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By Dr. Harry Tennant

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Great expectations

In order to improve, we need to find the knowledge gaps. Knowledge gaps show themselves as surprises. When we're surprised, it is because we were expecting something else.

A surprise is a violated expectation. I expected X, I got Y, surprise! If we want to accelerate learning, make expectations more explicit.

A nice type of expectation is a measurement of outcome. For example, you teach your class to add single digit numbers and you expect that they will be able to pass a test adding single digit numbers. If they can't, surprise! The lesson needs improvement.

But what about less well-defined activities? What if you're going into a meeting to discuss a certain topic. Eventually the meeting will be over. Was it a success? The only way to know is to set your expectations before the meeting. What would a successful outcome look like? If you've set your expectations, there is a way to judge success or failure. If there is, there is some way to determine whether you understand what you're doing.

If your expectations are consistently off, you don't understand what you're doing. You have an opportunity to learn. And that's great because you have a specific opportunity to improve. Great expectations!

Posted at 12:00 AM Keywords: continuous improvement , surprises 0 Comments

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