Kind vs Wicked learning environments

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In a kind learning environment, participants have access to all of the information required to learn and get better at the activity. Think about sports such as tennis and baseball. You immediately get feedback on what works and what doesn’t work. Information on the activity is not hidden from the participant.

In wicked learning environments, information may be hidden or misdirected. What this means is that participants may not even know that they are not getting all of the information and believe they are. “The world doesn’t play fair” writes Thomas Gilovich in How We Know What Isn’t So. Information may be hidden or deceitful.

The problem arises when we don’t know the environment. In fact, there are times when we think we are in a kind learning environment when it is actually a wicked learning environment. The skill is the ability to identify the environment.

To help you identify the environment, one needs to look at the information being presented. Is there anything missing? Is there extraneous information that doesn’t pertain to the task at hand? Looking at the environment and being able to identify the learning environment is an important skill to learn.

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