On the second day of a three-day seminar I attended on dream interpretation, I needed help interpreting one I had the night before. I dreamed I was a thief who had successfully stolen some goods and was "making out like a bandit". I learned that this symbolism meant I had taken what I had learned from the dream seminar and made off with it like I now owned it. That proved to be true years later. I had taken the Jungian framework and found it to be actionable. I was having lots of successes interpreting my own and other's dreams. I even realized O could read the symbolism in the character arcs and plot twists in films I watched. I had no further use for "dream dictionaries". I car jacked that seminar and drove off with it.
Actionable content is intended to be stolen. The learners "make off with it" like they own it and it will belong to them from now on. They realize they did the hard part of making it into something they can practice, put to use or do thoughtfully. Telling them about it was easy for the teacher. Listening was easy for the learner. The work began at the point the serial numbers on the knowledge were being rubbed out. The knowledge was getting a new paint job, license plates and upholstery. What was common knowledge became personal knowledge that ties into previous experiences, lingering issues and open ended questions. The knowledge found a new home.
Most students appear to turn in the keys to the new knowledge at the end of the course. They act like they had been driving a rental car that they are not allowed to own by hook or crook. It does not feel like something they would want to upkeep and use to get somewhere better. They think they are not qualified, smart enough or sufficiently conscientious to make good use of it. It appear too complicated, abstract, or useless. In short, the content was not actionable.
We make content actionable when we expect it to get jacked by the learners. We want the learners to rip it off and make it their own. We intend for it to be mutilated by their subjectivity, contexts of use and unique efforts to apply it in their worlds. We lose control of what it means to them while being thrilled they have taken it in to the depths of their experience and flights of their imagination.