TQM & LOs LO11403

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
12 Dec 96 18:13:16 EST

Replying to LO11312 --

In a recent message I said the Internet would lead inexorably to learning
styles fundamentally different than those that dominate today, primarily
reading. I compared pre-Gutenberg press times when memory was the primary
skill of an intellectual, to post-Gutenberg press, when reading dominated.
I then said that the Internet in essence would reward intellects that
brought more skills -- auditory, visual, and perhaps others -- to the
task. Robert replied that this notion was a lot of 'crap'.

The next time you go to the bookstore or library, conduct the following
experiment. Open any book, read a few pages, watch a short movie
demonstrating some technique, listen to a piece of music or other auditory
support piece (like a bird song), and then dash off a note to the author
-- who is from India -- asking for clarification of something that you did
not understand.

Once you have completed that task, try the same thing on the Internet, and
I think you may notice the difference. The Internet promotes a rich
auditory and visual learning, neither of which is well-implemented in
books. The Internet promotes and encourages the notion of writing to
someone who we would normally consider totally inaccessible. Even this
forum compresses space and time in ways that become immediately clear if
you imagine conducting this _written_ exchange via the mails with a
membership of 1800 people spread all over the globe, and bringing a
richness of experience impossible to recreate in the absence of the
Internet. As a communication tool, the Internet allows me as an
individual to influence events in a country almost 2,000 miles away that I
would not even consider in the absence of such a tool. And I can do that
with writing but additionally with visual and auditory aids. Sensing is

As another experiment, read Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech,
and then watch it on video. You decide which communicates the more

As still another experiment, ask any 10 year old to do a report on cobras,
and offer them a library as a reference tool, and offer them the Internet.
Measure the amount of time it takes, and assess the quality and breadth
and depth of their output. You are likely to notice a difference.

Of course, none of this relevant to those who do not have access to the
Internet. This poses a lot of problems which I am aware of, but not
trying to describe. It is hertening to note that books were not widely
available either, for hundreds of years after the invention of the press,
but eventually became available. It is a lot less heartening to note that
books are still not widely available in some rather large parts of the


Rol Fessenden
LL Bean, Inc


Rol Fessenden <76234.3636@CompuServe.COM>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>