Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Recognition Primed Decision Making and entrepreneurship

At the Kauffman entrepreneurship workshop last week, a speaker made the comment that once you do something entrepreneurial once, you become aware of opportunities everywhere you go. This is a great example of RPD in action. A success of that nature (with lots of personal risk, hard work, time, etc.) will create a strong, large, and strongly interconnected schema. So it is very likely that new experiences will be evaluated using the entrepreneurship schema as the basis if they have even a little in common with it.

The same thing happens with my students after their HF class. Their class project is also very time consuming, effortful, challenging, and often fun. So for the rest of their lives, they see solvable usability problems everywhere they go.
Example of human factors in mass market religion.

I was thinking about the way many of the congregations I have attended pray and why I often find it unrewarding. The congregants get really used to saying the same prayers and singing the same songs over and over until it becomes aggregated into a single composite automatic schema. It becomes possible to say the prayer or sing the song with no attention to the words. After a while, you can ask the "expert" what the words MEAN, and they would have to think about it. They might not ever even have learned that part. The schema have strong links to the sensory, and perhaps the emotional areas of the brain, but they lose the links to the semantic.

Maybe I am different, but I would rather concentrate on the semantics.
Experiential Workshop on Entrepreneurship.

I just got back from a workshop on how to teach entrepreneurship using Experiential learning techniques. It was sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation, which is one of the major non-profit sources of entrepreneurship support. The workshop was excellent. But why do I bring it up in my HF blog? Two reasons:

1. As anyone in the HF field should no, experiential learning is powerful for many cognitive reasons. Experiental learning is more salient so the schema that you are trying to create get activated much stronger and lead to more learning. Experiential learning is also linked to more existing schema, so it is easier to encode, easier to store, and easier to recall when needed. Experiential learning is also more motivating because it is fun. At least when it is done right. I have seen the Phil Donohue method where the prof walks up to a student who clearly doesn't want to respond and forces the issue. I don't recommend this unless you have amazing interpersonal skills and a soft touch.

2. The second reason is that we need to know more about entrepreneurship in our field. Entrepreneurship is about pursuing opportunities, leveraging resources (especially other people's resources), and meeting market needs. How many of us could use more of this in our work.