Google has become a digital extension of my memory. The older I get the more I use it. If I forget how to do something, or cannot remember a fact or name or place, I Google around for a bit and find it.
For example, this morning I was on the phone talking with a client. We started talking about a film and neither one of us could remember the name, only that Al Pacino was in it. So I Googled “Al Pacino Filmography”, and two clicks later, I ‘knew’ the name of the movie. Earlier in the week, I had moved all the livingroom furniture and, in the process, unhooked the VCR, DVD, and TV. When I went to plug in this Medusa’s Head of wires, I could not for the life of me remember how the VCR fit back into the scheme of things.
Right. I Googled “Mitsubishi DVD VCR Connections” and three clicks later had the operating manual that was lost in the same place that socks go to in the washing machine.
What does this have to do with learning? Everything. It points to the fact that I do not need to know something, or know how to do something, and I can still know it and do it. My performance is acceptable. It’s my memory that sucks. Google is my brain plugged into the internet, the largest repository of information ever created since they set fire to the the Library of Alexandria. Wait a minute, who was it who set that fire … hold on a sec … okay it was either Julius Caesar or Caliph Omar .
So why are we spending untold amounts of time and money on learning programs that are not necessary? They could be effectively replaced by a computer on a fast WIFI connection to a knowledge repository. Does anyone assess what needs ‘real learning’ versus what only needs to be searched for, used, and then forgotten? What is real learning anyway?
Tony Carlson tells us that “We process more information in a 24-hour period, than the average person 500 years ago would come in contact with in a lifetime…” Are we part of the problem, or the solution?
Maybe I’ll ask Google … .