Part 2 of 3 – Rote Learning Reduces Team Peformance

How can rote learning be characterized?

  • It’s a single source of truth
  • The “Master” holds the truth until the minion is anointed as new master
  • Mastery takes a very long time to achieve
  • Mastery demands deep understanding

Contrast this with the Agile Manifesto, whereby the team is encouraged to respond to change. In today’s world, change seems to be a frequent occurrence. Even small, incremental changes have a large cumulative affect over time. Motivated, empowered, confident individuals are well suited to manage the tumult.

This frequency of change often precludes a single master’s ability to stay on top of everything. Remember, the master cannot make a mistake. This places an incredible burden on the master to retain the infallible status. One strategy would be for the master to defer action (new learning) until instructed from their superiors. Basically, when the CEO determines it’s time to update to Windows Vista, then that’s a good time to do so.

Finally, consider the risks a student takes in that they endeavor to not disappoint the master. Agile assumes that lessons are learned from experiments. Note that experiments may “fail”, rendering a potential loss of student esteem. (Many folks are of the opinion that one learns from experiments so a failed experiment isn’t bad.)

Obviously, I take a dim view of rote learning. However, if one’s primary education is rooted in rote learning, there may be baggage that precludes active, incremental learning assumed by the Agile Manifesto authors. And by your management team.

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Part 2 of 3 – Rote Learning Reduces Team Peformance

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