Rearranging the Cerebral Furniture

This morning's email contained the monthly update of Jane Knight's e-Learning Centre. I traipsed over to Jane's What's New page, and now, an hour later, my head is swimming in cool new stuff and even more that I feel compelled to read.

What caught my eye?

Many of those items left breadcrumbs to other interesting material but after three or four hops, I'd remind myself that I have to complete my taxes today and return to eLearning Centre.

I learn by recording new findings and insights on a blog or in my online journal. Categorizing factoids forces them to link into my wetware network. Selecting the right category is getting tougher and tougher, because my interests are expanding as I seek knowledge from a variety of disciplines. The old boundaries between fields are disintegrating.

In the last year, I've become intrigued by complex systems, social networking, contextual collaboration, content aggregation, value networks, realtime enterprise, business process modeling, the economic return from intangible assets, and more.

Earlier this week, I was giving a presentation at a conference. (I also learn by listening to myself; I don't know where some of this stuff comes from. Increasingly I simply channel my stream of consciousness, passing off the work of my subconscious mind as if it were something I'd consciously thought about.)

One of my points was a foundation of Sam's and my thinking at the Workflow Institute, namely that information of every sort is growing exponentially. The amount of information in businesses doubles every 18 months.

In the five years that have elapsed since I began writing about eLearning in 1998, the world has churned out as much information as in the entire previous history of civilization!!
Remember the Sorcerer's Apprentice in the movie Fantasia? No matter how many brooms are bailing, the water continues to rise. Imagine the water is information. No matter how efficient your FiloFax or DayTimer, no matter how many time management books you've read, and no matter how much multitasking you do, it's not going to be enough to keep you above the rising tide.

I like to look at problems from different levels. Is there a micro-level solution? If I go up a few notches, does a new pattern emerge? Have I been spending too much time immersed in the content, when I'd be better off tweaking the process?

A couple of things come to mind.

  1. A new personal taxonomy. I need to reconfigure my categories and their interconnections. I've been maintaining public pages on

      Articles
      Blogs
      Building Community
      CSS, Semantic Mark-Up, and codes
      Design
      First Principles
      Glossary
      How People Learn
      Knowledge Management
      Learning Links
      Learning Standards
      Making It Work (Implementing)
      Meta-Learning
      Metrics & ROI
      Presentations
      Psychology
      Social Software
      The eLearning Museum
      Time
      Visual Learning
      Workflow Learning

  2. ...and I've been using these categories to classify Internet Time Blog entries:

      Blogging
      Books
      Collaboration
      Customer care
      Design
      Emergent Learning
      handbook
      Just Jay
      Learning
      Meta
      Networking
      Outbound
      Ref
      store
      Time
      Visual
      Workflow-based eLearning

    I'll probably draw a concept map using these topics and categories as nodes. Then I'll be able to recognize what I've been missing.

  3. Collaboration. Since there's no way on earth I'm going to keep up to date with these subjects by trolling source documents, I will hone the quality of my editorial network.

    Perhaps I'll apply Rob Cross's notation for analyzing social links in business to people I learn from. Rate the editors, so to speak. Look out for echo effects, group think, frequency, freshness, disciplinary focus, etc.

Learning is work.


Posted by Jay Cross at March 3, 2004 10:47 AM | TrackBack
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