“Learners Don’t Know What They Don’t Know”

Share this article


Leaders/trainers tend to assume that learners lack knowledge and therefore it is imperative that they must be taught everything.  To the surprise of non-believers, learners are able to discover learning on their own if they are allowed to.


In a lot of instances, we hear leaders/trainers say, “Learners don’t know what they don’t  know”.  The tendency is to assume that learners lack knowledge or do not know a lot. As a result, learners are inundated with knowledge from leaders/trainers rather than being allowed to go through the process of discovery. 

The challenge I pose to us today, is to acknowledge that we don’t have a monopoly of knowledge. We don’t know everything. There will be opportunities to learn from our learners, too. We must let go of our mistrust of our learners.  Begin to guide them through a process of discovering learning content. 

Using micro-scenarios and story interactions allow your learners to journey through simulated real-life events that help them to relate to it and uncover the embedded learning content.

Preview the vignette featured here and reflect on how micro-scenarios  and story interactions effectively enable you to enhance the learning process.

This vignette helps provoke a discussion on trusting and allowing learners and team members to discover solutions to problems. In many situations, trainers and leaders fail to recognize that team members and learners know better since they do their jobs. In training, we tend to dampen and discourage the learner when we kill their enthusiasm and their desire to discover solutions. 

Click here to preview the vignette.  Also read the explanation below.

In the vignette for the week – “Learners Don’t Know What They Don’t Know”, George, a team manager, is furious because Linda, a team member, did not strictly follow his instructions. George predicts the team will lose a client and blames her for it. The next day, the client calls and congratulates George for having Linda in his team. Too bad for George, she now wants to quit. What do you think went wrong in this situation? What should George do to straighten out matters? Click here to view “Learners Don’t Know What They Don’t Know”.

How to Use the Vignette

Although the situation presented is specific, this vignette covers a wide range of topics, including conflict-resolution, work ethics and other management-related issues. This vignette is very useful for eLearning sessions that require your learners’ undivided attention, especially those that deal with specific situations that need to be resolved in a timely manner. Use it as part of your lessons or as a post-training test. Face-to-face, eLearning or webinar, this vignette is a sure way to push your learners to the EDGE.

Vignettes are captivating and highly effective learning tools that can power up your classroom training, eLearning activities and social learning communities. Click here to view “Learners Don’t Know What They Don’t Know”.

Join us and tell us what you think about the vignettes and share with us if you have had similar experiences. Your feedback and insights are highly valued. Also feel free to send in your suggestions, comments, improvements or topics that are of interest to you. This can help us greatly in coming up with better vignettes, especially on topics that are of great relevance to you.

Ray Jimenez, PhD

Vignettes Learning
“Helping Learners Learn Their Way”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *