The case for learning science

In a perfect world, we’d spend all the time we want on learning. However, we don’t live in that world, we live in the real world. Which means our decisions are about tradeoffs. Which means we have to evaluate the case for paying attention to research. So here’s a stab at the case for learning science.

Learning is a probabilistic game. That is, there’s a probability that anything we’ve invested in learning will arise at the appropriate time. I’ll suggest that our brains have some randomness built into them, so there’s always a chance we’ll do things differently. Thus, in a sense, learning design is about increasing the probability that the right thing will occur.

And there are consequences. Say, for instance, that we want people to wash hands sufficiently. Then we might rightly work to increase awareness (along with making sure there’s soap, water, sinks, towels, etc) and the proper procedure. To do that sufficiently, say, takes X minutes of instruction.

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