“Primer” is an unsituated framing

I’ve often thought about my goals in terms of “making The Primer++”. But when I dream about a future of learning, the very notion of a “primer” actually seems wrong. I want to be learning in the course of legitimate participation in the practice I’m actually interested in—Situated learning. Ideally, that means participation (however initially peripheral) in real creative or intellectual projects, in a community of practice. Enabling environments focus on doing what’s enabled. A “primer” implies a frame of preparation, a shallow kiddy pool where you need to learn the basics before you can get your nose out of the book and participate for real.

Novices in enabling environments often can’t do what’s enabled That’s a real design problem for communities of practice. But I think it can (usually? always?) be overcome. I want to adopt a frame which implies that aspiration; “primer” does not.

More specifically, in the case of The Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer: The Primer is one big “onboarding” experience for the rest of Nell’s life.

Last updated 2024-04-15.