This Guest paper series was originally published by the Cutter Consortium Agile Product & Project Management Advisory Service in 2009. It is reproduced here, with permission from the publishers (

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Part 1 published here September 2014.

Introduction | Expertise Defined | The Stages of Learning
A Template for Learning | The Training Gap | PART 2

The Training Gap

Obviously, training knowledge workers is a far more complex challenge than teaching someone how to play soccer. In IT projects, roles such as project manager, business analyst, architect, and developer involve significant levels of complexity and subjectivity that go beyond the confines of the soccer pitch or the relatively simple set of rules by which soccer is played. Despite the additional challenge, the levels defined by Bloom and the conditions identified by Klein still represent the basic architecture around which knowledge workers develop higher-order thinking skills.

As with learning to play soccer, the starting point lies in attaining basic knowledge, and in the IT sector most introductory training naturally focuses on the lower levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. After a certain level of experience has been achieved, many people move on to complete one or more of the currently popular certification programs. Such programs are often used by organizations as a benchmark for assessing capabilities and, in theory, certification programs indicate that a certain level of professional capability has been attained.

Unfortunately, while certification programs often attempt to extend the learning experience into the higher-order thinking skills, in practice, by nature of the way the learning is usually structured (textbook learning, self-study, and multiple choice exams), such programs once again naturally gravitate back to the lower levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. Despite the promise that certification programs would improve standards, in many cases achieving certification indicates little more than that a person has the ability to memorize material for an exam.

Next month, in Part 2, I shall discuss the challenges in reaching the highest order thinking skills especially when associated with IT projects.

A Template for Learning  A Template for Learning

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