Self-propagating workshops

(Salim Virani) #1

This is likely going to be a key concept in our transition from workshops to p2p.

There was this one-day course from Freeformers called Build A Facebook App In A Day. It covers HTML, CSS, Javascript and APIs. And the only prerequisite was: know how to use a browser.

It was a great course. After, I asked the teacher, why do you teach for loops, rather than do loops. Loops are ways to make the same commands run over and over. Do loops are simpler and more modern. For loops are old school and weird. This is basic stuff.

His answer was, “what’s a do loop? Those sound cool. I’ll look them up.”

Self-propagating workshops are where the student can be the teacher almost instantly after completing the workshop.

To make this happen, I think one needs to design strongly for 2 things:

  1. Minimise around practicality. Teach the minimum it takes to accomplish something specific. In this case, to build a specific Facebook app, one that finds the 5 of your friends that were on Facebook first.
  2. As the course progresses, layer on the attitude that the students should find their own answers to questions, rather than ask the teacher. In this case, to learn to find code online and copy-paste it to try it out.

Self-propagating workshops spread knowledge quickly. They do this through deep face-to-face interactions, rather than deep knowledge. They build real interpersonal connections - aka community - and self-reliance without the need for “experts.”

They work well in particular cases, like spread out cities as in the Balkans, or in close-knit communities that are hard to access by outsiders. Immersion and Village Accelerator are both good cases for self-propagation for these respective reasons.

And both need to spread on their own steam, and can’t rely on entrepreneurs or coders to teach them.

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