Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Apprenticeships: A story

In thinking about apprenticeships, I am reminded of a story of a young man who wanted to learn about jade. So he went to the jade master who agreed to teach him about jade. The master had the young man sit in front of him, gave him a piece of jade to hold in his hands, and began to talk about life. At the end of several hours, he sent the young man home and told him to return the next day.

When the young man returned the next day, he again had him hold a piece of jade and spoke to him all day long about the wonders of nature. At the end of the day, he sent the young man home. This ritual went on for several days.

Finally one morning the young man came and protested. He wanted to learn about jade, not about these other things. What was the master doing? The master asked him to be quiet and to sit down and again handed him a stone. The young man exclaimed, "this is not jade!" "See," said the master, "you have been learning."

In apprenticeships (as with internships and on-the-job training) learning can happen passively. One learns by interacting with the materials, the processes and the people -- valuable ways of learning.

Bottom line -- We need to explore apprenticeships as a way of indoctrinating more people to creating, managing, marketing and preserving digital assets.


Mitch Mitchell said...

Very wonderful post, and you're absolutely right. Apprenticeships aren't close to what they used to be, but many of the jobs people could apprentice for pay really well.

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