Sheep dip training doesn’t work

Between one of my best buds and I, some of the parts below on learning is already nothing new to us. But I appreciate its being mentioned in the book. It kinda validates our perceptions on learning i.e., you’ve got to be willing to learn and no matter how hard anyone force-feeds information to you, if you yourself aren’t willing and taking up measures to learn, then nothing will happen.

Excerpts from Chapter 6: Learning Deliberately of Pragmatic Thinking & Learning

Education comes from the Latin word educare, which literally means “led out,” in the sense of being drawn forth… we don’t generally think of education in that sense… Instead, it’s far more common to see education treated as something that’s done to the learner as something that’s poured in, not drawn out.

Sheep dip training – You line up unsuspecting employees, dunk them in an intensive three-to-five-day event in an alien environment devoid of any connection to their day-to-day world, and then proclaim them to be Java developers, .Net developers, or what have you. It wears off, of course, so next year you need to have a “refresher” course another dip.

Sheep dip training doesn’t work because

  • Learning isn’t done to you; it’s something you do.
  • Mastering knowledge alone, without experience, isn’t effective.
  • A random approach, without goals and feedback, tends to give random results.

A single, intense, out-of-context classroom event can only get you started in the right direction, at best. You need continuing goals, you need to get feedback to understand your progress, and you need to approach the whole thing far more deliberately than a once-a-year course in a stuffy classroom.