The damn of knowledge: the more you know, the worse you explain

Written by on 21/11/2012 in Blog

I just read a post that I loved. It is titled “The curse of knowledge. The more you know the worse you explain”. It reminded me that one of the discussions I’ve had many times with clients is: how can you create training on the subject X if you’re not an expert? My answer is always, “No, I am an expert in the educational process.”

I also like a phrase I heard recently from a customer who says: “We must focus on the process, not on the content.” And it’s really true, because you have to focus the effort should be on designing the learning process, first, and then decide what the content should be. The problem often is that for the expert is so satisfied with the content that you think a crime change.

He mentions a very interesting experiment, which I transcribe verbatim:

During the course of the experiments, arrived at drum 120 songs. Listeners guessed only 2.5% of the songs: 3 out of 120. To make the experiment more interesting, before listeners say the title of the songs, they were asked to predict the likelihood drummers that listeners would guess. They said those likely would be 50%. However, while the drummers predicted to get their message would get 1 in 2 times, they got only 1 in 40. Why is this failure so high?

When the drummer drums, he hears the song in his head. In the experiment, the drummers are amazed at how difficult it is to guess the song listeners. Is not the song obvious?

And that is what actually happens with many experts. They say, “but that’s obvious.” Obvious? For whom? For you? When a student would it is supposed to have an ability when designing an educational process, you have to be very sure you have it, or you run the risk of losing on the road. In the academic world, especially, it is considered in many cases the student’s responsibility “designed” their own educational process and, if it reaches the end, it will be his own failure. This paradigm has changed, thankfully, in school, although some politicians insist on going back. In the world of business and especially if we talk about customers, poor educational process means we have at least an angry customer.

My advice is always the same. Those skilled in the art provide the content, but it should not be the designers of the process.

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