Sunday, 19 February 2006


This is the fourth in a series on "Information, language, knowledge and connectedness". The previous posts are part 1, part 2 and part 3.

The current best understanding of our brain is that it is made up of many many neurons and connections among these neurons are constantly made. When we are having mental activities, signals pass among the neurons.

Our internal world, somehow, is represented by these yet-to-be-understood patterns of connections. However, we also know that our internal world is created based on our experience and interaction with the external world. We don't know the role of new connections while we do not engage in consciously interaction with the external world. However, let's assume that most of the connections are created during interaction with external world.

This connectedness seems to be very important. In light of the expanding connectivity of our communication ability, new pedagogical views such as connectivism by George Siemens has accepted widespread interest.

We know that an organisation can learn. The operational manual, the way that the organisation interacts with other organisation or customers, changes as new error or mistake are identified to prevent the same to happen again. Shall we call this organisation learning? Obviously, the faster the problem can be identified and passed to decision makers, faster a remedy may be devised and implemented. The big research question is how this "organisational learning" is related to the number of connections as oppose to the improvement in the more efficient method of communications.

Society learns too. The second episode of Race, The Power of an Illusion described the dark history of the Slavery of Black people in colonial America despite the constitutional declaration of equality of mankind. It is quite obvious to me, after watching the show, an internal world view had been successfully created among the "white" that black and white was a biological difference. As economical situation changed, the "whiteness" was politically extended to other skin colour quite arbitrarily and inconsistently.

The behaviour of the society as a whole is driven by a shared common belief (here, I am not questioning how that common belief was/is generated). Again, a better communication system will help to spread the belief. However, a better communication system should also help to quickly identify faults in such belief. How come, in today's global connectivity, the pressing issues facing mankind, e,g, global warming, human are consuming our natural resources in unsustainable manners, extreme poverty, do not get the attention they desire and action being taken?

So far, I have defined learning as a processing of creating a coherent internal world view. Again, my question is whether the increased connectivity represents learning - a better coherent world view for the organisation or for the society?

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