The Time of Doing


According to a recent statement by Bing, Microsoft’s search engine answer to Google,  search is no longer about looking for knowledge about something. It’s about getting something done. It’s all about know-how.

According to a recent Fast Company article, “The idea behind features like this, say Bing executives, is that search is no longer simply about looking for information. It’s about getting things done: Booking reservations, buying plane tickets, researching consumer products. And Microsoft is trying to help its users get those things done as quickly as possible. It’s trying, simply put, to make search results less like a list of links and more like an app.”

So before we say goodbye to 2010, let’s say “Adieu” to The Knowledge Age and shake hands with The Know-How Era!

So what’s the problem? Well it’s kind of simple. All the tools and technology we have for learning is all still focused on knowledge, learning about something NOT learning how to do something. There’s very little built into these learning tools – from LMS to Virtual Live Classrooms – that enable practice, practice and more practice.

Everything that neuroscience and psychology, and any of the fields related to learning how we learn, all understand that to learn how to do something involves the following key elements;

  • Time
  • Practice
  • Failure (In a safe environment)
  • More Practice
  • And More Practice.

Learning how to actually do something means that we have adopted what we know and can do and learned enough to adapt it in a variety of real world situations. That’s what being an Expert instead of a Beginner really means.

Here’s a great and recent example: When Captain Chesley Sullenberger – called just “Sully” – rescued those 155 people on board his plane, landing it safely and improbably in the Hudson River, everyone agreed Sully was a hero. Everyone that is except Captain Sully. In his mind, he was just doing what he spent 30 years training how to do. On his own, he would often take simulator training that focused on emergencies, water landing among them.

So he was all about learning how to do something.

It calls to my mind that scene from The Matrix in which Trinity is on the roof with Morpheus and Neo. She gets programmed to expertly fly a helicopter in a matter of seconds by “jacking-in” to the database of know-how. These days acquiring that level of know-how would take years.

You can watch that scene here if you need to recall the technology. It’s very cool and I look forward to the day  …

The question is how to shorten the time on that continuum between jacking-in seconds and the years of actual simulated and actual flying. And that gets us back to the initial question. If the current learning tools and technology are ‘artifacts’ from the Knowledge Age when we were all learning about something, what tools and technology can we adapt or create to really enable learning how-to do something? How do we truncate the time-to-performance between the Beginner and the Expert?

I have some ideas but I’d really like to hear yours first.

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