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Too much information

During dinner last week, a friend of mine announced that by 2040 the internet will have surpassed the entirety of human knowledge and processing power. In my friend’s view, at this point there will be nothing left to teach because everything anyone anywhere could possibly want to know will already be available on the internet. There will be ‘no more training’.

Putting aside the fact that this argument fails to differentiate between information and learning, it got me thinking about the importance of qualifying the information we have. If there really is an all-encompassing internet that has every piece of raw information available to us, how will we know what’s worth looking at?

Of course this is a problem we’re already experiencing. When I enter my internet search, how do I tell the difference between the good stuff and the downright bad stuff? How do I avoid quoting someone who has been debunked or who knows less than I do if this is a subject I’m new to?

This led me onto the increasing importance of curation. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel if the information really is out there – for free – for everyone to use. There is every point in curating this information for your audience – making sure they are getting the best, most up-to-date, rigorously tested and qualified information.

Regardless of where we are in 2040, I believe we’ll be adding curation to the list of ‘hats’ we learning designers wear long before that. Along with building interactive scenarios, simulations, quizzes and activities, we’ll support these with a list of resources for our particular audience. We’ll be building portals that draw together Youtube clips with blog posts, monthly webinars and research papers. We won’t be begging our SMEs for the content, we’ll be asking them to help us find the best of it.