Transformed voices

As I mentioned previously, I've been thinking this week about the transformational effects of blogging. Brent's questioning the value of ISD is also outside the predictable, continuous box of "more of the same". Dave Lee's comparison of instructional designers to alchemists invokes the image of transforming lead into gold.

Tony is anticipating a transformation as he ponders where and how the next generation of tools requires a major leap, not incremental improvements. Tony relates this to The Innovator's Dilemma where a company needs to sabotage its success and cannibalize its current products to reinvent itself sufficiently. Wendy had some of this mind with her helpful post: Experimenting with Letting Go.

George Siemens also writes about transformation in his book: Knowing Knowledge:

The learner may engage in attempts to transform the ecology beyond his/her own network. Praxis, as a cyclical process of reflection, experimentation and action, allows the learner to critically evaluate the tools, processes and elements of an ecology or network. (p. 46)

I witnessed two transformations yesterday. I listened to Brent's Talkcast with David Williamson Shaffer, ostensibly about his book: How Computer Games Help Children Learn. What emerged from the dialogue between David and Brent was a transformation of the voice David used in his book.

If you've read my critique of the book, you know I found David Shaffer's concepts and organization to be inaccessible and difficult to apply.(Brent had a very different experience, that I'll make sense of in another post) This is a sharp contrast to Jay Cross' book: Informal Learning which is very accessible due to Jay's use of metaphors, personal stories and visual explanations.

Brent offered a different frame than the one David used in the book. David took advantage of the opportunity without hesitation. Brent's frame sought to continue an important conversation, fill in missing pieces of a new picture, get help with sticking points, see the nature of the change more clearly and value the book's message in other contexts.

David joined in and revealed his thinking about: reaching a wide audience, the objections of his publisher, the limited focus of his research and the arguments he makes in the book. This is not more of the same voice he used in the book. This is a transformed voice that is highly accessible, "readable" and captivating. David had to let go of his author role and reinvent himself as a facilitator of conversations and communities. He would say he is playing a different epistemic game now.

I'm currently reading Made To Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. The authors reveal how to make presentations sticky, in the sense defined by Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point. I have been disappointed that the opening chapters of Made To Stick are NOT sticky.

Yesterday I read the Heath Brothers' "bait to buy the book" at the Change This site: Talking Strategy. Their 27 page PDF is VERY sticky. Their voices have been transformed. They let go of the SME tone of the book and are practicing what they've been preaching. We can learn from their example, instead of their advice. The authors will likely "transform the ecology beyond their own network", as George Siemens would say.

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