With The Learning Explosion we have more knowledge at our disposal than ever before. Information, or learning fragments, are continuously being created, discovered, shared, recreated, rediscovered, and shared again via blogs, tweets, emails, websites, learning tools, wikis, and thousands of other types of distribution channels. So what can we do about this real challenge? We suggest three behaviors:
Firstly, accept the facts. There is far more knowledge and information out there than we could even begin to access and process. There always has been. However, in the past you would have to walk into a library or bookstore to be reminded of this truth. Now you just need to turn on your computer or phone to receive the same message.
Secondly, be selective. Choose relevant subjects and topics that interest you, or that are related to your profession or passions. While it is so much easier for us all to be superficially competent in many topics, it is better for us to be masterfully fluent in a few. This is true especially if we wish to advance in our careers. Being relevant requires self-discipline to focus on our specific art, and to say no to the many other interesting but irrelevant arts.
Thirdly, harness The Learning Explosion. Once you have this essential trait of disciplined focus you must start creating your own learning lab. Your learning lab is where and how you learn about new ideas, where you test them, and where you organize them into salient concepts that can be easily accessed. This last behavior will take some time to fine tune. It may be hard for you to conceptualize what we mean by a learning lab, so let's take a look at a very basic, but efficient, example of a learning lab, your browsers bookmarking function. With bookmarks you can create respective folders that house the locations of all of your relevant learning fragments. If done correctly, all of the new relevant learning fragments that come across your path can be organized within seconds. Besides bookmarking, there are hundreds of online "learning labs" that you can use. Here are some examples:
- Genieo - automatically designs and generates your own personal online magazine, based own your past viewing history.
- iGoogle - create your own homepage in under 30 seconds
- Flipboard (for iPad) - allows you to receive access to relevant news sources and social media feeds in a classy interface.
- Scribd - Scribd is the world’s largest social reading and publishing company. Think of Scribd (pronounced “skribbed”) as the largest book club on the planet--except that anyone can join the conversation on any topic imaginable.
- Feedly - like Genieo.
- Netvibes - personal dashboard to monitor all your favorite blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and all of your favorite interests. Just type in a topic and get your free personal dashboard.
- Chi.mp - Everything YOU in one place. Choose an address. Gather all your digital stuff. Invite people to learn about you.
- And a whole bunch of other great learning labs out there:)
One, accept that you cannot put your arms around everything. Two, be selective in what you wish to learn, and lastly, harness the Learning Explosion by following a process to organize the learning fragments that you come across. Do just these three things and your life will change. You will no longer feel like you are drowning in a world of information...well, it may still like this a little:)