The Attention Crisis in Learning

Tony Karrer has an excellent post on the implications of the long tail on organisational learning and compares training organisations to publishers. The challenge is not having enough stuff to distribute, it’s getting attention at the receiving end. He finishes by asking these questions:

  • How do we get into the attention economy business?
  • How do we dramatically lower production and delivery costs?
  • How do we support self-service learning and user generated content?
  • How do we foster knowledge worker skills?
  • What are the new metrics?
  • What does this mean for our current learning systems?
  • How do we aggregate content?
  • What are the legal and compliance issues?
  • What are the new roles that must be created to go after this?
  • Where do our skills fit? What new skills do we need?

Some of these questions are dependent on how we respond to others.

I think that the first step in gaining attention is figuring out 1) how to support self-service learning and user generated content which in turn fosters empowerment.

With user-generated content as the norm, then we have already established 2) how to get into the attention economy business as well as 3) how to dramatically lower production and delivery costs through participatory teaching & learning.

With user-generated content as the norm we can also establish 4) the new metrics [participation] and have at the same time provided a medium for 5) how to foster knowledge worker skills [through participation].

6) What does this mean for our current learning systems? Probably that many people may need to find other employment.

7) How do we aggregate content? That’s just a technical question that is being addressed in several venues.

8 ) What are the legal and compliance issues? Probably less difficult then the lawyers would lead us to believe, especially if empowerment and participation are what we really want.

9) What are the new roles that must be created to go after this? The roles will be as different as when a dictatorship becomes a democracy, such as the abolition of the Ministry of Information.
10) Where do our skills fit? What new skills do we need? We will have to become learners ourselves.

A participatory learning ecology gets rid of the intermediaries but puts more responsibility on all members of the network. Each node must contribute or risk exclusion from the network. I can’t see any way of making this work other than through empowerment of every individual and opening the channels for communication and collaboration.

5 Responses to “The Attention Crisis in Learning”

  1. Harold

    No, they’re not that simple, but I wanted to get my initial thoughts down. However, I’m pretty certain that individual empowerment for user-generated teaching & learning is the core to getting the attention of learners.

    Reply
  2. Jay Cross

    It’s helps me think about this so go up a level. Tony’s questions ask what we can do. The answer may be that it’s not us.

    The Attention issue is a shift from push to pull, isn’t it? This means giving up control. It’s a cultural shift. We are no longer on top; we’re down on the floor with everyone else.

    Reply

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