Don’t chew the shoes

Posted by Jim Klaas on March 30, 2012
InstructionalDesign, learning

Find out what two squirrels taught me about learning.
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Happy Learning.

About the 1 Minute Learner
Jim Klaas is a learning coach, author, and the founder of DevEd International, a firm specializing in innovative learning solutions and international development. Find out more at

The other day two squirrels got into our house and started raising havoc. They knocked over plants, ran around, chewed in the walls and all of us were getting desperate to get them outside. At one point the nervous tension was just too much for them and one of them chewed the laces off my shoe.

I was glad it was an old pair and not the leather couch but I marvelled how they just had to do something that really didn’t solve their problem at all.

So here is my point about learning. Sometimes we who construct learning exercises just have to get the participants to do something so we get them to chew the shoes instead of solving the real problem. Busy work. Hoop jumping. Fill-in-the-obvious.

I want learning exercises that help me: try out new ideas and think out-loud; practice the skills I need to learn; connect me to others, reflect on my progress and inspire me to continue the change process.

I did get the squirrels out alive and I hope we both learned our lesson.

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