Sunday, 11 January 2009

Learning from Experience is easy, if you do it the hard way

Anyone can learn from experience. Even my dog learns from experience. Three times she has tangled with an electric fence (once even managing to clip herself to the fence with the clip on her lead - which led to a hectic time for all concerned) and now she has learned, the hard way, that electric fences are to be avoided. Its easy to learn from experience, if the experiences are powerful enough.

It's a lot more challenging, but a lot more beneficial, to learn from the experiences of others. If the experiences are bad, we'd rather not learn the hard way by experiencing them ourselves. We don't want to learn from our own experience that you should not pet a rattlesnake, or stick a knife in a toaster, or eat soap. We rely on others to give us warning, based on someone else's hard won lessons. At work, our Knowledge Management systems should be designed to allow us to learn from the experiences of others, so we dont have to learn things the hard way ourselves.

If only dogs could share their knowledge, and their experiences of electric fences, their life would be a lot more pleasant!

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