Kathy Sierra continues to share

Kathy Sierra continues to share her first rate insights with her crash course in learning theory. Most of the principles she applies to learning…

Learners are not “empty vessels” waiting to be filled with content pushed into it by an expert, blogger author, etc. Learning is something that happens between the learner’s ears–it’s a form of co-creation between the learner and the learning experience. You can’t create new pathways in someone’s head… your job is to create an environment where the chances of the learner “getting it” in the way that you intend are as high as possible.

…could be taken and applied to how companies think about branding: in short it should not be about telling people the truth*, but engaging them in creating something new with you… perhaps within certain parameters you may set (and sometimes not).

*Afterthought. Reading this two days later, I realise this is badly expressed. What I’d prefer to say is should not be about telling people your own particular notion of “the truth” of your brand. I didn’t intend to advocate (more) dishonesty in marketing!

2 thoughts on “Kathy Sierra continues to share

  1. Brian

    Indeed – the idea of environment is critical in thinking about learning. At the same time they can be constructed and used in various ways.

    For example, the phrase “create an environment where the chances of the learner “getting it” in the way that you intend are as high as possible” seems to imply a one-way dynamic – something quite different from co-creation.

    Your phrase “engaging them in creating something new with you” moves closer to a sense of open co-creation.

    The idea of environment is also plural – we can think of it in cultural, technological, emotional and a variety of other ways. Jean Vanier’s “L’Arche” is a learning environment focused on community belonging; Viktor Frankl’s account of his experiences in Auschwitz also describe a learning environment. Environments are often invisible, but never neutral.

    I agree that brands can be thought of as a kind of learning environment. It would be good to see a completely open and co-creative learning environment for the pharmaceutical drug industry, however, I would suspect that new aspects to the “brand” might emerge that could negatively impact sales.

    In the end, the real issue is: “Whose sense of ‘getting it’ is this, and why should it matter to me?” I do not mean this in a negative way, but it is a question every person in the “environment” should be asking openly. And if the answers to that question imply a one-way sense of control from some apparent authority then a change must be made.

  2. Johnnie Moore

    Hi Brian: Good points. Kathy is really talking about training and the comparison I made to branding could use the nuance you make.

    There’s a difference between training and facilitation; in the latter there’s more sense of openness of direction and there’d be less certainty about what “getting it” might be.

    There’s room for different approaches too; and even the most open brands like Linux nevertheless have structures and limits.


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