In today’s complex world we face a barrage of information on a daily basis. We need to let go of the need to know everything. We need to educate both our learners and our trainers to resist the temptation to dump everything, “just in case”. If you are teaching someone to change a flat tyre they don’t need to know the chemical make-up of the tyre. We need to help learners focus on usefulness and context of the content and to design and deliver training and e-Learning programmes to reflect this principle.
According to Dr Daniel Levitin PhD, author of the book “This is Your Brain on Music”, we process 34 giga bytes of information during our leisure time alone and we would have created a world with 300 exabytes of human information. Every hour, YouTube uploads t,000 hours of video content. It’s just impossible to keep up. Information overload is a growing concern and it has been discovered that the human mind can only take so much information at a given time. It needs time to digest.
Organisations are unaware that they are actually paying a high premium for information distribution. Team members are not as productive when they are pressured to learn new things in so little time. Hence, information and its application seem to be separated from each other. “Corporations are failing to help staff cope with the technological barrage, daily meetings, and constant connection, leading to rising levels of stress and psychological illness and costing huge sums in lost productivity,” says Sarah O’Carroll in an article “How email deluge makes frustrated workers go postal” published by the Herald Sun Melbourne Edition.
Have you tried being in front of your computer trying to complete an e-Learning course? Can you still remember how instantly you became confused, frustrated and overwhelmed because of the information dumped on you? The overload problem become apparent in e-Learning, classroom training and all forms of learning. As trainers we seem to want to dump as much content as possible, perhaps to ensure it looks like value for money. The real challenge is to engage users without overwhelming them.
Jerry Michalski, an independent consultant hit the nail on the head when he said, “You have to be Zen-like . . . You have to let go of the need to know everything completely.”