Professional development and knowledge

Harold Jarche shared in his blog a comment by a participant in one of his presentations.  The comment is:

Knowledge is evolving faster than can be codified in formal systems and is depreciating in value over time.


This is really important for those of us who love the printed work (me) and teach (me and you).  A statement like this tells us that we are out of date the moment we open our mouths; those institutions on which we depended for information (schools, libraries, even churches) are now passe.


The exponential growth of knowledge is much like that of population.   I think this graphic image of population (by Waldir) is pretty telling (click on the image to read the fine print).  The evaluative point that this brings home to me is the delay in making information available.


Do you (like me) when you say, “Look it up”, think web, not press, books, library, hard copy?  Do you (like me) wonder how and where this information originated when the information is so cutting edge?  Do you (like me) wonder how to keep up or even if you can?  Books take over a year to come to fruition (I think the 2 year frame is more representative).  Journal manuscripts take 6 to 9 months on a quick journal turn around.  Blogs are faster and they express opinion; could they be a source of information?

I’ve decided to go to an advanced qualitative data seminar this summer as part of my professional development because I’m using more and more qualitative data (I still use quantitative data, too).  It is supposed to be cutting edge.  The book on which the seminar is based won’t be published until next month (April).  How much information has been developed since that book went to press?  How much information will be shared at the seminar?  Or will that seminar be old news (and like old news, be ready for fish)?  The explosion of information like the explosion of population, may be a good thing; or not.  The question is what is being done with that knowledge?  How is it being used?  Or is it?  Is the knowledge explosion an excuse for people to be information illiterate? To become focused (read narrow) in their field?   What are you doing with what I would call miscellaneous information that is gathered unsystematically?  What are you doing with information now–how are you using it for professional development–or are you?


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