Archive for June, 2010

Down But Not Off

June 30th, 2010 | Strategic | 0 Comments

In every experiential learning journey, there is a need for some ‘down time’, as distinct from ‘off time’ because there’s never really an ‘off time’.  Would you be correct in defining sleep as ‘off time’?  You might be surprised what goes on in your head while you sleep.

‘Down time’ is a time to pause, draw breath, reflect and consolidate.  An athlete needs regular recovery sessions and so do experiential learners.  It’s all part of the journey; while ‘down’, you can still make significant progress.  You have to be ‘on’ while learning but you can be ‘down’ and learn as well.

This post represents the end of the first month of ‘tis nobler’s web journey, an appropriate point for some ‘down time’.  Go fullscreen, turn the sound up and enjoy this video:

In closing and on my behalf, I’ve asked The Heavy to pose a very important question, “How You Like Me Now”:

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Ponder, wonder and wander through the first month.  See you tomorrow.

Telling Off

June 29th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

An ambiguous title, don’t you think?  I wonder whether you jumped to the conclusion that this would be a post about criticism.  Even worse than criticism (and that’s bad enough), perhaps you imagined it would be about the traditional method of coercing learning and behavioural change from learners – exhortation.  So much public discourse in these areas can be compressed to the following demanding, destructive sentence:  Do better, you idiot!

No, this is a post about permission.  Not seeking it but giving it.  Not giving it to others but giving it to yourself.  It’s telling to turn telling into something else; it’s not telling off but turning telling off that’s the issue.

There is evidence that suggests that those who make requests of themselves perform better than those who impose requirements on themselves.  The pathways for this outcome aren’t clear; however, just as the external teaching model (You will) fails the experiential learner when imposed by outsiders, it makes sense that the internal teaching model (I will) also fails when it is imposed by the experiential learner.

An internal command – I will – takes the learner to the end without, in Monopoly-speak, passing Go and this a priori expectation of success leads to poorer performance.  An internal request – Will I? – takes the learner through the problem solving process without presupposing success and leads to better performance.  It’s the difference between passive acceptance leading nowhere and active involvement leading somewhere.

This process shouldn’t be confused with a public “I Will” – strategic precommitment – more on that another time.

The choice between internal command and internal request is always present.  While “What To Say” is a lovely song by Daphne Willis about the problems of being tongue-tied – “I’m usually better off when the words stay in my head, anyway” – working out what to say to yourself is as important.

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Will you ask yourself whether you should turn telling off?  Ask, don’t tell.  In your internal conversations, you may not always know what to say but you should always know how to say it!

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Building

June 28th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

Experiential learning: building, making, constructing, creating, forming.

From nothing, something emerges over time and through your mental and physical effort.  It doesn’t just appear because you want it to; it appears because you have built it.  It could be a friendship, a skill, an interest, your life, your world.  Is there a common strategy that ties these things together?

Perhaps you should first focus on the big stuff, the obvious stuff, the initial stuff.  Best to say ‘Hello’ before you propose marriage, although there are always exceptions.  It’s not just some big stuff that’s needed – a strong foundation requires all the big stuff.  If you cut corners at the start, the shortcomings will always be apparent.  Then, a continuous process begins to fill in the details, to refine, to polish, to deepen, to enrich and to improve.  Big stuff is important but it’s what you make it into that is most important and this is determined by your vision, your commitment and your sustained effort.  There isn’t a recipe to follow mindlessly, there is a learning journey to undertake mindfully.

It’s easy to see the many differences between having an acquaintance and having a best friend.  It’s easy to see the many differences between someone who ‘talks the talk’ and someone who ‘walks the walk’ on any sort of social issue.  It’s just as easy to see the many differences between someone who just ‘goes through the motions’ and someone who actively prepares for the demands they encounter.

Even if you build a ‘world’, start with the big stuff and then add all the details.  Do it as well as you can, do it thoroughly, do it with your head, heart and soul.  And do it for the right reasons, the very best of intentions:

When you build something, anything, do it as well as you can and do it to make a difference.  Above all else, remember that you’ll only arrive at any point along the way by finding your own way.  Living in something built by others is like staying in a hotel – occasionally enjoyable but no more than that.  And you are more than that!

Slow Down, It’s Sunday

June 27th, 2010 | Related | 0 Comments

Every Sunday, ’tis nobler presents seven things that you may find inspiring, intriguing and informative.  Enjoy!

Goodonya Don, you’re a bloody legend!

It’s not important whether you choose to do this; what is important is that you choose to do something.

How disrespectful of those soccer players – can you play the vuvuzela tongue-in-cheek?  

It’s just not hot, it’s noisy as well.

The writer who could not read.

As it becomes an industry rather than a vocation, does research lose its way?

Let’s put our little rock in space in perspective by travelling from Earth to the edge of our universe and back in just over six minutes!

Embedded

June 26th, 2010 | Strategic | 0 Comments

The information you need to execute tasks or manage your behaviour is almost always available (and its occasional absence also represents information you can use).  If availability was the sole criterion for success, error would be virtually non-existent.  But there is much more than availability to consider.

You have to learn what information you need at any point in time.  You have to learn where the information you need is at any point in time.  You have to combine bits of information into larger chunks to operate on the basis of the ‘whole’ pattern rather than continually adding up the pieces.  And you have to do so much more.

In the world around you, information can be subtle, variable, interdependent or ambiguous.  If there was a finite, perfectly valid list of instructions to follow and explicit, perfectly reliable information to use, the most important thing to learn would be the instructions.  But this isn’t real life; instruction(s) might have a place but it’s way over there, out of the way, worth an infrequent visit but certainly not worth an extended stay.  It would be really strange if someone else had the instructions you needed to find your own way.

Enjoy watching this beautiful music video – it’s jam-packed with experiential learning and behavioural change metaphors: 

These metaphors, and your understanding of them, aren’t explicitly communicated; rather than simply read them from a list, you must actively derive them.  Therefore, the relationship between information and the learning ‘world’ you inhabit must be the same as that between you and your learning ‘world’ – embedded.

No Rush

June 25th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

In experiential learning, there is a big difference between increasing your speed and rushing, even though both might indicate that you are going faster.  Paradoxically, you speed up by seeming to do less, you speed up by behaving in a more measured way and you speed up by assembling what you need to do in advance of when you need to do it.

But the benefits of this increased speed can all evaporate if you start to rush.  You can increase speed but you can never rush.

When you gain more experience, you are able to increase speed because you become more efficient at doing all the things you need to do.  Much less of your effort is under manual (intentional) control; being more anticipatory, more aware, more responsive, more decisive and more automated are all proven ways to accelerate your performance.  However, we don’t say “Less Haste, More Speed” for nothing.  If you deviate from the self-regulatory systems that guide your increased speed, efficiency and economy are replaced with inefficiency and wasted extra effort.  If you panic, if you ‘choke’, if you start to rush rather than go faster, you might as well say “More Haste, Less Speed, More Errors”.

Control, even if it is highly automated and very efficient, must remain in place to reduce the chance of error.  Even for the most experienced of performers, even for those that most would consider elite, ongoing and unfailing self-management is crucial.  It doesn’t matter if time pressure is activated by the individual or imposed by an outsider; in both circumstances, performance has been clearly shown to suffer.  Failing to take ‘a deep breath before doing’, either literally or figuratively, can lead to failure and massive amounts of experience can’t prevent this.

You have options even when you appear to be enveloped by rushing behaviour, apparently little more than a cork bobbing in the ocean:

Many of the tasks you have learned experientially remain self-paced and under your control.  Timing isn’t necessarily everything; self-timing can be everything as it can determine whether what you are able to do takes priority over the perceived need to rush.  Speed up but never rush!  Rushing means you cut corners, which you cannot do without increasing risk.  Speeding up means you can go around these corners much faster and in complete control, which you’ll be able to do as you gain experience.

And this experience will also alert you to the need to sometimes slow down!

I Am

June 24th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

Depth and complexity are recurring and inescapable themes in experiential learning and behavioural change, although there is little point telling anyone how deep or how complex as these are qualities to be discovered, not heard.  It’s interesting though that the incremental nature of, and extended timeframe for, true experiential learning combine to mask much of this complexity.  Just as they are themselves masked by the experiential process itself – you have to keep reminding yourself that, in the words of David Foster Wallace, “This is water, this is water” (find and read his commencement speech at Kenyon College– it’s worth it).

It’s one of the great challenges in experiential learning – gaining and maintaining an appreciation of depth and complexity.  These qualities are apparently mostly absent but always present in the same way that life skills are apparently mostly innocuous but always potentially challenging.

And so it appears that today is much like yesterday, but it isn’t.  And that tomorrow will be much like today, but it won’t be.  Nothing much seems to happen as you traverse your life skills landscape once you discount the initial period of naiveté, but important things are happening all the time. Is this analogous to you as a person?  Can your learning experiences be reduced to a brief statement in the same way that you can reduce your life to a brief statement?  How would you complete the following sentence, “I am …..”?

Everyone has a story; things are never as they seem to be on the surface.  All experiential learning comprises ‘stories’, which you must delve into to appreciate and incorporate.

So, what is ‘tis nobler’s story?  I am still trying to find my own way, while encouraging you to find your own way too.

Rater Or Rating?

June 23rd, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

I think I am special.  You think you are special.

I think you are special.  You think I am special.

We think he is special.  We think she is special.

However, neither you nor I think that they are special.  What’s going on here?

Disagreements and mismatches abound.  Within a person, these sorts of conflicts can be called dissonance.  Between people, these clashes might be referred to as miscalibration (or the self-serving bias).  Traditionally, miscalibration has been seen as a personal bias – I am better than my peers, I am more skilled than ‘they’ are.  When I compare myself to a group, I always win.  When you compare yourself to a group, you win.  When each member of the group compares themselves to the rest, the individual usually comes out in front.  On average, we are all above-average.

However, it may be that this effect doesn’t reflect the bias of the rater towards themselves; rather, it reflects a bias towards individuals at the expense of the group.  So, it’s not that I think I am better, it’s that I think groups are worse.  Even when I am part of the group being compared to another individual (and could be expected to favour the group), the individual is rated more highly.  The relative power conferred on individuals and groups, to the benefit of the former, is illustrated well in this video:

It’s wrong to leap to the conclusion that miscalibration is rooted in overconfidence and inflated perceptions of ability.  It might be more accurate to conceive of miscalibration as the ‘relative power of (any) one and the relative weakness of several others’.  This has significant implications for experiential learning, summarised by this interaction between Brian and the crowd:

You are all different.  Yes, we are all different.  I’m not!

Robust: Of > Makes

June 22nd, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

In experiential learning, all of your efforts at the start are usually directed at getting somewhere, for where you start from is Inexperience City, a place in which nobody wants to stay for long.  But where exactly is this ‘somewhere’?  As importantly, is your ‘somewhere’ a shared ‘somewhere’?

Because of the many ambiguities in experiential learning and behavioural change, it is easy to believe that you have arrived at ‘somewhere’ soon after commencing your journey.  The perceived value of initial practice far outweighs its actual value; still, this practice makes you ‘perfect’.  It’s a saying that we all grow up with – practice makes perfect.  Don’t let this saying fool you as ‘perfect’ is a dangerous illusion.  You’ll never be perfect.

Practice will make you better but I prefer to think of practice as making you more robust.  Robust has many synonyms – strong, sturdy, hale and hearty, tough – above all, in good shape!  You become resilient and resourceful; practice has a protective dimension that lessens the chances that you fall, you buckle, you give up or give in.  Practice makes you robust but this does not mean you’ve arrived at your ‘somewhere’.

Now, you must engage in practice of robust, a form of overlearning that strengthens and deepens your robustness.  Without this, time, circumstances and distractions will dilute your robustness.  You can’t think that, having arrived ‘somewhere’, you can now stand still.  Standing still actually means you are going backwards.

You are strengthened, made more robust, by the process and not the destination.  Your ‘somewhere’ is always over there, never where you are.  You can never abandon the process for the aim is to make the process as integral as breathing.  Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

Johan Aineland, one member of I’m From Barcelona, sang about the best days are yet to come, a beautiful, uplifting song of hope:

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Your ‘somewhere’ doesn’t comprise your best days; your ‘somewhere’ is a lifelong series of progressively better days.  That is the aim of all experiential learning and behavioural change efforts.

Compounding

June 21st, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

“I’ve only been doing this for a few weeks.”  This is inexperience as fact – we are all inexperienced when we start doing something new.

“I’ve only been doing this for a few weeks and I’ve still got a lot to learn.”  This is inexperience as challenge.  Inexperience affects skilled performance and behaviour in many ways, evidence for which is all around you all the time.  There is much to learn and this learning takes an extended time.  This experiential learning challenge need not be a problem as the consequences of inexperience can be successfully managed at every stage of the learning journey.

“I’ve only been doing this for a few weeks and I’m already doing it as well as anyone.”  This is inexperience as problem, a problem grounded in the distortion of available information.  And this is when your inexperience compounds your inexperience to produce a gap between your perceived and actual performance.  Personal distortion can be created and sustained because:

I am too inexperienced to know how inexperienced I am.

And this is a real problem, largely because the learner doesn’t realise that a problem exists and then is unaware of the need to manage the challenge.  They usually recognise that challenges exist for their peers but they themselves ‘know’ they have more talent or natural ability.  It is a statistical impossibility for everyone to be above-average; this miscalibration exacerbates the situation.  The repercussions of this and other cognitive biases – reasoning errors from personal ‘reasoning’ rather than evidence – ripple through many aspects of learning and behavioural change.

Where the inexperience challenge is concerned, Screen Door Porch  sing that you can’t wrong the right (but) it’s an endless fight.  There are right things to do, acknowledging the fact of your inexperience and then persist in managing the challenges of experiential learning, an endless (lifelong) ‘fight’.  Unfortunately, if you reflect the problem rather than the fact and challenge, the lyrics would need to be changed; you can wrong the right if you allow bias rather than light (’tis nobler still struggles with the challenges of better songwriting).

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You can’t wrong the right – the ‘right’ is to find your own way and manage the challenges as they unfold.  You can also right the wrongs, learning from and subsequently preventing mistakes.

However, there is a more insidious aspect to righting the wrong that you must resist.  It is not ‘wrong’ to be inexperienced, it is not wrong to be younger, slower, less efficient or more clumsy.  These are challenges, not problems.

What do you think happens when novices are treated as problems to be fixed by doing what others tell them to do?

What do you think happens when novices are supported as they confront the challenges of their inexperience and strive to find their own way?

Slow Down, It’s Sunday

June 20th, 2010 | Related | 0 Comments

Every Sunday, ’tis nobler presents seven things that you may find inspiring, intriguing and informative.  Enjoy!

Our shared home – from top to bottom!

These are nice B&W photos of cats.  What?  They’re not photos, they’re pencil DRAWINGS!!!!!!!!! 

When you sign up to a social networking site, they want you to stay forever so how do you actually leave?

This is fascinating stuff ….. short term gain for teachers = longer term pain for students:

In primary and secondary education, measures of teacher quality are often based on contemporaneous student performance on standardized achievement tests. In the postsecondary environment, scores on student evaluations of professors are typically used to measure teaching quality. We possess unique data that allow us to measure relative student performance in mandatory followon classes. We compare metrics that capture these three different notions of instructional quality and present evidence that professors who excel at promoting contemporaneous student achievement teach in ways that improve their student evaluations but harm the followon achievement of their students in more advanced classes.

The person down the street, the family who live around the corner, the cyclist or runner passing you while out walking; there’s an interesting story everywhere you look.

If you’re trying to give some bad news in an endearing way, try to work a giraffe into the conversation.

 Hayaku is a time lapse journey through Japan.  The contrast between the timeless and the tawdry, between the busyness and the stillness is staggering.

Big difference

June 19th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

Experiential learning can be thought of as trial and error learning, where your aim is to maximise the number, variety and quality of trials whilst minimising the frequency and severity of errors (and learning from them when they do occur).  But the risk of error, and the consequences of those errors, cannot be eliminated completely.  Can you think of something, anything, that does NOT involve risk?

Everything you do involves some risk; the issue is how you manage this risk.  If you ignore it, or believe it will only affect others, you will, eventually but inevitably, pay a price.

There is a big difference between the (self-) management of risk and risky behaviour.  Risky behaviour occurs when you pretend risk is absent, when you underestimate risk, when you are unaware of the consequences of risk, when you don’t reckon it is a problem for you.  This video is just one of many examples of this big difference.  In ’tis nobler’s view,  this isn’t risky behaviour – it’s managing risk:

Managing risk successfully can be exhilarating, can be fantastic, and can really make you come alive.  But you don’t manage risk just by saying that you’re going to be careful or you’re going to pay attention.  Successful management of risk involves effort; effortful practice, effortful preparation, effortful planning and real engagement, being ‘switched on’ rather than disconnected, being aware rather than oblivious.  Even so, managing risk isn’t perfect and this means there can be consequences.  Serious consequences – but you strive actively to minimise the chances of coming unstuck.

Does engaging in risky behaviour have any of these advantages when you stop to think about it?  Doesn’t engaging in risky behaviour have consequences that could have been avoided if you had managed risk rather than tried to just bluff your way through it?

Risk is everywhere.  Find your own way around the risks – manage them and have the time of your life.

Forgiving

June 18th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

Effort IS essential but nobody’s perfect.  Sometimes, you just can’t be bothered.  The experiential learning world is not populated by fanatics who spend every waking moment practising, reflecting on that practice and then practising some more.  Experiential learning has to fit into your world, not dominate it.

You are aware of the positive reasons for pursuing experiential learning and behavioural change, many of which you accept and support.  But you also have access to excuses, all of which you believe to be valid and compelling at the time you trot them out.  It’s easy for excuses to morph into reasons:

What can you do about it?  How can you reduce the chances of continuing procrastination?  Interestingly, recent research suggests that one strategy to overcome the opportunity costs of procrastination is forgiveness.  Forgiving yourself, that is.  Awareness of, and reflection on, past procrastination events can generate negative feelings; should these feelings persist, they have the potential to perpetuate the procrastination.  The longer this downward spiral continues, the less likely you are to renew the effort.

Putting a missed opportunity behind you by forgiving yourself for missing it and focussing fully on acting on the next opportunity is a way to both overcome procrastination and improve subsequent performance through better preparation.  While the research addressed student studying behaviour, it reflects one aspect of metacognitive involvement in learning and this type of involvement is critically important.  Being engaged by and involved in your learning is essential; effort is not confined to your muscles, it must also occur between your ears!

Alexander Pope wrote:

To err is human; to forgive, divine.

Respectfully, ‘tis nobler writes:

To err while learning is human and to procrastinate is commonplace, to practise and to forgive yourself for not practising reduces both error and procrastination and that’s divine.

It’s natural to look for ‘exits’ from learning as what’s on the other side of the door on any given day might look (and actually be) more appealing.  This is just one more thing you have to deal with as your experiential learning journey unfolds.

Don’t put off forgiving yourself for sometimes putting things off.

You have to swim

June 17th, 2010 | Strategic | 0 Comments

Striking the right balance can be an awkward thing to achieve.  Go too far in one direction and you become too directive (and ‘tis nobler strives to avoid this); go too far in the other direction and you become too cryptic.  And this is just one line – the directedness line – in a three-dimensional space that comprises many parallel or intersecting lines.  These lines each contain some scientific guidance, rarely definitive but the real value of experiential learning and behavioural change programs is derived from the number of lines included and the ways in which they are combined.  More lines, not fewer, and creatively combined, not mundanely, are useful starting points.

Take yesterday’s post on rewards as an example.  There are many issues that warrant attention but it’s not possible, nor is it desirable, to broach them all.  There is no point in prescriptively re-hashing evidence for this is nothing more than describing the ‘state of play’, albeit in different words.  This is like paddling in shallow water; it’s safe, unchallenging and only somewhat refreshing.

The ‘tis nobler approach is to provide some information from which you are able to derive your own explanation.  Over time, you are able to test the adequacy of your explanation as you incorporate more information or, hopefully, generate your own thoughts.  This is like swimming until you can’t see land (as Frightened Rabbit sing):

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As a participant or program designer, you have to swim.  Swim away from the land of tradition.  Swim until you can’t see this land as it is only then that you’ll be able to see the things you need to see.  You can choose the direction and distance that you swim; all ‘tis nobler tries to do is encourage you to start swimming. 

You have to swim.  Swim to succeed.

Rewarding

June 16th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

“I’ll do that if you pay me.”  That’s commerce or, possibly, growing up.

“I’ll pay you if you do these things.”  That’s management or, possibly, parenting.

“If you do this, I’ll reward you.  If you don’t do this, I’ll sanction you.  If you do something else, I’ll punish you.”  These are all forms of learning.

Aren’t they?

Positive reinforcement can and does shape behaviour, although what constitutes ‘positive’ can vary significantly.  For pigeons, it is a food pellet but that won’t work for you!  For shaping to occur, the situation needs to be unambiguous and consistent, with a clear, reliable link between ‘trigger’ and response.  If pigeons have to pick their peck, they might pack it in.  Once the situation changes, desired behaviours can be extinguished as the specific link is lost or swamped.

Do these reward processes apply to experiential learning?  The short answer is ‘No’, although the answer in the short term could be ‘Yes’.  The aim of experiential learning is NOT to obtain rewards but to strive for robust understanding, awareness and expertise in an activity.  Occasionally and unexpectedly, the provision of rewards can serve a useful purpose; if they are predictable and dominant, learning is sacrificed for artifice, self-management strategies for stratagems. 

There is a time for rewards but it’s not always, there is a schedule for rewards but it’s not predictable, there is a place for rewards but it’s not outside (you).  Revel in what you are doing while you are learning for the way it makes you feel, for the new horizons it opens up, not for what others are giving you for doing it.  Revel in what you are doing for that is the best reward:

You cannot delegate responsibility for your learning to others.  Neither can you delegate responsibility for your motivation to others.  Extrinsic must become intrinsic or else what could be sustainable and sensational will only ever be short term and satisfactory.

And that’s not finding your own way, that’s acceding to theirs.

Advisory

June 15th, 2010 | Strategic | 0 Comments

What’s the connection between words and experience, between talking and doing?  Words are easy, words can be cheap (or occasionally priceless) and so words are used most of the time; do what I say, know what I say.  Listen to my words and you’ll learn, if only to listen to what is being said.

There are two sources of words in experiential learning and they need to be handled separately.  The first source is external – from parents, coaches, instructors, bosses or teachers.  Mostly, these words come with all good intentions, some positive value but little direct meaning.  You must work out for yourself what they mean and how you will use them, if at all, rather than be passively influenced by them.

The second source is internal – the ‘words’ in your head – that are generated as you monitor, reflect, decide and self-manage.  With experience, these words change.  At the start, these words are directly related to what is happening as you cope with immediate demands.  Everything, and all your ‘words’ are focussed on the doing side.  As you gain, experience, these sorts of ‘words’ recede into the background as you become more effective, efficient and automated.  From this point on, this internal conversation becomes much more important as they represent a much deeper connection to the task and the situation.

However, words are pointless if they just remain words; you can talk all you like about school, work, friends or sport, but these words won’t really mean anything unless they are backed up by your actions.  You can say you’re a true friend – do you behave like one?  You can say you just want to be happy – are you striving to achieve this or do you expect others to do this for you?  You can say you’re a good worker, sportsperson or driver – will you put in the hard work, through practice and the way you behave, to be as effective as you can be?  Or are you content just to talk the talk?

Words need actions, actions must flow from words.  Actions must flow from words just like in this fantastic video:

There are different types of talking in experiential learning and you must actively engage with them.  Without strong connections between the talking, particularly the conversations with yourself, and the doing, the doing will always suffer.

Create your own advice and then heed your own ‘words.  Finding your own way also involves finding your own voice!

The Cave

June 14th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

How big is the difference between watching something being done and doing it yourself?  How big is the difference between seeing a small part of something and see the whole thing?  How big is the difference between assuming you know what is going on and actually being aware of what’s happening?

How big is the difference between not understanding the way things work and finally, fully ‘getting it’?

How big is the difference between seeing a version of the world while in a cave and actually being in the real world?  This contrast was the subject of Plato’s Allegory:

Can you remember what you thought driving a car might be like before you’d actually got behind the wheel?  Can you remember what you thought working on a building site, sailing a yacht, cutting someone’s hair or investigating a crime might be like before you’d started any of these activities?  Were you in a cave beforehand, seeing just a skewed version of these events, hoping that what others described was actually as it was?

One of the consequences of experiential learning is that it’s not really possible to verbalise your performance.  You can describe, in general terms, what you do but this is very different to explaining, in detail and dynamically, what you are doing.  So much of what you do, where you look, what you see and how you decide is driven by your experience rather than lessons or rules.  So much of what you do, where you look, what you see and how you decide is done automatically because of your experience, not because you are consciously applying lessons or rules.

Every new learner starts off in a cave and every new learner has the same challenge:

To find their own way out!

Slow down, it’s sunday

June 13th, 2010 | Related | 0 Comments

Every Sunday, ’tis nobler presents seven things that you may find inspiring, intriguing and informative.  Enjoy!

Schools fulfil a range of functions – many of these ring true but I’m not sure about number 6!

It’s a huge disaster – get a feel for how big the Gulf Coast oil spill is – compare it to where you live by going here .  You’ll need the Google Earth plugin, which you can get from the site or from Google here.

I would love for him to totally unplug, to be totally engaged  – technology as an aid, technology as a hindrance.  How do you balance it?

When asked to provide one forecast, it seems that economists often get it wrong.  How will an array of supercomputers do any better?  It’s not the data (although they are often fragmented or poor) but the assumptions underpinning the data  that are the problem ……

Underwater basejumping (almost – while the diver is the world free diving record holder, this is not actually a single dive).

Wow.  That is all.

Finally, you don’t need words when the moment is so powerful – enjoy this beautiful short film from Portugal, Momentos.

Making

June 12th, 2010 | Strategic | 0 Comments

This is a song by Eric Bibb  called “With My Maker I Am One”.

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It’s an evocative and powerful song, part gospel, part blues, all enjoyable.  But it doesn’t quite fit ‘tis nobler’s purpose.  What do I need to do?  I could think ‘about’ this but, as you read yesterday, far better for me to think it ‘through’.

First, let’s bring it back to Earth by changing the reference from the ‘Maker’ to the maker.

Second, let’s rearrange the syntax slightly – “I am one with my maker”.

Now, let’s streamline it a bit – “I am my maker” says the same thing with fewer words.  With increasing experience, this sort of ‘streamlining’ also applies to your actions – less effort for a better result.  There are a number of hallmarks of expertise, greater efficiency of performance or ‘streamlining’ and the consequent increase in spare capacity are just two examples; ‘through’ thinking will enable you to propose others.

In just four words, “I am my maker” touches on many aspects of experiential learning and behavioural change.

You cannot be my maker.

I am my maker.  What do you make of that?

About and through

June 11th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

This story is about ‘about’.  It will also go through ‘through’.   ‘About’ and ‘through’ – ‘about’ often circles while ‘through’ always dives.  ‘About’ is often an excuse while ‘through’ is always a concerted effort.  It is harder but better to go ‘through’ than it is to go ‘about’. 

Unthinking, you can still think ‘about’ things.  Thinking ‘about’ is easy and the easy way is often not the best because you don’t weigh up the ways.  ‘About’ is often shallow; when you think ‘about’ things, how deep do you go?  ‘About’ can just stay on the surface, even when there are a lot of  things to resolve; you hop from one to the next without giving any one of them the thinking effort they deserve.  Hopping ‘about’ can give the impression of thinking but, more often than not, it’s just hopping.

On the other hand, if you think things ‘through’, can you end up seeing ‘through’ things?  Or can you see things ‘through’, because you’ve gone ‘through’ the thinking?  Are you ‘through’ with just thinking ‘about’ things or are you going’ to think more things ‘through’?  ‘Through’ is always deep; it’s deep with a purpose.  Getting to the best decision is the aim.  ‘Through’ effort, not expediency – that’s what this is, um, ‘about’.

‘About’ and ‘through’ – have you thought ‘through’ the differences?  When you’re faced with any sort of decision, you can decide without thinking, you can think ‘about’ things or you can think things ‘through’.  Thinking things ‘through’ need not take any longer; it need not remove the fun or excitement.  Nor does this mean that you have to spend ages making up your mind – the experience of thinking things ‘through’ eventually becomes automatic and you may not even be aware that you’re going ‘through’ this thinking!

But ‘ABOUT’ shouldn’t disappear completely.  In the end, it is ‘ABOUT’ you and how important you think it is to, for example, avoid mistakes rather than trying to fix them once they’ve been made.  Even when you have a time machine at your disposal, trying to fix up mistakes can be difficult:

It’s about you.  Think that through!