Getting that learning fix

I’ve been doing some domain-modelling with an arts organisation recently. The domain model that we’re working on will help underpin a new version of their website.

We gathered some domain experts across the business and ran some workshops to start capturing how they think about their domain, what they do, what the outputs are, etc.

Data modelling isn’t something that most people do. The process of trying to build a model of the world is, to varying degrees, new to them. Just as understanding the nuances of different types of art events and curating exhibitions is new to me.

So there’s been an element of me teaching them about what I do — the geeky stuff — alongside them teaching me about what they do. By coming to more of a shared understanding we can collectively get more from the exercise.

I love that process.

I love learning stuff, particularly in domains that are very different to the one in which I often operate. You don’t often get chance to sit with a bunch of domain experts and hear them discuss what they do at great length.

I also love that light-bulb moment when you can see people suddenly get what you’re teaching them. Its like you can actually see them levelling up in front of your eyes.

(I’ve been trying to rationalise what, on the surface, seems to be too very divergent interests: a love of teaching & a love of coding; whatever the reason, it probably explains why I keep doing different roles).

I then got to thinking about how so many of the events that run these days are largely domain based: domain experts talking to each other. Not people teaching each other new things, maybe in wildly different domains. I guess Ignite events might be closest, but I’ve never been to one. They also seem like they’re highly structured and involve calls to action rather than teaching and knowledge sharing, but I might be wrong.

So what kind of events am I missing? Where can I get my learning fix, or is there scope for a new type of “geek” event?

3 thoughts on “Getting that learning fix

  1. I agree, I don’t know of many explicitly cross domain events either but I do enjoy the ones I have discovered. Playful had a great range (, Russell Davies “Interesting” likewise. I enjoyed many of the talks at “The Story” this year ( too.

    They are all about universal concepts – play and interaction, interestingness, storytelling – rather than technology or domain.

    You might like this piece by the aforementioned Russell Davies about the need for a ‘non-conference’ which could be the basis for what you (and I) would like!

  2. I feel the same way. Working with people making RDF vocabularies, is a kind of privilege because they’re giving you a kind of simple cartoon “bluffer’s guide” to their world and/or their worldview. And it’s endlessly varied… one week TV/radio, another week education and learning, comics, e-commerce, flight bookings, medicine, …

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