The first version always stinks

I should have known better...

I should have known better…
Photo by patries71

Much of my work at the junction of online and offline learning draws on the absolutely stellar WordPress community. At the beginning of this month, Matt Mullenweg—founding developer of the open source WordPress software—wrote a piece that instantly resonated with me, “1.0 is the loneliest number.”

Referring to first versions—of software, hardware or anything—Matt argued that

“if you’re not embarrassed when you ship your first version you waited too long.”

Waiting for too long

Oh how well do I know this! The number of iterations articles on Nonformality go through is embarrassing, but at least I am not embarrassed by most of them. The downside? Tardiness; I just wish I could write more and publish sooner.

Whenever I produce something—a report, a book, a website, a concept—I spent soooo much time making sure that the “one more thing” is also perfect. The less likely a product is to be regularly updated, the more time I spent to perfect it. And when I *finally* surrender to mounting time pressure, I usually have plenty of reason to still be embarrassed about this or that or the other…

There is only one manuscript for a report that I can think of from the past five years or so that I did not think of as embarrassing. It was very embarrassing to ship it, however, because it was almost a year late; occasionally, I spend so much time endulging in perfectionism that the resulting delay becomes the most embarrassing part…

Which is why I will press the shiny blue «Publish» button now. Because:

“Real artists ship.” Steve Jobs, 1983

Open Loft Week

It will happen again...

It will happen again…
Loft opens its e-doors.

TALE is one of the long-term training courses in the European youth arena, organised by the Youth Partnership. The course supports European trainers in their professional development to competently design, implement and evaluate training activities.

One of the core features of TALE is its online learning platform LOFT, which was introduced to the world during an open loft day on December 1, 2009. This September, the talers are going full throttle with an entire «OPEN LOFT WEEK». Curious? Read on! Continue reading “Open Loft Week”

Cultural differences

There is no doubt that we need tools to deal with our multicultural realities. In my previous article I described some methods for raising awareness about how exclusion and oppression takes multiple forms – sometimes people from different “cultures” are subjected to oppression – and sometimes people suffer exclusion because their behaviour is explained with culture, or people suppress others by justifying their behaviour with culture.

Three steps to change behaviour? | Photo by Rohit Mattoo

Three steps to change behaviour? | Photo by Rohit Mattoo

Many training manuals say that there are three steps in changing behaviour. The first step is raising awareness, the second one is creating new skills, and the third one is getting into action. A brief review of most exercises, however, leaves me with the impression that most exercises focus on creating awareness, whereas the next steps are assumed to happen more or less automatically as long as the awareness has been raised.

Take simulation games and role plays – commonly used methods during intercultural learning. It is often said that they both stimulate awareness about cultural differences—by letting the participants encounter with a simulated different culture—and new skills as participants try to interact with this culture.

There is just one problem: in such games you normally get clear role-descriptions telling you how to act, what your values are, how you greet, how you communicate, what offends you etc. These role descriptions are often made in such a way that there is an inbuilt conflict in the simulation, and you can only overcome this conflict by being disobedient to the rules of the exercise – behaving differently than you are asked to. Continue reading “Cultural differences”

The Learning Revolution

The learning revolution

Image from the cover page of the 2009 UK White Paper The Learning Revolution on
informal adult learning by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Palomar5 Education organised a small, conspiratory event in reponse to Sir Ken Robinson’s call to bring on the learning revolution, a great opportunity to get some glimpses of how we will learn in the future through the lenses of Basti Hirsch, who went on a five-week education expedition through the United States; Aron Solomon, who is busy creating a boarding school with wheels, the Think Global School; and Margret Rasfeld, who founded a protestant reform school in Berlin. What have I seen? Continue reading “The Learning Revolution”