Involve me, I understand

Tell me, I forget; show me, I remember; involve me, I understand.

Chinese Proverb

Remembering is nothing to scoff at, but understanding, now that’s the good stuff. It’s the difference between seeing a picture of a room and walking around in it.

In the world of teaching, there’s some neat research about instructivism vs. constructivism.

Instructivism is a perspective on learning that places emphasis on the teacher in the role of an instructor that is in control of what is to be learned and how it is to be learned. The learner is the passive recipient of knowledge.

Constructivism is a theory in education that recognizes learners construct new understandings and knowledge, integrating with what they already know.


Constructivism naturally leads to active learning. You can’t construct anything if you’re a passive participant.

Involvement is why pair programming is so effective. It’s why board games sound overwhelming from reading the rules, but feel simple after two minutes of playing. It’s why watching someone cook chicken parmesan on YouTube is nothing like helping someone cook it.

How can you do less telling and more involving?

Related: “Say something 7 times and half of your people will say they’ve heard it once.”

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