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Telling is not Teaching


I work in an hospital environment that includes 500 different people with various degrees of computer competency. This makes work very complex at times and challenging. 

As I grow in my position, now nearly twenty years in technology, I find that people hear a lot of information during the day and their amazing brains somehow organize, shuffle, and prioritize it.

How well do we organize, prioritize and share information in the workplace? Apparently not very well. We have conversations with people about technology and they appear to hear in the moment. After something goes wrong, we sometimes hear, "IT never told me."

Has this ever happened to you?  I've learned that teaching is not telling from Ben Franklin who said, "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn."

What kinds of teaching are best designed to help people learn and remember?
  • Practice (taking time to learn by failing and trying again)
  • Ritual (this means doing the same things every day)
  • Documentation/Reference (a guide when we forget)
If we expect people to learn complex technology or processes, we must practice, do the ritual and provide documentation. When we do this, we are involving people who will learn.

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