Tuesday, January 30, 2007

From Theory to Practice

I suspect my current anxiety is a result of the following:
- I've been a 1 person shop for my entire career
- I've been training the same material for the past 5 years
- I've had a student base with minimal "prior knowledge" of computers or of the system I was showing them.

The situation I find myself in is almost the opposite of what I've been doing all this time:
- There are now (at least) 5 other people with input on the training
- The training requires students (and myself) to make a huge cognitive leap
- The student base comes in with significantly more prior knowledge.

What this means: I need to do what I've been doing differently.

I hate to admit this, but my colleagues figured this out more quickly than I did and spent the better part of the meeting trying to get my thick skull around this fact.

I should be excited. Finally - a chance to practice what everyone has been preaching. Not having to do the "step-by-step", practicing "social construction", encouraging cognitive leaps and all that.

Yet every single synapse in my brain is screaming NO!
- We only have 90 minutes!
- The users will NEVER get it!
- I thought I had already created context in the training?!?!
- Why are the younger trainers trying to muscle in on MY work?!
- What in the world did I miss and why don't I understand what is going on!!!!!!

After a good night's sleep, I am slowly quieting the control freak educator in my head. I hope to send her packing by the end of all of this.


Karyn Romeis said...

It's hard to break the habits of a lifetime. However, now that you have overcome the inertia, you can build up a head of steam, some momentum, and make like ol' man river...

Karl Kapp said...


Hang in there, you'll do fine, after all you've been involved in a less formal learning process...blogging for sometime.

Also, cognitive change is not always easy but can be fun. Take the chance to learn from the young upstarts and take the time to teach them a thing or two (yes, they think they know everything but they don't).

Also, teaching experts or people with a high level of previous knowledge does require a different approach, more of a facilitator than an instructor...let the learners teach each other.This really does work, I use it in my classes and with clients all the time.

Good luck, you'll do fine.