us say you want to learn data science, what are challenges in your community that data science can solve? Whom are the people trying to solve the problem and what have they done? are there areas they are missing that needs improvement? 

I am not saying you must have all the answers now. What I am saying is, tie your WHY answer to something big. Having this in mind will shape the way you learn and how you search for answers. 

2. The What Question; what skills can I learn

Let us be realistic; every skill matters! Some skills are more promising than others based on the level of research done by the people involved. It is research that brings innovation to any industry. 

Depending on your "why" answers, any skills needed to achieve your why answers will be worth your time and resources. 

Another question to ask at this stage is, "what should I learn to remain relevant?" 

Technology is advancing daily; some companies emerge, and some companies are left behind, making it very tricky to choose what skill to learn. While things like this worth thinking about, there are great benefits in learning new skills. 

The same way some companies emerge and some collapse, skills and specialisations are not immune to this trend. It is better to go for skills that will remain relevant for years to come. 

Below is the list of skills that worth your consideration. 

  • Digital literacy; use and create text, images, audio and designs using technology
  • Public Speaking
  • Self-Management
  • Web Development
  • Graphics Design
  • Digital Media Production
  • Data Science 
  • Musical Instrument
  • Business Ideology
  • Digital Marketing


If you are interested in a digital career, check out Choosing from the pool of Digital Career.

Remember, you are learning to solve problems. Your choice should tally with the problems you want to solve as you progress in the learning curve. Learn what will help you in achieving you why question. 


3. The Wish Question; measurable goals

Most people will not tell you this. When talking about learning new skills, your motivation comes from within. You own it, and if you let it slip away, your learning process will be a tough one, which I refer to the DARK ZONE. 

The learning goal is the backbone of every successful learning process. It will encourage and facilitate you to stay on course. 

Setting a learning goal is not an easy task, but having a clear understanding of what kind of goal you want at the end of each learning gives you many advantages and spirated motivation. 

There are many types and layers of learning goals; we will be focusing on the significant pillars in this post. 

Short-term goals

For me, I do not joke with short-term goals at all. They help me show a quick and immediate result. Most times, I do not need anyone to acknowledge my effort. Seeing these mini-goals come through makes me feel much better. 

The outcome might not look like that of a professional, but still, it is a sign that I am getting there. 

Imagine setting out a goal to read a blog post every week and share what you learn with your audience at the end of each week.  Looking at it from the beginning, it might look insignificant. However, when you begin to look at the impact, in the long run, four (4) reviews each month, forty-eight (48) reviews in a year, two hundred and forty (240) reviews in 5 years. You see what I am saying. There is no doubt that the internet will recognise you. Furthermore, when it does, the whole world will celebrate your effort. You will be able to explore opportunities that were not there before. 

Long-term goals 

Unlike the short-term goals, this is more complex because you are setting your eyes long. Long enough to see the impossible being possible. The long-term goals involve several steps—the ability to make sure that you stay on track. 

Realistically, learning comes with many distractions. Either from your family, employer, friends and most especially, social media. There is always some form of distractions trying hard to get you off the track. Please do not get me wrong; I am not saying they are bad people or platforms, what I am saying that most of these associations come with a distraction that if you do not manage them well, they will affect your long-term goals. 

Example of long-term goals; in 5 years, I want to publish two hundred and forty (240) blog posts. 

Please, when creating your goals (short or long), please make sure it is quantifiable. In every instance, make sure it is measurable. Tieing it to a number will make it easy to track success. 

Work-ethic goals

If you do not take your work ethic seriously, do not even bother, because your success is not guaranteed. The statement might sound harsh, but it is the truth. It takes a strong work ethic to be successful. If you want opportunities to find you out from your community and the world at large, you need to put in the hard work. 

The difference between an average man and a wealthy man is how they value time. Cancel lateness from your mind, if you need to be at a meeting by 4 pm, make sure you are seated at the venue by 4 pm. Mainly because, if you delay any of your schedules, it will affect the subsequent ones. 

So, value your time. Do not make promises you can not keep up. Avoid time-wasting conversations. 

Another way to look at this; focus on your daily goals and check all the boxes. Try to avoid whatever will hinder you from hitting the daily goals. 

If you can discipline your self to this extent, your success is on the way. 


4. The Where Question; self-learning or seek for a platform

Some will say, the best way to learn is through self-learning; at the same time, many will disagree and say the most effective is instructor-based. 

Both groups have a point. Moreover, they say their preferred option because one works for them, and the other did not.

Here is the fact; YOU NEED THE TWO! (instructor-based and self-learning). At some point, you need someone to guide you, and most of the times you need to practice and learn by yourself. 

Without any cost, feel free to chat with us via WhatsApp, our student success team will help you identify where you should focus your strength. 


5. The Window Question; where is the opportunity

While you are focusing on achieving your goals, paying attention to opportunities around is critical. At every stage of your learning process, there are always people in need of the exact value of what you can produce. 

The question to ask; where are the people in need of my current skill level? Do not try to sell your ideas to people that will underestimate you. Sell your ideas and experience to those in need of it. When you do this, you will begin to see the more significant impacts your new skill provides to the people around. 

Using the blog for writing as an example, if you craft out interesting contents regularly, it will not take time to start pulling traffic like an oil well these days.  With the traffic, there is a lot you can do. You can start writing promotional content for brands, assuring them of organic views. You can decide to embed google Ads display on your blog pages to make more money Etc. 


The conclusion to the 5 W Questions (5WQs)

Curiosity while learning is like the fuel used in running an engine. If the fuel finishes, the engine stops running. Keep your curiosity alive, and you will never get bored or discouraged; instead, you will become more successful. 

As much as I tried to cover several aspects of this topic in a single post, it is still challenging considering I had to make it short and concise. You can contact me directly for guidance and career support


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