February 23, 2009
Accelerated Learning: A Personal Experiment
For long I have yearned the need to become familiar and stay current with a few news domains which are information heavy. Being a fan of late night talk shows, stand-up comedy and fake news (The Onion, Stewart/Colbert) I decided to have some fun permeating these new realms.
About a year ago I had heard an npr story on how the new generation prefers to get it's news from "fake" news: Parody, Satire and Sarcasm have fed generations with laughter and skepticism, but now there is an additional nutrient in this junk food for thought - useful information. Information which can be used by the listener to inform oneself of current affairs. The listener had become a learner.
My previous attempts at staying current using social bookmarking were not satisfactory, although I still like to keep my delicious.com and Google Notes well fed with tagged items from the web.
In my attempt to regain touch with (a) State of Technology in General & Online Learning in Particular (b) Current Affairs in USA and (c) Current Affairs in India, I subscribed to some RSS feeds. When something useful would strike me, I would ask the stand-up comedian in myself, to write a one line joke for me, based on Dave Barry's highly original microblogging style.
After about a week of poking fun at the news, the information started to retain in my conscious brain and I was able to apply it - in my conversations with peers, friends and families. (Sometimes I even became the alpha-bore of the party: geeky opinionated know-all. That's an indication to cut-back on your RSS feed-greed.)
Adjusting the RSS feeds to remove redundancies and optimize focus of learning, I started realizing that the stylings of the inner comedian were now an inefficiency - so the one liners simply became comments and notes. The crutch of comedy and satire was no longer necessary to engage the mind in the target domains - the barrier to entry - spontaneous interest, had been breached. A sustainable-enough connection now existed between the mind and the knowledge domain to synthesize new information into fruitful conversation and writing.
I only hope that the trend of getting news and information from clowns does not raise a generation of skeptic jokers. These fake news outlets arise from a basic need of learners: barrier of boredom. When mainstream news started looking like sermons, propoganda or classroom lectures, the generation turned to fake news to stay current. Of course that is no justification for teachers to become clowns, however keeping learning active with or without humor is highly warrented.
Posted by rdivecha at February 23, 2009 03:17 PM