Amsterdam driving lessons include what to do if you find yourself underwater

Ever found yourself underwater in your car?  No?  Me neither.

However as all good training and development specialists know, learning is deeply dependent upon context.  And so it is with learning to drive in Amsterdam.

Recently I found myself around and about in Amsterdam, meeting with a wonderful colleague Professor Gerd Junne. Check out his work with the Network University.

He kindly offered to meet with me as I was going to be in the neighbourhood while on my way to present at the WIN conference in Paris.

(‘In the neighbourhood’ being a decidedly North American context, as I’m not sure Europeans would consider Paris and Amsterdam in the same neighbourhood.)

One of the many things we talked about (more about that later in future posts) was the effects of the many canals there.  If you’ve not been fortunate enough to visit Amsterdam know that it is crisscrossed with canals like ribbons in a child’s hair.

Turns out that some canals don’t have barriers between where you park and the edge of the water (see the picture above as an example).  Turns out that part of learning to drive in Amsterdam includes learning what to do if you find yourself having inadvertently driven into a canal.

Gerd tells me that you must do what is counter intuitive.  Rather than scrambling madly to get out of the car you must wait until the water is almost to the top of the roof.  Craning your neck up and forcing your mouth into the air pocket until the last minute, it’s only then that the pressure will have equalized enough between outside and inside the car for you to be able to open the door and swim up and out.

Driving lessons have their own learning context.  My lessons didn’t include what to do if I found myself underwater in my car but perhaps they included something Gerd’s didn’t.

Like with training and development context is paramount.  What do you need to know about your learner’s context in order to create engaging learning opportunities that are rife for the uptake?

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4 Responses to “Amsterdam driving lessons include what to do if you find yourself underwater”

  1. Ragu Says:
    October 19th, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Yes its very true Lee-Anne, as Gerd said we have to wait for everything. Our whole life goes just for waiting for something only..

  2. Lee-Anne Ragan Says:
    October 20th, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Hi Ragu
    You think so? I hope I’m not waiting to end up under water in my car. I’m not sure I could remain calm enough to wait until the water had almost reached the roof. I think life is about searching for opportunities, being prepared and yes, waiting sometimes. Or perhaps it’s reflecting – I don’t think we tend to do enough of that, especially in the West. Does your culture encourage reflection? If so how? I’d be curious to hear.

  3. Ragu Says:
    October 21st, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Well it’s my personal thoughts not into our culture something. In fact we are very good opportunities than anybody (I feel so). I just said as my life going as always waiting for something, for good career, life partner, etc..I really want to come out of these waiting’s but could not because “its wort to wait for something good” rather spoiling things because of our curiosity and lack off passion.

  4. Lee-Anne Ragan Says:
    October 21st, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Makes me think of Dr Seuss’ ‘Oh the places you’ll go’ where he talks about the waiting place (around 3:22). It’s one of my all time favourite books.

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