Monday, 19 October 2015

MEWT4 Post #2 - A coaching model for model recognition - Ash Winter


As part of my role, I often coach testers through the early part of their career. In this context I have noted a pattern in the application and interpretation of models. They are generated internally through various stimuli (learning, influence of others, organizational culture) and then applied subconsciously for the most part, until there is sufficient external scrutiny to recognize them. To this end, I have created a model of questions to help testers to elevate their internal models to a conscious level and begin to articulate them.

To this end I hope to articulate at MEWT:

  • Presentation of the model of questions to determine internal models in use, without introducing models explicitly.
  • Use of Blooms Taxonomy to visualize a coachees modelling paradigm and the steps towards modelling consciously.
  • Practical examples of using this model to assist early career consulting testers to cope with new client information saturation.
Slides for the talk by Ash can be download here -


The first speaker at Mewt was Ash Winter who talked about his experience of coaching and how coaches have their own internal models which still could be wrong.  Ash talked about the issue he and other coaches have experienced with using models and the risk that they can limit your thinking.  He had noticed that some coaches talk about models without really recognizing that they are using a particular model.  This appears to be especially true in the testing domain.

Ash presented a different coaching model based on Blooms taxonom  to provide a framework of asking questions of those you are coaching rather than providing answers.  Ash stated that we should, as coaches, “Build your model on pillars of questions, not answers.  You are coaching”

The levels of Blooms taxonomy can be seen here:

An in-depth look at Blooms taxonomy can be found here.

Ash displayed a different variant of this during his talk:

Ash stated that he felt that Blooms was good for learning and it was useful for coaching as well.  Since Blooms works on the basis that you work towards goals this also then applies to those who coach and utilize coaching models.   

Ash also stated that his model for coaches is for those who are experienced as coaches and who are involved in coaching those who are early in their career as a tester.  As with any other model Ash did point out that he felt this was a new coaching model which was still evolving and emergent and wanted input for the wider community?

During the discussion after Ash has spoken I highlighted that the Blooms taxonomy approach does have some flaws especially in a digital driven learning environment in which we are now situated. 
The hierarchical approach of Blooms does not encourage deep and meaningful learning aided by digital media.

The problem with taxonomies is their attempt to pin down the complexity of cognition in a list of simple categories. In practice, learning doesn’t fall into these neat divisions. It’s a much more complex and messier set of cognitive processes.
Issues with Bloom taxonomy further reading:

There are alternative learning models which appear to overcome these flaws in Blooms and maybe mixing them together will provide a more robust model for Ash to work with.

For example:
“Heutagogy is the study of self-determined learning … It is also an attempt to challenge some ideas about teaching and learning that still prevail in teacher centred learning and the need for, as Bill Ford (1997) eloquently puts it ‘knowledge sharing’ rather than ‘knowledge hoarding’. In this respect heutagogy looks to the future in which knowing how to learn will be a fundamental skill given the pace of innovation and the changing structure of communities and workplaces.”
“Connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired. The ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital. The ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday is also critical.”
At the end of the talk by Ash the group felt they needed to go away and think more about the ideas Ash has discussed.

To finish I will leave you with a quote from Ash during the talk:

A lot of people do not know what models are sometimes they emerge during applied practice

1 comment:

  1. Thanks John, further reading on your links has led me to cognitive load theory, I'm sure you're already au fait with this but if not its worth a look (John Sweller)