At the heart of the learning system, the COR framework consists of pieces that, in the end, seem self-evident in import and perfectly linked in effect. Some call this the AYB ABTU COR, from the gamer saying, All your bases are belong to us, the statement of ultimate victory.
- Context, Objectives & Resources
- supporting a sequence of Simple, Obvious & Necessary actions,
- that marshals random, personal skills
- to achieve defined business objectives
- and realise the broader mission.
With every project, I gain a richer understanding of learning elements and how to develop and use them. Here’s where I start:
Context is a primary benefit of focused learning. Information is all around us – data, opinions, a fug of posturing – so simply establishing context is a watershed action: The unknown land reaches the horizon.
- Where am I?
- Where am I going?
- Why do I want to get there?
- What do I know or see or imagine that might help me on the way?
The answers help the learner sift possibilities and choose right action.
Objectives benchmark progress and allow the learner to appreciate and celebrate small and large achievements along the road. While the learner sets personal project objectives, the learning framework sets micro-learning objectives for each step. These steps are the Lincoln-logs that help the learner achieve their targets.
- What does this knowledge gain me?
- How can I leverage it to move toward my goals?
- What other learning steps does this subsume, require or posit?
All learners benefit from understanding and considering options. Not all the options will be engaged in the learner’s final solution. The process depends upon Ta’whayl:
- Take what you like – and leave the rest.
Not everything is for everyone, but everyone has important talents and insights to contribute at every stage in the learning experience.
Resources for the dynamic on-line course are drawn by the learner from the vast resources of the Web. The framework provides starting points – trusted writers, well-grounded viewpoints, innovative spins, often a thoughtful contrarian.
- What readings stimulate my imagination? Open new possibilities?
- What is the research? What are the data on which these ideas are based? How can looking at the data help me craft the solutions I need?
- Which writers help me understand? Who speaks my language?
- Who shows me when the idea is taken a step too far? Where do I need to look instead?
The answers help the learner construct reference lists to continue learning beyond the COR project.
Sequencing is crucial, not only for retention, attention and enjoyment, but also to forge a logical competence that will serve the learner moving forward. For my purposes, I begin by establishing clear pre-requisites. This enables each project to move forward smoothly without detours to back-fill basics – detours that are inevitably both too simplistic for the skilled and too opaque for the clueless.
Simple units of doing. So learners understand the issues involved and the skills, even before learning them. This leads to frequent pats on the back and community cred.
- What is this thing?
- How do other folks do it?
- How can I do it?
- How does it help me?
For each learning step, I ask a question or two for context, define the simple objective, then turn loose the learner on the Web, with a couple of toe-in-the-water references.
- Then the proof is, Can you do it? Now?
Obvious connection from each step to the next. Ideally, whatever But-what? that comes up – that’s what’s addressed next.
- What potential of the last task is expressed here?
- How does that connection help me understand both actions?
- How does it help me understand how and when to use them?
- What else about this do I want to know?
The obviousness about both small task and larger challenges helps learners see how each task and each set of tasks lets them do something they want or need to do.
Necessary sequence: Not only what pops up in your mind, but the action that makes sense of what you just learned and takes it forward. Necessity is a chain of the obvious that builds inexorably toward accomplishment on both the micro- and macro-level, within each step and challenge as well as among challenges.
- Now I get it.
- AYB ABTU!
The thread of necessity I find the most difficult to spin. It makes me hammer out inconsistencies, integrate or discard potential elements and craft a viable, useful, adaptable project.
- That’s how I work it. How do you?
Want to be a learner? Find a community. Pick a position. Start now.
PQ note: This piece derives from a proposal for an on-line English writing and design curriculum for a local college. While the proposal did not bear fruit, I have been applying these principles to develop COR learning programs for others. I’m interested in what other educators and learners think of this approach – hardly new, but none the less radical.