Show Your Work

Jane Bozarth's Show Your Work beautifully describes how we need to rethink teaching and learning. It's perhaps one of the best designed Learning & Development books published—it is well written and artfully filled with numerous examples and illustrations. When I first heard about the book I thought it would be only about showing your work to others so they can learn from you. While it does do that, it goes beyond—such as showing your work to others to receive critical feedback, or laying out your work so that you can talk about it to yourself and reflect upon it in order to gain a deeper understanding on what else needs to be done.

While the learning and development craft has become very good at instructing explicit knowledge and skills, training tacit knowledge and skills often fall short of delivering expert performance because it fails to place the learning in the context of workflow. Thus, Show Your Work is the bridge that crosses over from the explicit to the tacit by using great examples, such as showing the steps, lessons learned, and managing exceptions that help people learn the more difficult task through a series of photos, video, posting on a blog, etc. that people can easily find and relate to.

What is interesting is how Jane's book fits into Nonaka and Takeuchi's Four Modes of Knowledge Creation (from the The Knowledge Creating Company):

  • Socialization: from tacit to tacit - Sharing experiences to create tacit knowledge, such as making a video of how you learned something.
  • Internalization: from explicit to tacit - “Learning by doing.” By following the examples in Show Your Work you can learn to create short learning experiences that can be easily followed by others.
  • Externalization: from tacit to explicit - Using explicit concepts such as metaphors, analogies, concepts, hypothesis, or models to provide the big picture.
  • Combination: from explicit to explicit - People exchange and combine knowledge through various media, such as documents and conversations.

For more on the Four Modes of Knowledge Creation, see Knowledge and The Knowledge Spiral.

I highly recommend putting Jane Bozarth's Show Your Work on your reading list.


Jane Bozarth said...



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