Sunday, July 10, 2005

Book learning

The Episcopal priest, author, and Zen master Alan Watts convinced me to come to California. Born in England, he kept moving West until there was no further to go. Books like his "This is It" and "Does It Matter?" espoused the holistic, counter-culture philosophy I associated with San Francisco. A gestalt psychologist I knew was jealous of Watts, whose honey-smooth voice sounded like a guru should sound. (His accent told you the gestalt guy was from Brooklyn.) I think the gestalt guy also envied Watts' groupies.

Anyway, in "The Wisdom of Insecurity," Watts writes that he often ended up where he was by starting for somewhere else entirely. That happens to me all the time; in fact, I'll often take off with only the vaguest notion of where I want to end up. Today is July the Fourth. While a lot of instructional design strikes me as either self-evident or dogma, there are some great lessons in there, too, and I wanted to highlight those that apply to informal learning. I poured a glass of white wine, grabbed several volumes from the past, and sat down in a folding chair on our tree-shrouded back deck.
Bill Horton's Designing Web-Based Training (© 2000) was first off the shelf. Noting that he wanted to avoid religious wars, Bill offers:
50,000 Years of Instructional Design in a Nutshell
1. Show them
2. Tell them
3. Let them try it
4. Repeat
If this does not work – or if you want to be part of the latest educational fad – change the order of the steps until you find what works.” (p. 15)

Internet = “open longer hours”
convergence of km, learning, training, information

David Garvin, Learning in Action © 2000. Business performance should be judged by adaptability and flexibility not quarter by quarter. Scouting and reconnaissance are critical because so little is known about what's ahead.
On the tradeoff of talking and listening, no one says “He listens too much.”
Dewey, “All genuine education comes about through experience.” Experience and Education (NY: Collier, 1938) p 25
Mager, What Every Manager Should Know about Training © 1992. Attention, motivation, modeling. PERFORMANCE.
Virtual Learning by Roger Schank. © 1997. p. 7 “Everything that's wrong with training can be stated in just four words: “It's just like school.”

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