Saturday, 23 October 2004

Internet Time Blog: Slowness

This is a review of In Praise of Slowness: How A Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed by Jay Cross. What impressed me most is the notion of speed is a notion of attitude:

I can fool myself into thinking that I don’t have enough time, couldn’t I just as well fool myself into thinking that I have plenty of time? So I decided to have plenty of time
and the quote from Gandhi
There is more to life than increasing its speed.

"Just-in-time training" is the most obvious manifestation of this Internet speed obsession. I have questioned about the long term impact of this approach before. For instance, one of the strength of the asynchronous nature of discussion forum, online role play simulation in particular, is that time is available for learners to research, reflect and formulate a rational reaction to the current scenario. I suspect, a pure speculation at this time, that information obtained during "just-in-time" delivered instruction would not stick. We can get the solution as quickly as we can forget about it. However, the "slow learning" afforded by asynchronous inactivity includes a much greater cognitive investment from the learner and hence, I suspect, again speculation only, that it will last much longer and hence has greater impact on the learner.

When we talk about improving productivity, we are not talking about adding hours in the work. We should be focusing on improving how the work is being done. Just-in-time information promote a quick fix. Many such quick fixes accumulated to lost hours. If we can choose to slow than at the first encounter with the problem, find a long term solution, e.g. eliminating the problem from the root so that such problem would not occur again, will the benefit out gain the seemingly "slow" process of finding a better solution?

Those interested in understanding the concept time should not miss Cross's time page.

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