How the learners are regarded functions as a self-fulfilling prophesy. If we're seen as people who are very talented, we will find it much easier to come across as resourceful in that light. If we're are pictured as a bunch of losers, we will fall into that incapacitated frame of mind more easily. I previously wrote about this as "getting framed".
In the context of instructional designs, if executives regard their employees as "clueless idiots", compliance training will make sense and be tolerated by most the troops without question. Any attempt to set up a community of practice, wiki or space for conversations will fail while the participants are regarded at anything less than resourceful contributors.
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