Main effect vs Side effect (12/30)
I'm writing 30 posts in 30 days. This is number 12.
I came across Teaching Tech Together again by Greg Wilson. I say “again” because I must have first come across it a few years ago. Now that I’m going through the website-book — it seems to be both at the same time — paying more attention, I saw things I didn’t discover the first time round.
Teaching Tech Together (or TTT) seems to teach instructors how to be better at teaching technology to learners. That’s the main aim of the website-book. So it has this rich trove of educational concepts: authentic tasks, minimal manuals, mental models, and so on.
Look for extra value in side effects
I’m not interested in teaching technology to learners. I’m not interested to be an instructor per se. However, I am highly interested in mastery and self-learning. What hooked me this time was I noticed how many of the learning concepts covered in the website-book can also be used by a highly motivated self-learner.
A self-learner like me looking to up their self-learning game.
Many years ago, I read somewhere that you know you have an awesome product when your users start using it for use-cases it was not originally designed for. If you flip that around, it also means, as a user or consumer, if you want extra value from your books or products, try using them in ways they were not designed for.
Warning: Do it in a safe way of course. Don’t put a hot iron on your face for comedy effect for example. Use your common sense.
2x any advice instantly
Another way to look for use-cases not meant for is to apply the opposite effect. Here’s an example just for book knowledge. If you read a crazy amount of non-fiction books like I do, and usually such books are simply idea books, one way to immediately double the value of those books to you is to take the ideas they present and try them both ways.
Trying both ways mean first, you do as the book suggests. Then, you do the opposite of that. You can poke reality and get interesting feedback far more quickly this way. Here’s a stupidly fictitious example: let’s say you have a career book. It gives a piece of useless advice like: to get ahead in your career, you need to deliver good quality work.
Trying it both ways is to purposely deliver good quality work and then bad quality work and see what happens.
I know that example sounds frivolous, but think about it: if any of these books are truly transformational, then you should only have one single book per topic. Why are there so many books written on the same topics over and over again? Since you only have so much time to read so many books, why not take each book you read and then 2x their value instantly by applying their advice both ways?