Getting in the zone

Dwight Towers reminds me of the Russian guy Vygotsky and his concept of the Zone of Proximal Development. Fancy jargon but quite an interesting concept. Vygotsky suggests this is the place learners can benefit from those who have advanced just one stage beyond them in a process – it’s where the learner can work with the help of others as prelude to being able to do it themselves.

This highlights the social element but I’d relate it to perhaps a wider concept: I’m very interested in the edges of our comfort zone as I think some great learning can happen here. It’s like that Flow state where we’re sufficiently on edge to be engaged and not coasting, but not so edgy that we’re freaking out.

A lot of training – the sort Harold Jarche regularly skewers – seems to work outside that zone, serving up slabs of content but missing the relationship and connection to purpose. When Harold highlight the role of informal learning, I think he’s pointing to the kind of peer-to-peer connections that Vygotsky implies.

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