Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Learning from the internet

The topic of learning from the internet or learning in the internet era fascinates me. As mobile connectivity goes up, facts are on our fingertip - more and more. This is one aspect - so as we travel to say, historical places, our facts are on our fingertips.

Recently, we had the opportunity to visit a few historical places. As we went from place to place, we had all the facts on our fingertip - including directions, history, names and so on. There is much more potential that can be exploited here I think.

That is one aspect of it. The other aspect of it is the long tail of the internet. The fact that you have the internet, makes it easy for you to reach out to experts in almost anything - however obscure. And that is the power of the internet.

Take for example - paper planes. When I grew up, I depended on cousins, friends and parents to learn about a design of paper planes. All in all, I knew about 5 designs. Until I stumbled upon a book in a friends place that had a few more. I learnt those - and I remember them to this day.

Now, the boy, has suddenly taken a liking to paper planes. And off he went to youtube - and there are fold by fold instructions for a thousand paper planes. He outgrew my designs very quickly and went off to learn more complex things.

The process is fascinating. When one is interested, the hunger for knowledge is a great driver to learn more. And the internet helps that process - by virtue of having a ready access to the right kind of information.

And you can go climbing levels of complexity on the same - because the internet has that complexity available on it. So, when we did not have access, your knowledge was limited by those around you - no longer the case now.

And it went upto a point, when he was able to grasp the first principles of gliders - weight distribution, lift, etc etc - and create his own designs.

How cool would it be if we did that for learners...

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