I take the same route to work everyday. Let that sink in. Everyday. Except when there are diversions or blocakages. Everyday. There’s a reason for it, beyond the fact it’s the easiest – it’s the straightest/shortest.
I know it well; the best side of the lane to avoid the potholes, raised manhole covers, uneven surfaces, etc. The whole 22 miles of the journey. I know the best place to time a safe overtake, and when to back off because of hidden sideroads or driveways.
But every now and then I vary it, take a different route that may take me a minute or two longer, or a mile to two out of my way. It keeps me fresh and interested, I see a different scenery and different, sometimes more rural roads. I’m more awake and more aware, I take more notice.
It keeps me fresh. And happy.
What I want from my work is a similar experience. What I want from my learning is also a similar experience – I don’t want to see the same style day in, day out … video introduction followed by reading followed by list of readings followed by a poll then a discussion activity then a wrap-up. What I want is variety of activities and tools and purposes, an approach that really makes me think. Something interactive. Something new. Something I wasn’t expecting. It doens’t have to be shiny or clever (oh, please no) but it should make me think about the topic and how I can apply myself to the learning and my purpose for learning.
What we, learning designers, really want it to be able to give that variety too. Yes, we do! We are always thinking about how we offer the same experience, but through a different medium. Can we engage the student in a different space, one that pushes their understanding of the topic and their own ability? Can we offer variety to demonstrate to the student that we’ve thought hard about their experience and understand the need to offer something other than a static experience? Can the learner actually bring their own experiences into the classroom, enabling them (and us) to learn from each other?
[This post, New Perspectives, was also inspired by a travel-related experience. Please read too.]