How do you learn things? Do you enjoy the experience of fooling around until you get it? I love that process and learn quite a bit from the non-traditional tinkering talked about here. Hard to put into words, and maybe that’s the whole point.
Although the images and examples here are about mechanical rather than electronic processes, I take the same approach to technology (even though I admit that I read the manuals at some point to fill in blanks). I don’t know why I like figuring out how things work, but it always comes as a surprise to me that so many others are frustrated when they have to do so. So, a couple of questions come to mind about how we can address this as a learning style and how we can incorporate it into our structured courses.
In an online course, I think we ought to require students to do some experimenting in completing assignments with new technologies. Direct them, offer help, but allow for some exploration for those who appreciate the DIY approach. Follow up with plenty of opportunities for reflection and sharing, for collaborating along the way, letting those who can teach those who don’t think they can. Accept that it will be messy–that’s the hard sell, sometimes, to teachers. Find what has been learned!