When it comes to learning, in which ways do you agree or disagree with this quote? How does social media and social networking play into this?
As soon as I read through this first part of the quote, I was yelling "YES!" In my head because I have been and continue to be interested in how technology has affected our memory, more specifically our memory recall, and since recalling is part of thinking and thought, I wanted to be able to contribute what I already know, and where I think thinking is headed.
We as humans are starting to exhibit different memory recall behavior as a result of the ability to "google" things and have info at our fingertips. This article from Sparrow, Liu, and Wegner in Science is a fascinating read and is a great reference to what I'm talking about. Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips.
Essentially, we're getting worse at remembering things, but better at remembering how to get at what we forgot.
For example, if you watch a TED talk online about dogs, you are likely to remember you watched a TED Talk on dogs. But if you're struggling to remember what three types of dogs were mentioned in the TED talk, it's probably because your brain was saying to itself, "This TED Talk is interesting. But I don't have to pay as much attention to the content as I used to because thanks to technology today, as long as I know how to get back to this video on YouTube later, I can look up what I may need to remember". Essentially, the argument is that the energy invested by oneself into remembering goes into how to recall the content, not the content itself. It’s another example of our brains exhibiting neuroplasticity.
How is this showing up in our lives online? Online, this content digestion super shortcut manifested as things like "bookmarks" and perhaps bookmarks 2.0 - Pinterest. You laugh super hard at this joke you see on twitter, and you want to tell it later and want to make sure you don't mess up the punch line, so rather than remember the joke and say it over a few times, you mark it as one of your favorites, so you can pull it up on your phone faster later. These types of “mental shortcuts”, the argument goes, have manifested in our daily lives as a response to the now overwhelming amount of information we have and readily digest on a daily basis. In other words, our lives can now access information so much faster and easier, that we can’t simply remember all we are consuming anymore, so we remember instead where all this information can be accessed at a moment’s notice, rather than recalling the information specifically.
What’s the takeaway for instructional design or training? Well a lot of my training these days is going onto an app, and we want the learner to remain in-app. We don’t want learners “googling” for information if they need to recall it later. So, recently we added a “clipboard” to the app. Now learners coming across information can “clip” it in-app, and go to their clipboard to retrieve it later.