Photo by Darwin Vegher on Unsplash

This next Ontario Extend activity is find a concept in my discipline, break it into its component skills, and compare it to driving a car. Many students find learning software and managing computer files a challenge. I think it is like driving a car.

Do you have everything you need?
The first time you learn to drive a car you check to make sure you have the tools you need. The same goes for learning software and managing computer files do you have a computer, software and a login?

I know it feels scary but give it a try…
It feels scary the first time you are in the driver’s seat even with a good coach beside you. You need encouragement to slowly step on the gas, proceed and reminders to watch for pedestrians. It is different then riding a bicycle even though you did that for many years and thought it would be the same. The first time students use computer software (and realize it is different then email or social media) they are nervous and they need encouragement to try it on their own, reminders and repetition so that they can learn the steps in the process.

The Challenge…
The problem is once we have been driving for awhile, we assume the new driver will make sure they are in reverse before stepping on the gas to back out of the parking spot. In the same way that we assume the student new to file management will understand that if they do not “save as” their file they will save over the work in the file.

We make these assumptions because we have been doing this so long we no longer think about the steps in the process. I am learning in the Ontario Extend mOOC that is known as “Expert Blindspot” and it is suggested that we should be diligent in our effort to remember what it was like to learn at the beginning (eCampus Ontario, 2019).

Don’t give up…
Often when we are learning to drive we make mistakes and if they are big enough we want to give up and go back to our bicycle. However, with our eye on the freedom that driving will give us and encouragement from our coach we keep practicing. Same goes for learning software and managing files. How often does the new student lose their file or worse work many hours only to discover they have been working in a temporary download and never saved it in the first place? Many students want to quit but with encouragement they keep practicing.

One day the new driver is driving without thinking about it. Muscle memory has kicked in and they have their freedom. Same with software and managing files. One day, without realizing it students are locating, editing and saving files without thinking about it. They now suffer from “expert blind spot”.

What is the cure?
The cure for expert blindness (in my opinion) is to learn something new and regularly so that I can remember what it is like to be a beginner.

eCampus Ontario. (2019). EXTEND 101-EN.1 – Extend MOOC. Module 1: Teacher for Learning Mastery.

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