Wednesday, 27 January 2010

How to handle complexity and how to prepare for the unexpected - A checklist approach

We have four light switches in our hallway.  Every morning, I try at least two before I switch on the right light.  Should I mark the switches?

Yesterday, I gave my partner the alarm code to my office, so that he could (very kindly) finish off some decorating work.  My only way to remember the code is visual.  I look at the keypad and punch in the numbers unconsciously.  So, he is surprised when I cannot remember the numbers and in what sequence.  Well, he rang from his mobile with the sound of the alarm (which was blasting VERY LOUDLY) and desperately punching in the numbers I had given him.  Unfortunately, only a call to my colleague confirmed that I had given him the right numbers, but in the wrong order!  Should I have the code along with all my usernames and passwords tattooed on my arm?

We all make mistakes and some key questions in designing blended learning are:
  • How do we handle complexity?
  • How do you prepare yourself for the unexpected?
  • How do you do it well and not just a tick box exercise?

A checklist can help. 
According to a report in the Telegraph recently, 82 patients underwent operations on wrong part of body.  The World Health Organisation has devised a surgical checklist, similar to pre-flight checks between pilots, designed to eliminate errors through miscommunication.
Many NHS trusts have adopted the WHO checklist as a routine safety measure.

What checklists would help you in everyday life and what would a checklist for designing and delivering blended learning look like?  Watch this space!

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