Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Friday, February 28, 2014

QOTD: The Curse of Knowledge

The longer you know about a topic, the harder and harder it is to explain it to newcomers. . . Work to avoid The Curse of Knowledge in all aspects of your life.  You have no idea how important it will be to the people around you.
~Stubborn, "The Curse of Knowledge"
Stubborn is batting a thousand this week. I love when a writer can succinctly illustrate a concept I have struggled to convey well. I believe educators have an edge here, for some of the reasons that Stubborn outlines in his post. Beyond having knowledge in a given subject, educators are (usually) trained on how to share their knowledge effectively.

I will boast of having a certain knack for teaching, not to mention experience. But as a technical trainer, I also become frustrated with rigid insistence from certain quarters that we should cover what I consider basic GUI functionality, partly because I think students in my class should already have that knowledge as a prerequisite, and partly because it prevents me from covering more advanced topics thoroughly in the limited time we have available to train. I sometimes go to the other extreme, as Scooter will confirm, explaining something to someone that they are already perfectly capable of accomplishing without my instructions.

I am sure I fall victim to the Curse of Knowledge on occasion (probably more often than I think), and it is something I wrestle with every time I post. How much should I digress to explain a game-related term, and how much should I rely on you, Dear Reader, to already know about the topic at hand?

Stubborn cautions against falling into the trap of "Priesthood" as Raph Koster put it. As we try to form stronger, inclusive communities in the games we play, we need to be prepared to properly educate newcomers; by which I mean sharing our knowledge in away they can absorb it, without belittling their intelligence.
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1 comment:

  1. EVE is the classic example. But I've seen this problem even in the ESO beta - players who have never played an MMO before uncertain of how some core features (that we take for granted) work.