Highlight the essentials

Author(s): Klas Karlgren

Affiliation(s): Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Date of publication: June 29, 2016

The Educational Problem

This pattern concerns problems related to learners who are overwhelmed in a new domain and in need of structure that makes explicit the most important concepts of a domain as a start for developing new knowledge practices. This pattern was originally developed in the context of simulation-based training of teams in healthcare but can probably be useful in many contexts where a group of learners are introduced to a new conceptual framework.

  • Learners may be overwhelmed by the complexity of a new domain.
  • Course participants may lack knowledge about and fail to see the importance of essential activities like making analyses.
  • Course participants do not expect to learn to make such analyses.
  • Participants may have wrong expectations about expertise; a common misconception is that experienced practitioners master teamwork and leadership skills, and that skills are implicitly picked up through experience.
  • Other problems concern the design or presentation of the essential concepts; if a model is too complex it risks not being learned, used and remembered.

The Solution

Therefore, provide a simple model making explicit the most important concepts and tasks to support learners to start developing new knowledge practices. Base the model on other well-known models to support learning.

The Context

Use when structure is important and when focus and precision in analyses are desired but when there is limited time to study more complex models, or if a goal is to develop a shared understanding or coherence in the team’s views. Beware of the risk of over-simplification if a model is taken as the final truth.

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