Cutting out the middle man

Nick Kearney added a wonderful comment to Free Range Chickens yesterday:

Early adopters? I am not sure about that. Informal learning, from the free range perspective, has nothing to do with an incremental innovation that can be adopted by those already in the field. The two thirds are sceptical because however you dress it, informal learning is about cutting out the middle man, and those two thirds know that that is exactly what they are.
This is a profound sea change, that for many of those two thirds probably sounds like job loss. They won't be early or late adopters

Very nice! Learning from learners and learning without content delivery - offers "no further income" for centralized production enterprises. It's a similar problem that file sharing gives CD manufacturers, blogging gives print journalism and digital video gives movie houses. Perhaps a better term than early adopters would be 'early defectors" or free agents, cultural creatives, long-tailers or Web 2.0 entrepreneurs.

What happens when there is no middle man to organize the workshop, orchestrate the interactions or simulate the sequential stages of understanding? Jay Cross has some answers to this question in his book: Informal Learning.

  1. The learning is slow - It's like parking the car to get out and walk. It's not as efficient. It takes more time which is anathema to middle man enterprises where time is money and revenue is declining. Taking time means more is observed and appreciated. More is taken in and used later.
  2. The learning is spontaneous - It's like a highly productive conversation. The outcome cannot be planned or controlled. Much that comes about is fortuitous and a result of the particular gathering as it unfolds.
  3. The learning is improvisational - It's like a jazz band that learns to harmonize with different players' riffs that are different each time they play together.
  4. The learning is spellbinding - It's like sitting in the jury for the Vioxx lawsuit, being cast as the protagonist in a story that is being told visually and dramatically. The suspense is heightened by the unknowns, questions and conflicts.
  5. The learning is appreciative - It's like an unstoppable winner who learns from setbacks, rethinks his/her own strategies, casts threats as opportunities and welcomes the challenges posed by adversity.
  6. The learning is collaborative - It's like any solo learning will be extreme and out of balance - jumping to clueless conclusions. Learning is refined, moderated and balanced by communities, gatherings and teaming.
  7. The learning is networked - It's like what goes on inside your RSS feed reader. Bloggers are connected, responding to other blogs, combining what they are reading as they write and learn.
In other words, with the middle man out of the equation, the learning is dramatically enhanced.

Technorati tags: ,

No comments:

Post a Comment