Experimentation is being talked about a lot in the learning world as a way for people to learn. They can test things, make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.
This blog is an observational one – I’m not offering particular answers just sharing various behaviours when people get to learn through experimentation – you can draw your own conclusions.
Our new flat has a lovely view of the bell towers of Burgos Cathedral and every morning I open the blinds and look out and am amazed that we’re living here.
It also has a very good view of one of Burgos’s public toilets. For a toilet it’s pretty attractive. It’s decorated with a huge photo of the wall and greenery behind it so it kind of blends in but it’s also very high tech, being one of these toilets that cleans itself when you exit. It has a fancy traffic light system; green for ‘enter’, red for ‘engaged’ and white for ‘please wait because I am completing my automatic function of self cleaning and will be with you shortly.’ Unfortunately in bright sunlight all of the lights look the same colour so people with a need can’t tell what status the toilets currently have. This removes some of the vital information that’s required to operate the system.
So far we’ve seen those who wander up, push the button, try the handle and when the door doesn’t open they just walk away looking a little bit abashed – and presumably hoping they find somewhere else shortly.
Then there are the people who keep pushing the buttons and pulling at the door handle until either the washing sequence has finished or the current user comes out looking annoyed at the hammering and rattling. The newcomer now tries to enter but the toilet rebuffs them with a stern Spanish voice obliging them to wait.
You can tell that some people seem to know the system because they know what to do but some can’t help but keep pushing the buttons and pulling on the door in the hope they can speed up the process. Perhaps it just gives them something to do whilst they wait.
Some manage the button pushing sequence but don’t realise that you actually physically have to open the doors – they’re expecting such a high tech toilet to also have an automatically opening door. So they push the button and then just stand there looking expectant – sometimes for quite a while until someone else comes along to help.
A number of visitors clearly believe it’s safer to enter in groups so all pile in together and usually come out giggling.
Some people start to read the instructions but something puts them off so they walk away looking bemused. Others read the instructions very carefully and then start one of the sequences you’ve just read about above.
The persistent ones and the ones who just happen to come along at the right moment are usually successful in the end and hopefully have learned enough about the experience to make it easier next time. Perhaps the sequence is deliberately a bit complicated and stressful to add a touch of drama to the situation making it more memorable – depending on how long it is until they next visit.
Other curious visitors are the man with a fully laden cycle he pushes everywhere; he and his bike use the toilet briefly every day. And then funniest of all the visitors is the cleaning lady who comes once a week to clean the self cleaning toilet.