Apprenticeship -- how? LO11742

William Buxton (
Wed, 8 Jan 1997 13:12:07 -0500

Replying to LO11720 --

I would suggest thinking in terms of the major competencies that, when
mastered, would mean that the apprentice has indeed learned the trade.

For each, think about three main things: tasks, resources, and feedback.

Tasks are the things that, from your point of view, demonstrate
competence. They are, among other things, the set of ticket punches that
a veteran has completed. Most should be real work, not makework. Some
will be everday sorts of things, others may be bound to long cycles like
yearly budgeting, the implementation phase of a major project, etc.

Resources are mainly information--people, docs, etc.--that may be of help
in accomplishing the tasks. They can be textbooks, but usually aren't.
More whom to ask or where to look.

Feedback is essentially the question of how would you know you've done a
good job on the task. How would you know you're done?

Some of the best examples of this sort of approach I've seen included
assigning the apprentice improvement tasks--go find a better way to do X
and document/measure the improvement.

In general, you're giving the apprentice a shopping list of things to get
done on the job over time but basically putting the apprentice in charge
of controlling the apprenticeship. You'd be a frequent resource, no
doubt, and frequently part of the feedback process, but the apprentice
keeps tabs on what still needs to be done and manages his own use of info
resources. Accomplishing some tasks may call for assignments or authority
from you, and you can intitiate those or the apprentice can remind you
about them.

Time's short, so I have to close. Write me back if you'd like to pursue
any of this further.

-Bill Buxton


"William Buxton" <>

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