- Growth of knowledge
- Too much knowledge to keep in our heads
- No more epic poetry
In our tribal past there was a need to keep knowledge in our own heads for use by the individual and for sharing with others, hence the popularity of oral learning such as epic poetry. For example, great literature as we know it today, but in their time the Iliad and Odyssey were spoken verse. And that tradition was an important part of learning.
But now we have far surpassed the ability of any human to retain the sum of useful knowledge in their own head. This means that our learning practices need to change.
This gives rise to two things related to knowledge and our access to it. Firstly, the storage media for knowledge is changing – from oral to paper to digital (and here I include text, hypertext, audio, video and whatever gets invented next.)
Secondly, there are still some essential knowledge frameworks that must be resident inside our heads for us to be able to decode the storage media. For example, the ability to read is critical.
Thus we still need to equip people with the basic tools of literacy. But those tools we need to use for broader sensemaking are changing.
Perhaps it is time to consider adding some tools for thinking to our educational repertoire – Getting Things Done, goal setting, lateral thinking? Also perhaps time to consider how we can meet affiliation needs by offering collaboration opportunities via technology tools – such as wikis, blogs, social networks?