Looking Behind the Facade
Since I was young I’ve always enjoyed stopping whenever I come across a construction site. I’m interested in how buildings, from houses to skyscrapers, are put together. It really doesn’t matter what stage of construction the building is at either for me to pause to take a look. I like to see things like the depth of the footings or the size of the columns and supporting beams or the length of the cantilevered balconies or how the wall framework will divide an empty space or how the roof structure will finish off the building.
While completed structures often look impressive, I find there’s more value in knowing how it all fits together (but that could be just me!). I think that’s why the practices of working out loud and showing your work appeal to me and I learn more from seeing how something was created as opposed to trying to figure it out when looking at the finished product.
Working in the eLearning space I often see people sharing some great samples of work and many times I wonder:
- How did they do that?
- Where did their ideas come from?
- How long did that take to create?
- Why did they do it that way?
I figure that I can’t be the only one who wonders these things and when someone shares this information, it’s like looking at their construction site and I’m happy to stop and take a look.
I’ve shared the ‘how’ behind some of the demos I’ve created, some examples are here and here and here. I don’t do it all the time and on reflection, it’s because I can be so caught up doing the work that I forget about sharing the work at different stages. So, it’s a habit I need to develop to make it part of the work.
From my experience, some ideas for showing your work are:
- Start with something small; share a part of a project or a tip or a discovery you’ve made.
- Find a method of documenting that works for you; it could be via blog post or a video or a photo or a tweet or a combination of these.
- Don’t worry about what other people think; the aim is to make your tacit knowledge visible.
- There’s no right or wrong way; I’m just making it up as I go but I do get ideas from what others do.
If we make time to document our planning and construction phases and then make this information public, there’d be many more opportunities for others to learn from our experiences. It might just encourage them to share what they know too.
After all, the best type of learning is when we learn from each other.