Monthly Archives: November 2015

Information? Or Instruction?

I recently began work on a new course-development project. The goal of the course is to prepare workers for a highly technical job in the petrochemical industry.

Like many courses, this one will be founded on a textbook selected by the project’s subject matter experts.

The textbook is a great resource, filled with tons of important information for the work these folks will do. At the same time, it’s pretty much useless. See, it’s a terrific reference manual – if you’re already familiar with the job and you just need to look something up. But for a novice? It’s just one, big, insurmountable wall of… stuff.

The problem is the way the book is organized. There’s a chapter for each type of process and each category of mechanism. But this structure doesn’t relate at all to the way a new technician will encounter these processes and mechanisms. Sure it tells them what they need to know, but it doesn’t tell them why or when. Continue reading