Friday, January 28, 2011

Learning and Unlearning

Learning is fun, unlearning not so much.

I learned to build web sites starting in 1995 using HTML coded by hand. I learned to lay out pages using tables, with columns and rows laboriously defined by tags.
table tr td /td td /td etc. etc.
Today I have Dreamweaver CS5 on my computer, with a wealth of tools and whistles I haven’t yet learned to use. To learn to build a site with today’s Dreamweaver, I have to first unlearn my old ways of doing things.

We often hear about the challenges of continuous workplace learning, but sometimes the toughest part is the unlearning.

Learning is not so tough; unlearning, that’s a different story.

Maybe unlearning can be accomplished using the same techniques that work so effectively to encourage learning:
  1. Motivation. Engage myself by thinking about the benefits. I can create pages must faster and easier once I learn Dreamweaver. My pages will be coded to modern standards, not dinosaur pages from the 90s.
  2. Clear Objectives. State a goal that is easily measured. I will build one new page by the end of the month.
  3. Chunking. Start with a Dreamweaver template. Deconstruct it a little as a time.
  4. Practice. I’ll work on a real project with real deadlines and benefits. Nothing spurs learning like urgency.
Learning is fun. Unlearning just another form of learning.