Monday, January 28, 2008

Is too much Knowledge a Curse??

As I'm reading through all of the wonderous blog postings which are nicely feed into my 'Google Reader' - I'm always happy to watch the number of feeds slowly dwindle.

However, I've read for the second time this week of others in my Personal Learning Network (PLN) who have left their 'blog reading' for just a couple of days, and then they've returned to find more than 3,000 feeds in their RSS Aggregator. OMG!

Yes, they can simply hit the 'Mark all as read" or "Refresh"- but how many blogs are they subscribing to if it only takes a couple of days for their 'Reader' to hit the magically '3,000' mark? Hmmm - does this mean I have scope to subscribe to more than the 50 or so blogs I 'm currently subscribed to?

But is too much knowledge a curse???

"Here’s the great cruelty of the Curse of Knowledge: The better we get at generating great ideas—new insights and novel solutions—in our field of expertise, the more unnatural it becomes for us to communicate those ideas clearly. That’s why knowledge is a curse. But notice we said “unnatural,” not “impossible.” Experts just need to devote a little time to applying the basic principles of stickiness."
Written by the Heath Brothers, but sourced from Ideas & Thoughts

During my first year at Teachers' College (they used to call it that in my day) I didn't have a clue what my Economic Lecturer was ever saying - or whether he was even speaking English? I know this was Economics - but I really didn't understand a word he was saying.

After a one-on-one conversation with him I realised that I was never going to understand what he was saying. At the time I considered him to be 'eccentric'. But after considering the Heath Brothers' quote - perhaps he just had the "Curse of Knowledge" and wasn't practising the basic principles of knowing how to make an idea stick for others?

Balancing Act:
Photo 'Scales Group' by Christopher Proudlove,

So at what point do we 'tip the scales' of receiving too much information?

Is there such a point, when we have too much knowledge that we don't know how to effectively share it with others at a level which is catering for their needs?

What are the signs when the scales have been tipped too far?

even though it's great that we gather lots of 'knowledge' through our Personal Learning Networks - it's also really important that we understand the needs of our students/clients/audience - and pitch that knowledge at a level which enables them to 'make it stick'.

PS Received a lovely Pownce response to the question 'Is too much knowledge a Curse?' from Russel Montgomery

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