Search the Web for "generative understanding" and "generative learning."

The problem with the common time vs. attempts vs. progress learning
curve model is that it's applied to a single simple task. It "charts"
very well, but it's not a reliable model outside a lab experiment.

Generative understanding and generative learning view learning as
complex tasks in which forward progress can be set back when a new
component is introduced, until the new task is mastered, and the new
mastery is integrated with the older existing skills.

Consider learning to juggle. One ball in one hand is easy. One ball in
two hands is easy. Two balls in one hand is a bit harder. Two balls in
two hands is a bit harder. Three balls in one hand and three balls in
two hands is a lot harder - a big jump, even though this task is
comprised of the two simpler, previously mastered, tasks. The easy way
to measure progress is by adding balls to the juggle and counting how
many hit the floor (assuming gravity exists). Plotting the progress is
a mixture of starting points, gains, plateaus, setbacks when new
challenges are added, lather, rinse, and repeat.

Learning FrameMaker is really about learning how documents are
constructed and published. You learn to juggle a letter, word, phrase,
sentence, and paragraph. Then you juggle controlling the appearance of
each of these items separately in a systematic and consistent way -
character/font appearance properties and named formats/styles. Then
you juggle them together spatially - space between letters, between
words, between paragraphs;  starting position on page, in frame, in
column, across columns; keep with next and previous. Then you juggle
the prefix decorations - bullets and numbers. Then you juggle the
stage on which they appear - left/right/custom page master pages. Etc.
Reread this paragraph substituting "Word," "InDesign," or other tool
for "FrameMaker." It's not the tool, it's the process.

It's an Industrial Revolution assembly-line manufacturing process
applied to information rather than physical objects. You make
standardized interchangeable parts (styles/formats), apply them to
content/concept building blocks (headings, paragraphs, lists), and
build them into larger components (sections, chapters, books.) Because
they're standardized, you can rely on them to behave uniformly and
reliably in standard situations. FrameMaker's very good at this;
Word's been known to be fragile in some parts of its process.



Peter Gold
KnowHow ProServices

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