Novices in enabling environments often can’t do what’s enabled

New participants in an Enabling environment may not immediately be able to do what it enables. The typical solution is an abstract introductory experience: explanatory guides, onboarding classes, background readings, etc. These supports can help new participants eventually access what an environment enables, but they’re not ideal: Enabling environments focus on doing what’s enabled.

It’s often possible to improve an environment’s design to support more immediate participation (e.g. with Cognitive scaffolding). One powerful design approach: Enacted experiences can bootstrap active participation in enabling environments.

Situated learning (see in particular Situated Learning - Lave and Wenger) suggests that this problem can be overcome through legitimate peripheral participation: you can usually do part of the thing, particularly if you’re sitting alongside an expert.

Last updated 2024-04-03.