This is the Learning Circuit‘s Blog Big Question of the Month. It caused me to go back and look at what I blogged about this past year. I talked a lot about mobile (rightly so), and of course about games, but what struck me as I read was the regular occurrence of talking about models. When I got near the beginning of the year, I found that I’d suggested that it should be the Year of the Model, so that’s it, a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The point is that we don’t use conceptual/mental models enough in our learning and training (as I was just complaining in a project on training call answering). And we can. Increasingly, the power of visualization is being understood and taken advantage of. But that’s only part of the benefit. The notion of thinking in terms of systems and causal relationships is at core. I knew it before, but it’s been something I’ve been thinking about more, and wishing I had a way to work on more.
The potential benefits are big: while we might need to spend a bit more time to ensure we get the models, and communicate them, what we stand to gain are reduced time in training (fewer examples and practice needed), and what should be big wins in terms of retention and transfer, as well as flexibility to deal with situations that we didn’t anticipate.
As Karyn Romeis points out, it’s not like it’s a big new thing I learned, it’s just an increasing awareness that it’s a big untapped opportunity.