Saturday, April 21, 2018

Sodoto: See One, Do One, Teach One

Here's a useful strategy on this learning path: see one, do one, teach one. Sodoto.

Sodoto is a learning method and a teaching method rolled into one. It's the cycle of knowledge.

I'm familiar with it from medicine. My wife is a surgical nurse, and this is the traditional method of teaching in surgery. Obviously, safety concerns mean that you don't just watch a brain surgeon at work and then go try it yourself.

But this forms a useful pattern of mentoring and learning and passing knowledge along. It applies to any kind of knowledge- or skill-based activity.

It works with a single student at a time, or a whole group. You don't have to be a formal teacher.

See one: watch someone do a procedure.

Do one: do what you saw.

Teach one: show it to someone else.

Once you learn a procedure, you're primed to teach it. That's how knowledge spreads.

Here's the real kicker: the teaching step is actually a powerful learning step for you as the teacher. It locks the knowledge into your brain.

You have to have sorted out what you're talking about in order to teach it. You can't just vaguely know it and wave your hands in the air glossing over details. Your students will be annoyed and you'll feel stupid.

The process of getting ready to teach and then doing the teaching forces you to organize your thoughts and chase down details, because you don't want to look stupid, and you want to be prepared for questions.

That motivates you to dig deeper. As a result, you end up learning more yourself.

There are two keys to making this work: background knowledge, and the experience of doing it.

Background Knowledge

Background knowledge applies at each stage of see, do, and teach. Note that "see" can mean live and in person, or on video.

Whatever the subject, medicine, coding, building anything from woodworking to electronics, any knowledge you have before seeing the procedure will help you understand it. You can bet that surgeon learning how to do brain surgery brought a huge amount of background knowledge.

Some things take minimal background, just the random skills and knowledge you already have from life. But more difficult subjects benefit from whatever time you can invest beforehand. Videos, books, blogs, and articles, in print and online, are all good resources, as well as online forums.

That establishes the background knowledge you'll bring to seeing the procedure.

Once you've seen the procedure, as you prepare to do it yourself, it's useful to go back to your resources. Now that you know better what to look for, you can get more details. You can reinforce what you saw.

That expands the background knowledge you'll bring to doing the procedure.

Once you've done the procedure, as you prepare to teach it, go back to your resources again. As a result of doing, there will be details you want to fill in, and you may understand the material better. You may have run into some things that you wished you knew more about. You may anticipate additional questions from your students.

That further expands the background knowledge you'll bring to teaching the procedure.

Experience Of Doing

The experience of doing the procedure is critical. That's where you have the opportunity to work through mistakes and see what works and doesn't work for you. That's where you start to lock it into your brain.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes! Mistakes are great learning opportunities. As long as there's no injury and no damage, there's no harm done.

This is also where you can work out your own changes to the procedure. Just because you saw it done one way doesn't mean that's the only way to do it. That was one way. You can use it as your starting point, and add your own tweaks.

Or maybe you'll realize what you saw really was a good way and you shouldn't mess with it.

You might need to do the procedure more than once before teaching it. Some procedures take practice before you feel confident teaching them to someone else.

The experience of teaching the procedure will be different from the experience of doing it for yourself. Your students may have questions or difficulties that force you to think about things in different ways.

Plus there's the pressure of performing for an audience. But as you gain experience teaching, that will get easier. It's just a different kind of doing.

The experience of teaching is where you finish locking it into your brain.


Sodoto is a great method for dividing up a project. Whether at work, at school, or with your friends, you can divide up the project and have each person take on a part.

They go off and see how it's done, do it themselves until they feel ready, then bring it back to the team to teach everyone else.

What if you can't agree how to divide it up because multiple people want to do the same thing? Fine! Let them!

Each person will have their own take on the experience and teach it slightly differently. That helps explore all the possibilities in the procedure.

1 comment:

  1. Great article, it seems a good approach to retain knowledge. Thanks for sharing.