Training Wheels

training wheels
Image used under a Creative Commons license from http://www.flickr.com/photos/adwriter/467754255/sizes/o/

Seth Godin’s post, “The Reason Riding a Unicycle is Difficult”, struck home with me and reminded me of the importance of scaffolding.  How many times have we said, “It doesn’t make sense just yet, but you’ll love it once it does” when introducing a database or web 2.0 tool to students or teachers?

Learning things that are binary like this is quite difficult. They are difficult to market because people don’t like to fail. They’re difficult to master because people don’t like to fall. “You don’t get it, but you will,” is a hard sell.

How do we create the “non-unicycle” moments?  How do we provide that appropriate scaffolding so that our students and teachers don’t have to take that huge leap of faith in our promises that something will be easy once they get the hang of it?  How do we provide training wheels (or in Seth’s case, Rollerblades) to help our students gain confidence and fluency when we are introducing a new skill?

Thank you, Seth for reminding me to provide more training wheels and fewer unicycle moments.

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