Teaching Thinking through Adapted Appreciative Inquiry

If you've been a reader of this blog for any period of time, you know that using questions  is something we regularly advocate for, in order to change people's thinking and thereby change their behavior on the job. But what if your learners have no preconceived notions on a topic to begin with? What if we don't want to change their thinking, we simply want to e x p a n d their thinking? That's when Appreciative Inquiry  can be an excellent tool for teaching thinking skills.
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Why Knowledge Management is NOT the Answer

4 Levels of Learning Outcomes According to Wikipedia, Knowledge management (KM) is the process of creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of an organization. At first-read this sounds like a great idea, and many organizations have spent many millions of dollars in the last 20 years to collect and catalog the knowledge their employees possess, in order to "preserve" it and share it. There is one glaring problem with this approach - knowing what you know and knowing how you arrived at the answer are worlds apart. As the illustration at left shows us, knowledge is at the lowest level of learning. Indeed it is the foundation upon which all learning, skill and ability is built, but having knowledge alone is not enough.
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How Apprenticeships and Teaching Thinking go Hand-in-Hand

If I were to ask you to picture a cell phone - would you picture a baseball sized item, battleship grey, with a silver antenna you had to pull out of the top? Of course not. That is a cell phone of yesteryear. Yet when we mention the word "apprenticeship" to organizations or individuals, the most frequent reaction is, "Oh, that's not for us/me; apprenticeships are for manufacturing, hands-on labor, blue-collar jobs." Not so! Those are apprenticeships of yesteryear. Welcome to the new era of apprenticeships - they just might save your organization. On June 29th President Trump signed an Executive Order - Apprenticeship and Workforce of Tomorrow - to expand apprenticeships in the US.  The goal is 5 million apprenticeships in the next 5 years (currently there are 450,000 registered apprenticeships in America).
It shall be the policy of the Federal Government to provide more affordable pathways to secure, high paying jobs by promoting apprenticeships and effective workforce development programs.
According to the Department of Labor, companies in all sectors of the American economy are facing complex workforce challenges and increasingly competitive domestic and global markets. Apprenticeships are one key to helping people who have been left behind by shifts in the economy and how work is done.

The Success of Apprenticeships

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