The Importance of Shared Mental Models

I agree with Clark Quinn about the need for “mental models” when he says:
“I have long argued that we don’t use mental models enough in our learning, and also that we focus too much on knowledge and not enough on skills.” (from his recent Blog Post here).

Yes. For some reason I always strove to create some “icon” for every major consulting ISD development project – something for the learners. Something they could hang the piece parts of learning onto – as they accumulated awareness, knowledge and skills required for the defined terminal Learning Goal as a Performance Competence:

Performance Competence is the ability (of individuals, teams, departments, functions, and the enterprise and it’s Value Chains) to perform tasks to produce outputs to meet stakeholder requirements.

In complex learning the mental model is best when it is an authentic frame of reference that has utility for the learner as a learner and then later as a performer.

Thinking that the learner is always a learner and not thinking of them as learners learning to perform as a performer first and foremost – can take your adventures in learning off the path of having “returns” for the enterprise first and the learners/Performers second.

That’s the way you’d think about it if it were your money owning 100% of the shares in your enterprise. Unless you just didn’t care about returns on your investments and are willing to go broke.

Here is a former post with one of the “mental models as icons” I’ve created in the past on Labor Relations for the former Illinois Bell (back in 1991).

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