Jay Cross
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Friday, August 12, 2005
At live presentations, I always try to grab a seat in the front row. They are usually the last seats filled. You get plenty of leg room. You're not trapped in the center of a row. You often get to chat with speakers waiting their turn to address the crowd. My hearing's not so good, and the sound's great in the front row. There are no heads to look over. And you can take clear, close-up photographs. And it's easy to tell people where to meet you. I don't understand why it's often just me and the VIPs up front, but that's another matter.

Learning on the net has changed the way I learn in person. I used to consider it rude to bail out of a presentation before it was over. These days, if I'm not getting an adequate return on my investment of time, I'm gone. Switching to something else is just a click away. If it's a good buddy who's speaking, maybe I'll feign getting a phone call that drags me out of the room. In essence, the net has taught me to extricate myself from irrelevant or boring situations.

In writing Informal Learning, I've been devouring four or five books a week, not to mention countless websites and talks with a lot of people. Early on, I read Roger Schank's latest, Lessons in Learning, eLearning, and Training. It's a good read. It's all stories. Its message is that stories are the only way people learn. Soon thereafter, I read Storytelling in Organizations. Last week I finished Steve Denning's latest, The Leader's Guide to Storytelling. So I'm writing my book as a series of stories.

Today I started reading a book by an acquaintance on the boosting productivity with eLearning. A year ago, I would have read something like this while flying to or from a conference. Today, MEGO ("My eyes glaze over.") This crazy book is about learning, and yet it's one concept piled on top of another. No stories. No human interest. No narrative. I've found I simply don't have time in my life for such claptrap.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stories are the only way to learn? Some might argue stories are for persuading not learning - unless the context is shared by the audience the point of the story may be missed while the learner is trying to build a relationship with an out of context (for them) story. Stories as a part of the learning process and an excellent communication tool, yes, the only way to learn, no.

2:27 PM  

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