Taking time to learn something new

IMG_0457Some knitting projects take me a weekend; others several months. I have just finished this small blanket. It is made with various hues of deep blue, purple and gray with accents in black. I think it’s an analogy about adult learning and how it takes time to absorb new material.

Here’s where I’m going with this: Last week I was teaching a software application of a patient database. The workshops weren’t long, but the goal was to show existing employees the upgraded features of the software. While the feedback of the classes was very good, many said they had to practice with the new software to feel comfortable. This made me think of “cognitive load.” Some topics are very dense and take time to comprehend. Throwing a lot of new information within the span of a short class showing dozens of screens can be daunting.

I gently told the learners that the material itself is not new. They still have to enter demographics or clinical data, or progress notes. It’s just that the buttons or icons or menus have changed. I didn’t teach processes; just mechanics. In truth, I empathize with the learners. A new software interface takes time to comprehend even if their work doesn’t change.

So, whether a knitting project can take an afternoon or several months, sometimes after working on it a long time, that’s the best reward.