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Jan 10, 2006


Hi Priya,

I like your gumption and am all for Constructivism meself.

What you have described here reminds me of the way my dad learnt to swim. Like his cousins and uncles before him, he was taken to a pond in the village along with his brothers and other younger cousins. And they were all asked to jump in. If they refused to take the plunge, they were thrown in.

No problem with this "training technique" :-) 'coz all the kids managed to learn to swim on their own. They had it all figured out in a while, without any life jacket or anything. Plus the elders were around anyways to prevent mishaps.

In a workshop, I also like to have the learners/participants explore and construct their own meaning in order to learn. But, my participants are not kids and they don't come with blind faith i.e. they don't know (read trust) me from Adam. Also unlike swimming and cooking where the proof of learning is evident, the idea of deconstructing a model is tougher to convey. So I need to provide them with a life jacket of sorts.

Going by your own account, the chief issue is not about cracking the whats and hows of Simbls...but sharing their thoughts with other participants and demonstrating what they have figured out in a manner that you and they themselves can relate to.

Perhaps your sessions could also do with the life jacket I have in mind >> CmapTools.

CmapTools has been created by the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC). Very simply, it is a tool will help your participants deconstruct the Simbls and express them as a Concept Map. I leave you to figure out more about it here: http://cmap.ihmc.us/

This should take care of the first half of your session. Followed by your powerful debrief in the second half, I am sure the training program will be a resounding success.

I have used this tool in a similar workshop and the response has been very encouraging. Hope your writers enjoy it as well.

Do give me your feedback if you decide to use it :-)
- Swapna

I loved to read about this approach. I might say I wish I had thought of this myself or at least read this post before I conducted the SimBLs induction session this week in Mumbai. I can imagine similar howls of protest from the new recruits, but I suspect the learning might have been powerful. However, I wonder if the participants don't view this a heavy-duty introduction into ID in an induction program. Another danger that I can think is a diversion from the original objective of the session, which is to introduce them to the writing process for simulations. This might happen because of the focus on fidelity to ID principles induced by this new technique. Then again, it might an enhance the effectiveness. I suspect it probably serves the purpose of giving participant experience in analyzing if ID principles have been effectively applied. Regardless, I can't wait to try this out or a variation on this method. If the results were similar, maybe it can create a trend for higher instructional effectiveness,(you need 3 data points to create a trend, so we need at least one more similar session before we say anything further).

As a principle of training, I agree that you sometimes need to encourage learners to just take the plunge. The methodology accomplishes two things -- first of all in terms of learning, it allows each person to decipher and relate to the learning in his own way and secondly, and to my mind more importantly, it ensures that a first time learner remains independent throughout the training. It introduces a sustainable method of learning--brilliant strategy and crucial for allowing people to think independently. I must also add that it stems from a genuine desire to see people grow and find their own place in the organisation.

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