Black Friday Finds

Here are some observations and insights that were shared on social media this past fortnight. I call these Friday’s Finds.

@doctorow“Once you admit that luck was crucial to your success, you have to confront the terrifying possibility that your luck may run out someday.”

@Mintzberg“How many of us now realize the extent to which we have become the victims of our own economic structures?”

It is telling the extent to which economic vocabulary has infiltrated our everyday speech. Are you a human resource? a human asset? human capital? I am a human being. I do not “maximize value”, whatever that means. (Trying to maximize anything is perverse.) I have no intention of competing, collecting, and consuming my way to neurotic oblivion. And if I am not cooperative alongside being competitive, selfless alongside being selfish, I am nothing.

BrainPickings.org on Anne Lamott’s ‘Small Victories’ via @SandyMaxey

The parental units were simply duplicating what they’d learned when they were small. That’s the system.

It wasn’t that you got the occasional feeling that you were an alien or a chore to them. You just knew that attention had to be paid constantly to their moods, their mental health levels, their rising irritation, and the volume of beer consumed. Yes, there were many happy memories marbled in, too, of picnics, pets, beaches. But I will remind you now that inconsistency is how experimenters regularly drive lab rats over the edge.

How Ayn Rand Helped Make the US Into a Selfish, Greedy Nation via @ross917

While Harriet Beecher Stowe shamed Americans about the United States’ dehumanization of African Americans and slavery, Ayn Rand removed Americans’ guilt for being selfish and uncaring about anyone except themselves. Not only did Rand make it “moral” for the wealthy not to pay their fair share of taxes, she “liberated” millions of other Americans from caring about the suffering of others, even the suffering of their own children.

@orgnetDownsizing without social network analysis is like surgery in the dark

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen this situation: company downsizes/rightsizes, becomes more “lean and mean”, and then in a few months, management scratches it’s collective head when things start to fall apart.

@hrheingoldLook who’s talkingIf we decided that community came first, how would we use our tools differently?”

“We don’t want to be the kind of people who will interrupt a conversation at home to answer a telephone. It’s not just how you use the technology that concerns us. We’re also concerned about what kind of person you become when you use it.” – Amish man

@SimonHeath1 – Ceci n’est pas un tweet

Image by Simon Heath

Image by Simon Heath

Transformative Experiences

I’ve had the pleasure last week of keynoting Charles Sturt University’s annual Education conference.  They’re in the process of rethinking what their learning experience should be, and I talked about the changes we’re trying to make at the Wadhwani Foundation.

I was reminded of previous conversations about learning experience design and the transformative experience.   And I have argued in the past that what would make an optimal value proposition (yes, I used that phrase) in a learning market would be to offer a transformative learning experience.  Note that this is not just about the formal learning experience, but has two additional components.

Now, it does start with a killer learning experience.  That is, activity-based, competency-driven, model-guided, with lean and compelling content.  Learners need role-plays and simulations to be immersed in practice, and scaffolded with reflection to develop their flexible ability to apply these abilities going forward.  But wait, there’s more!

As a complement, there needs to be a focus on developing the learner as well as their skills. That is, layering on the 21st Century skills: the ability to communicate, lead, problem-solve, analyze, learn, and more.  These need to be included and developed across the learning experience.  So learners not only get the skills they need to succeed now, but to adapt as things change.

The third element is to be a partner in their success.  That is, don’t give them a chance to sink or swim on the basis of the content, but to look for ways in which learners might be struggling with other issues, and work hard to ensure they succeed.

I reckon that anyone capable of developing and delivering on this model provides a model that others can only emulate, not improve upon.  We’re working on the first two initially at the Foundation, and hopefully we’ll get to the latter soon.  But I reckon it’d be great if this were the model all were aspiring to.  Here’s hoping!