Monday, 20 December 2004

Context matters

My sister sent me this:

This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

If she is getting dressed, this is half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given 5 more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

This is the calm before the storm. This means "something," and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with 'Nothing' usually end in "Fine"

This is a dare, not permission. Don't do it.

This is not actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A "Loud Sigh" means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you over "Nothing"

This is one of the most dangerous statements that a woman can make to a man "That's Okay" means that she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

A woman is thanking you. Do not question it or faint. Just say you're welcome.

While this is more like a joke about the differences between the sexes, there is a lesson here for e-learning designer. Typically, e-learning will be delivered without the rich feedback from face to face interaction. If such misunderstanding (or re-interpretation) of common words used require explanation likes the above, computer-mediated messages are more likely to be mis-interpreted. If our e-learning content is solely dealing with information, that would not be much of a problem. For rich interaction like role play simulation, there is a lesson or two to be pondered carefully.

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