A Design For Learning

Clay Shirky, in Cognitive Surplus, writes:

“To participate is to act as if your presence matters, as if, when you see something or hear something, your response is part of the event” (p. 21).

How can we design learning (and leadership) experiences to foster this sense that “your presence matters”?  How can we shape experiences so that many more of us can be a meaningful part of the “event”?

As we think this through, it may be helpful to keep in mind these four elements:

  1. Method or design of the engagement itself
  2. The content
  3. The quality of the teacher/leader/facilitator
  4. And the quality of the students/participants

When I write “quality” of the teacher and student, it is primarily in terms of how prepared they are and the attitude and energy that they bring on any given day. I think we need excellence in all four of these areas in order to create exceptional learning engagements.  Of course, these four elements are mutually reinforcing (each element influences the other three).  Not only that, but if one or two are especially good, they can help carry the day.