I’ve been on a ‘transformation‘ kick. And it occurs to me to think that it may be more marketing than meaning. One aspect is that we need to be making transformation manifest to our learners.
The transformation I’m talking about is our learning experiences. That is, while we need to transform our practices and ourselves, here I’m talking about the outcomes of our design. I want the experience to be more than just mundane, I want it to be transformative.
And, I realize, learning inherently is transformative. You’re coming away with new understandings, skills, and/or perspectives. If it’s effective, you’ve changed. That’s what learning is about! It does need to be effective, but if it is, you’re newly capable.
So it’s not about helping folks transform. That’s happening. Instead, it’s about helping people realize that they’re transformed. Which is more about marketing, really.
What’s involved in making transformation manifest? To make it work it takes steps at the beginning and the end of the experience. At the beginning, it’s helping learners realize two things:
- That they do want to learn this
- That they don’t know it now
There are a variety of ways these can be done. We can make it humorously or dramatically clear why this is important. And we can let them actually try, or convince them that their knowledge isn’t up to the necessary level.
Ultimately, we need to make it clear that they now have a new ability. They may also need to have the confidence to try when the situation arises. Again, I’ll suggest two steps:
- They need to know that they now have a new capability
- Introduce them, directly or indirectly, to the community of folks who also have this ability
To demonstrate their new ability, they need to actually perform and succeed. And we should acknowledge, even celebrate, their new capability. We should be explicit, and even consider a ritual that signifies their accomplishment. Badges could make sense here.
The point is that learners are changing. If we’ve done our job right, they’re looking at the world in a somewhat different way. We should help them recognize that, for their sake and ours. They should know their new capability, and they should acknowledge, even respect, our contribution. I’m suggesting we should explicitly be making transformation manifest. What do you think?