Successful sheep? LO9890

John Paul Fullerton (
Tue, 10 Sep 1996 23:36:00 +0000

Replying to LO9876 --

> One of my heros is William Stephenson. He was Churchill's master-spy
> during WW II. He had a PhD in one of the physical sciences. When asked
> where he learned so much he replied, "like everyone else, from books."

I heard something today about means of learning, and was hoping to have an
opportunity to pass it on to the list.

Today I attended a computer science student meeting and representatives
from Microsoft were there as part of their interviewing process. I asked
one of the representatives who is involved in the software development
process (not necessarily as a programmer) how their developers get needed
technical information.

I thought that he would mention an online information system, hopefully
one of their products that is available for purchase. He said that usually
one of the other team members or someone working in the same area knows
the answer, so the main process is to ask a co-worker (who may refer them
to another co-worker more knowledgeable about the question). The
effectiveness of their productivity and possibly the reputation for
"smartness" may give additional significance to the method.

That's a true AI network (actual intelligence) - the knowledge provider
may adjust in real time to the understanding and knowledge of the user.

The work group would need to hold a certain amount of knowledge for the
process to be generally successful.

The exploratory nature and effort of first discovery (ala book learning)
does not slow down the process or take away momentum.

There's opportunity to build on in-place and active knowledge. Perhaps the
one who is conveying the information has advanced observations due to the
fact of having had the information for a while and having had opportunity
to use it or reflect on its use.

The benefit of receiving needed (and proveably accurate) information could
be reduced if the process only involved "letting everyone talk" (part of
my idea of dialogue). I don't think that I'm advocating with this comment;
just noting some thoughts.

Even so (even without emphasis on books for getting questions answered),
Microsoft has a technical library, and it seems likely that exact
knowledge is related to the exactness of recorded knowledge and probably
has writing in its history.

I left the room with an increasing glow of excitement that I had said
something that might further others learning and help create more optimism
for learning at the University. (Mmm hmm :) As I make my way toward a
lower seat, let me acknowledge the benefit that those employees brought
hundreds of miles from their home, and hope that it will be useful
information for others as well.

Have a nice day
John Paul Fullerton


"John Paul Fullerton" <>

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