What do you do in a totally unprecedented situation, when there are no answers?
One thing you can do when you don't yet have answers is focus on asking more effective questions.
Another thing to do is to reach out to others to create communities and networks that can provide resources, guidance, and support.
None of us has all the answers, but together, we can move closer to asking the right questions.
That's what our Learn and Get Smarter community has been doing for the past several weeks, and our collective efforts have been yielding powerful results.
At last Saturday's Learn and Get Smarter community meeting we put together our work from earlier meetings to set up a cognitive strategies ("learning how to learn") course.
We decided to call the course
"Novel Solutions to a Novel Crisis."
Individually and collectively, we were impressed with what we came up with as a group, because none of us alone could have created what we all created together.
I want to extend a very special thank you to everyone who has been part of this process. If you haven't been able to participate so far, come next time and contribute your ideas!
At next week's community meeting we will start to plan and develop the media needed to build the course (media such as PDFs, Word Docs, interactive elearning activities, and PowerPoints.)
I hope you can join us to add your wisdom, insights, and perspective!
We'll start planning and developing our actual course media!
To develop the course content, we'll draw on the question banks we came up with in previous weeks, relating to attitude adjustments, practical skills, and learning strategies that can help us cope with this unprecedented situation.
After exploring helpful mindset adjustments we can make, we realized that mindset change is only PART of what we need to focus on. We decided that our course will not be a mindset course, but it may have some mindset change components in it.
We realized that while the current pandemic calls for the development of new skills in every area of life, skills alone will not give us everything we need to survive and thrive. Even the skills themselves, that we came up with, were heavily oriented in the direction of learning what we need to know in order to cope. We realized that our course would not be a "how-to" course, even though learning new skills would be part of what we need to learn. Clarity was emerging that this would instead be a cognitive strategies course, focused on learning how to learn about the new situation we all find ourselves in.
Our process of ongoing reflection and questioning led us to the realization that when there are not yet any clear definitive answers, the best one can do is ask the most powerful questions. We explored questions to ask in all areas of our lives and on all levels of society, from the personal to the global and from the physical to the spiritual.
The process we are using to develop this "crowdsourced" learning experience, differs in important ways from the process you would use to create your own individual course in your own area of expertise.
The pandemic is an area in which none of us has expertise. Even the experts in global health don't yet have the full range of expertise needed to handle such an unprecedented situation effectively. We are all participants in a global learning experience in which the stakes are as high as they can possibly be, for everyone involved.
Learning is always about adapting to one's environment in ways that promote survival. But the stakes are not usually as clear and as stark as they are now.
As experts in our own fields who are interested in developing transformative online courses, the pandemic provides an opportunity to learn about learning itself (and online learning in particular) in ways we have never seen before.
In your own area of expertise, you can use the Course Design Formula® as a set of guidelines to structure your extensive prior knowledge in ways that help people benefit from what you already know.
But when, as in this situation, no one yet has the right expertise, we must instead rely on unguided discovery learning.
We are feeling our way in the dark, and finding out where the limits and edges are by running into them. Working together as a community, we can find those edges faster and bring our collective wisdom and energy to bear on a problem that impacts us all.
to continue this journey of exploration!