When I was in the Canadian Forces Medical Services much of my work was in preparation for mass casualty situations, such as would happen in a conflict. Hospitals and medical personnel train for mass casualty situations because the rules are a bit different from the standard admission process. You are overwhelmed with casualties and the system cannot treat everyone as they would like or need. Priorities are set. An important role is that of triage [from the French verb “to sort” – Processus de prise de décision utilisé sur les lieux d’une urgence et servant à classer les victimes selon les priorités de soins – Grand dictionnatre terminologique].
I was thinking that triage is good metaphor for learning today. We are inundated with information and sources of knowledge. Learning professionals can help sort the signal from the noise by understanding the current circumstances of the organisation and do an initial triage. Of course the situation will be changing so what was important yesterday may not be important tomorrow. Only by constantly looking outside and inside will the learning professional provide a valuable service.
So if anyone asks why you’re reading 100 Web feeds and checking out the chat on Twitter and Facebook, tell them you’re doing triage.