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Our memory of how to do things is tied to the situation in which it was learnt

‘The now well attested implication’, writes Jane Henry in the B822 ‘Creativity, Cognition & Development’ handbook (p74) ‘is that knowledge is situated and does not transfer easily’.

This has significant implication on how we learn, the reasons why we learn (or have to be taught), how we are tested formerly in an assessment or exam, and critically, how what we have learnt is applied.

A Level 3 Coaching course I am taking with the ASA relies on too much theory (rushed workshops in meetings rooms in leisure centres, but note poolside). We submit assignments. These are handwritten into forms. Marking takes months and plagiarism is rife. Whilst how we are taught and how we are tested match, there is little correlation to what we do poolside with athletes. It is neither applied nor situated.

Lawyers live by the written word; I can see that reading, writing and exams suit how they will act in practice.

What about elearning? Or mlearning? Learning online, whether from a desk or a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) has the potential to take the lesson into the situation where this knowledge is required. Swimming coaching and teaching ought to be be taught ‘just in time’ with bitesize learning before and after (even during) swimming sessions.

There are many training situations where the lesson is best taught, as if by a supervisor shadowing an apprentice in the workplace.  In this way the lesson taught is associated with the problem that is being dealt with as it arises.

If I study everything online, at a screen, typing at a QWERTY keyboard I should be assessed in the same way, which in the MAODE is exactly what happens: I type out assignments and upload them for marking. I get the ‘paper’ back a file with annotations.

Coming to the end of B822 I find myself having to pick up a pen. The prospect is that I will be tested, old school, writing three essays in three hours into a blank workbook.

B882 Book 3 ‘Creativity, Innovation and Change’

Though some 16 days behind with the next block (or book) I feel on familiar ground having done H807: Innovations in e-learning; indeed the more I read, the more that B822 (Book 3) and H807 (Innovations in e-learning) appear extraordinarily complementary.

As so many are currently blogging about H807 (as required) I look forward to tracking the course from their notes, as well as mine from 2010.

I often said I would have liked to have done H807 again, in this way I can.

Repeating a theme I developed in H800 too of personal development planning (PDP) I see this NOT as repetition but rather as akin to a glider rising on a thermal, so although I am going over old ground, I am doing so at a greater height.

(Maybe I am now seeing too how a Masters Degree advances on the undergraduate degree and the PhD on the Masters).

According to Michael Kirton’s Adaptor-Innovator

Theory ‘Innovators do things differently’ while ‘Adaptors do things better’. Kirton (2003)

  • Boeing 737 as an example of adaptation (continuous change)  over innovation (discontinuous change) which understandably risk averse managers would avert.

B822 Book 2 Activity 1.1

Can you think of examples from your experience to illustrate each of the following cells?

Radical innovation :

Product (including services): iPod, Dyson (as presented to the public), QWERTY keyboard, Sony Walkman, Stylophone, distance learning utilising TV and Radio (the OU), lynk digital phoning through the computer vs analogue phones.

Process: women doing men’s work during the First World War, a country switching from driving on the left to the right (Sweden?),

Incremental improvement

Product (including services): Dyson (as developed), tyres, road surfaces, car phones to mobile phones, less sugar and salt in processed foods, the M25, eBooks,  Virtual Learning Environments.

Process: Kaizen, Women in the Army, Navy and Airforce, Going Green, the rise of fascism (retrospectively incremental demise), sorting recyclables and landfill, 31 entries here containing QWERTY fail to find this, which is my blogged late grandfather’s memoir:

‘One day J.G. had my father carry this ‘Blick’ up from the car; it was a German typewriter. J.G. tried to show me how to use this Blickenfurentstater. It was a portable affair with a wooden case. The top row of letters began ZXKGB so it came in before QWERTY when they had to slow the action down on account of the metal keys getting jammed if you typed too fast. I did all the typing after that, up until the First War. We started out by doing the letters with carbon copies. During the war they got girls in for the first time doing that job’.

Wherein I’d say lie two innovations as responses to the problem of keys jamming and of, ironically, lack of manpower.


Kirton, M.J. Adaptation and innovation in the context of diversity and change Routledge, London, 2003, p. 392

QWERTY vs a fountain pen

This age and that kind of childhood we had to use fountain pens, never Biros.

I learnt to type because I was given a second hand mechanical typewriter as a Christmas present. Odd, I thought. I had wanted an electric guitar.

30 years on my son wanted an electric guitar. With three acoustic guitars in the and little desire to be tutored or to follow his lessons at school the electric guitar didn’t materialise for him. Instead his saving, looking after a neighbour’s guinea-pigs when they were on holiday & playing with their primary school & nursery age boys … and some deft online searching, he bought an iTouch.

His bedroom is an emporium to all things iTouch.

His three best mates all have an iTouch too now. He’s the early adopter … they follow. He leads & champions wooly hats, T-shirts & trainers 😦 Jsut the way he is gregarious and enthusiastic for new ‘stuff.’

Homework last night required some research on the history of Blues. Fed up with being told Google has 94% of the search market in the UK I reverted to ‘Ask Jeeves’ which I used to prefer or trial over various others a decade ago ? (or less). We were taken to Wikipedia either way.

‘I alwyas wiki my home work.’ He says.

Like ‘to google,’ ‘to wiki’ is now a verb.

He touch types at 40 wpm. He is 11.

He has had access to a computer since he was … 2. He played a Mavis beacon QWERTY keyboard game/learner age 4.

How un-21st century, how clunky is a QWERTY keyboard? What happened to voice recognition? Why has a better keyboard not been adopted?

Being a ‘game boy’ he ignore the mouse. He could be shooting at the enemy the way he uses the cursor to get around.

Later in the evening my daughter is doing History Homework.

It is the First World War. Her great-grandfather was a machine gunner. Her survived the Somme & Ypres and successfully transferred to the Royal Flying Corps.

Three ‘Really useful’ boxes contain a collection of Imperial War Museum books, his medals, photos & postcards of the time … even a cutting from the Consett Gazette where he is featured in November 1917 having been awarded the Military Medal. In this box there is a full collection of 54 magazines on ‘World War’ published c.1929 with contributions from H.G.Wells.

The covers are red, everything else is in black and white.

‘When did they invent colour?’ She asked.

We discuss this.

We look through the many pages of mules & limbers, mud & soldiers, planes that are barely recognisable has such (a flying hay-rick) and ‘tanks’ that look as static as pill boxes.

“When did they start inventing things?’ She then asked.

By this she means mobile phones, computers, TV sets … or ‘stuff,’ as in ‘eletronic stuff.’

When did humans ever not invent?

From the perspective of a child, ‘innovation’ within the context of the world they are familiar with must produce considerable advance. particularly in this era when ‘new stuff’ is redundant as it hits the shelf.

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