Writing the Four Stages Stage 1 – Concrete Experience There’s an old proverb that says ‘experience is what you get after the fact’. Keep this in mind as you write your Concrete Experience because it is an experience you’ve had which you need to document. ‘Documenting’ is also used purposefully because it sums up the Stage 1 requirement. Stage 1 is the feeling stage. Aside from the fear this prompts for the rationalists amongst us the main difficulty with documenting the Concrete Experience is the need to reflect upon the situation (ie, it has already happened otherwise we couldn’t be writing about it). Consequently—because it has happened in the past—we often inadvertently end up in Stage 2 (Reflective Observation). Two tools to aid the student with Stage 1 are: write in the first person and write in the present tense. “Hi, I’m Nicola,” loudly declares the dark-haired, twenty something girl who has arrived for a three o’clock computer-based training session. I introduce myself and accept the training manual she offers. The organization is a university, and the programme I’m being trained on, CROSSFIRE, is the main student database. Nicola explains [loudly] that she will log me in and ‘we’ll go from there’. I wonder whether her heightened volume is due to nerves. Having organised two chairs I’m somewhat dismayed when she takes the driver’s seat. “But I need to know how to log on and what the screens look like,” I think to myself. But it’s too late as she’s already [logged] in and like a filly on race day she’s off. Having reclaimed the manual she’s attempting to introduce me to two additional sheets of information as her hands fly left, right, up and down, back and forth across the keyboard. “F8 clears the screen,” she informs, “and F4 takes you forward a screen.
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