Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

14 July 2008

Learning by doing

Clark @ 2:39 PM

Well, this weekend was an interesting one.  On Saturday morning I not only resurrected my site, but got my Twitter experiment advanced by managing to insert a tweet feed into the blog sidebar. Of course, it formats strangely, and I haven’t been able to fix it yet.  I tried using the span command, but around the Javascript it didn’t seem to work.

Then it was changing the bathroom light fixtures.  Successfully, following on a recent toilet replacement exercise.  In between was an absolutely great block party our neighbors organized, with activities for the kids, food and drink for all.  Learnings from each exercise!

One of the things I tweaked to was that if we sit down and start using the right tool for the job, have patience and persistence, and be willing to stop and think, we can get more done that we thought, we just have to be brave (he stays, still in anxiety mode over making a deck on the slope in the backyard).  Of course, we’re benefited to the extent we see more standards in tools and equipment (I like that they’re standardizing on electrical hardware, which makes it pretty much plug-and-play, even if it took some creativity to end-run two different boxes in two different bathrooms, ahem).  Slowly but surely, the house is being transformed.

The second learning is on community.  By pulling together all the neighbors on our cul-de-sac, we’re building an awareness of each other, which supports us helping each other.  The usual suspects pitched in, and some new folks were invited to join.  It was a lovely evening though the breeze picked up to the point where people started heading out for sweaters before coming back.  I had to think: why can’t the whole world be getting together in their neighborhood and having a party?  Of course, it’s hard when they’re bullets flying by, bombs going off, etc.  Sigh.  Still, creating the right environment for getting together creates the right environment for sharing, and that’s where learning happens.

So, use the right tools, set the right context, and be willing to work and reflect and improve and continue on.  Hope you too had a good weekend!


  1. Loved what you said about Being Brave. It was this time
    last year that I realized that my Father is really good
    at fixing things, not because he was born that way, but
    because he has had the guts to just “give it a go” so many
    times that by now it’s second nature.
    That and your comments about community set my social
    constructivist heart a-twitter.

    Comment by Jason — 15 July 2008 @ 9:47 AM

  2. Jason, having a good role model is a big advantage. Thanks for the feedback!

    Comment by Clark — 15 July 2008 @ 4:40 PM

  3. Clark,

    Great story. I see the abstract, yet subtle, messages, so let’s call this a parable for instructional designers. The following two sentences are philosophically loaded: 1) 3rd paragraph, first sentence and 2) the closing statement. Outstanding post.

    Comment by Frank — 16 July 2008 @ 3:53 PM

  4. Frank, are you reading too much into it? :) Seriously, I do appreciate the feedback, and sincerely mean what I say about craftsmanship.

    Comment by Clark — 16 July 2008 @ 4:50 PM

  5. Clark,
    I simply see an interesting parallel to learning and instructional design. Although I don’t believe you intended it to be a parable, but that’s what clicked in my head.

    Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Frank — 20 July 2008 @ 5:12 PM

  6. Frank, thanks for clarifying. It wasn’t intended to be subtle; I *do* intend most of my reflections to point to implications for the design of learning! Great that you saw it.

    Comment by Clark — 21 July 2008 @ 6:47 AM

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress