Many jobs require people to have domain-specific knowledge. They can become more effective gaining more such knowledge and domain-specific skills. So if you want to become a better carpenter you need more training and experience as a carpenter. It is possible that a person would be so focused on developing as a carpenter that he could stop doing anything not related to his main job. For example a highly trained carpenter would forget how to cook food so he would only go to restaurants, he would also forget how to clean so he would hire cleaning services.
There is also another approach, that in a rapid-changing world we are living we need more knowledge from different areas to understand what is happening around us. A person following this approach wouldn’t narrow his knowledge, instead he would expand knowledge and skills in different areas. But wouldn’t his knowledge in all areas become too shallow? So it couldn’t make a person a jack-of-all-trade, but who actually can’t do anything?
We can combine these two approaches into something called T-shaped skills and knowledge. Here the horizontal bar represents some baseline or general knowledge while the vertical bar represents some deeper domain-specific knowledge. But would one deep specialization be enough, even in one area of knowledge? Maybe we should use letter “m” metaphor or compare a set of skills to a tree or even to a forest of trees? In other words how many zones of deep knowledge should a person have and how deep should they be?
This question may look too complex for some people but it can be divided into several problems and analyzed step by step. First of all a person needs to understand his long-term and middle-term goals. With this understanding he can start analyzing what kind of knowledge he needs to achieve these goals. Fortunately, one doesn’t need to solve problems like this every day, personal education plan can be created once a year and amended several times a year.
At the same time expanding knowledge in different areas has some issues which may be hard to solve. One of these issues is knowledge and skills transfer: often something can be transferred from one area to another, but not many people know how to do that efficiently. Also you probably wouldn’t find any courses teaching how to transfer knowledge and skills. And note that usually knowledge transfer means teaching and coaching, not learning how to apply knowledge from one area in another area.
But many people have to transfer knowledge not from one area to another one, but from a classroom to a work environment. And not all courses have a working solution how to arrange this transfer. I can imagine that this problem is related to differences between a learning environment and a working one. People can miss cues which remind them of skills and knowledge they have. It is possible that each situation like this needs its own solutions. In the same time metacognition tools could probably help. Different areas can be compared for similarities and differences, then some rules and guidelines can be created to facilitate a transfer. People can also look for cues transfer as a process of changing and expanding habits, then use mindfulness to spot new cues and act on them. As a result the knowledge transfer can save some time during education despite being a complex and time-consuming process on its own.