I had a high school teacher who observed that the male students
seemed to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to
be male students, and the female students seemed
to spend a lot of time trying figure out how to
get male students.
As I work with companies implementing both social networking and
simulation technology, I have observed a new hierarchy of needs.
1. Learning to Be
People strive to know who they are. What do they like to do, and
what do they hate to do? With whom are they most comfortable, or
motivated, or depressed? Who are their role models? How can they
get satisfaction and sustainability out of life? What are their
priorities? What is a good day and what is a bad day? Where do they
fall on the issues of the day? Is it better to be directive or
As people figure this out, they want to test this new personality
out on the world. They make comments online, and post pictures.
They speak up at meetings. They give suggestions and then orders of
their co-workers, friends, and subordinates. They strive
understanding and validation.
To a large degree, this has been the drive of much of
social networking and web 2.0, as
well as pop culture, and "Cosmo" and Match.com self-tests. People
today strive for self definition increasingly globally, not just
defining themselves by where they live, where they work, or as a
friend or enemy of the next door neighbor.
2. Learning to Do
People then want to have a impact on the flow of their world - to
change the course of activity in a positive way because of what
This is where the big skills, such as leadership, stewardship,
project management, and innovation come in. This is where people
put forth some blood, sweat, and tears, and experience ownership
This is where simulations play a critical role.
Immersive learning simulations, especially practiceware, have
the ability to give people ten years of distilled experience in 15
Sims develop an awareness of the all-critical "active knoweldge"
- the hidden system that too often counter-intuitively
connect the two.
3. Learning to Know
At this point comes the learning to know. This might be
cultural literacy/history, or organizational history, or trivia.
This is where we try to make sense of the world we inherited - to
piece together the giant puzzle. This is where books and the
History Channel become so interesting. It is around this third
category that academics has built both their curricula and their
research process, one of the reasons I have so little hope for the
role of Ph.d dominated
Foundations to add significantly to the first two.
I say again that what we teach is limited by what we can teach.
The exciting thing about this new media order is that we have more
power at our fingertips for development than ever before.