How do you learn?
Prior to the advent of the internet, digital media, and ubiquitous connectivity (for most), we were largely constrained to three methods. Social (talk with people), reading, and video. There just weren’t too many ‘other’ options. Now, there’re so many it really is worth thinking about.
Digital mediums have dramatically changed all three of the traditional mediums. Social learning was largely limited to in-person face-to-face activity. These might be local business events, service club gatherings, or simply talking with a mentor or friend over coffee. Now, we have the ability to ‘talk’ continuously to folks through instant messaging, social networks, telephony (e.g. Skype) and more. We can ‘talk’ until our minds go numb. My view is that face-to-face cannot be beat—but it isn’t always possible.
Reading is—even as we speak—going through dramatic change. I love reading using all manner of textual and graphic presentation. Books, newspapers, magazines, ezines, online blogs, white papers—you name it. Here too digital is rearranging things. I really enjoy my Sony Reader (a PRS-505 if you must). Rather than print out someone’s whitepaper, I read it on my Reader. eBooks, typically half-price, are increasingly easy to find across all genres. In one hand, my entire library…and then some…can travel with me and takes up a fraction of the space in my computer bag than did that last hard cover.
And then, we have video. Heretofore we had the luxury of B-movie rated corporate training flicks. Our younger generations get to never experience a corporate training event being held up as a projector bulb burned the film, or the reels (know what a reel is<g>?) had to be thread, or VCRs ‘ate’ a tape. And those were just the appetizers—the content themselves might’ve been passable if the production quality didn’t simply, well, suck.
Today, I note Apple’s iPad has—in under 30 days—broken the 1 millionth unit sold. Here is a device that will (potentially) further improve on all three of these ‘classic’ mediums. Text will no longer just be text. Soon, we’ll have texts with embedded visuals (static or video) we can click on that will further explain key ideas. Socializing online becomes even more ubiquitous with a device that can go anywhere and which even more people will have on hand. Video? We’re not quite at the point of an ‘Avatar’ display glass…but not quite transparent…the iPad does let you hand-carry the movie of your choice around with you while playing (didn’t see that coming 10 years ago, did you?).
So how do you learn? My preferences have always been to read, and to socialize. Video was a distant (very) third place. As all these mediums continue to blur, morph, and evolve, does it even matter anymore?
(photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/hvaldez1, Girl Studying)