Myth-busting: I DO know what I don’t know!
Throughout the last five years or so, I’ve had countless people in the learning design field say to me “people don’t know what they don’t know.” Ah yes, we all nod and say how insightful that is and we treat it as a very good reason to go forward and design something to help them figure out what they don’t know. By doing this, we assume that a designer (subject-matter expert or not) can somehow break every task into bite-sized parts, ensure they flow in a correct order and have the learner memorize them and execute them flawlessly after some practice.
This morning, I find myself calling shenanigans on that. Name me any topic and I will tell you if I do or do not know something about it. If you had asked me two years ago if I knew anything about moocs like #change11, I would have said “nope, I don’t know what a mooc is”. Ask me today if I understand what heutagogy is and I’ll say “I’m not sure, the definition never sticks in my head.” Better yet, I’ll probably say “I don’t know what that is but I can find out” and off I run to Google or someone in my personal learning network to start exploring.
Now, I recognize that I score pretty highly on the self-directed learning spectrum and that I have an ever-lowering tolerance for people telling me what I ‘have’ to learn and how to learn it. My point is this: I think people know damn well what they do and don’t know and they come to the table with some ability to figure things out or they wouldn’t have gotten this far in life already. Who am I to suggest otherwise?
Where I do see my value as a ‘designer’ is to ask the right questions about where the person is coming from, encourage them to access tools they already have and offer suggestions of other approaches they *might* take if they find them relevant, attractive or practical. In other words, people already have a menu in my mind. My job is to help them locate the buffet.
What do you think?
From → Smarter worker