Technology grows smart, we turn out…dummies

Firstly, just a quick note on why I chose this title. My inspiration was the For Dummies series which is the main learning source for individuals who seek to take the easy way to understanding a specific topic or domain. Information is presented in a systematic way and works great for readers who are new to a specific topic, so I embrace this initiative, don`t get me wrong. Therefore, I merely chose this term for emphasizing the theme below.
On a more “niched” note, there`s been a lot hype lately referring mostly to the benefits of social media and cloud technology, and in general, to the potential of web 2.0 platforms to store, share and distribute information. Whereas UGC (User Generated Content) is essentially a “blessing” for freedom of expression and collective intelligence stimulation, there are nonetheless some drawbacks we need to address:
1. Social Impotence – In an era when staying sane means staying connected to the Internet (n.r. and Yes, I have recently seen a stream of conversations where the idea of the Internet being “turned off” for one day drove people crazy), curing such a dependency can turn out to be quite difficult. Apparently, social media usage actually affects our brain, studies showing that 5% of internet users are unable to control how much time they spend online. They crave for more of the excitement produced by using the Internet after each interaction. No wonder I am seeing everyone spending their time online when they`re out with their friends. Why restrain yourself to an audience of 2 or 4 people, when you could be “out” there for your entire network of 5,000 “friends”?
2. Multitasking Shortcomings – it might seem that those working with social media or constantly switching between more websites in the same time might have the ability to multitask, but studies have found that when comparing heavy new media users with others they perform much worse during task switching tests. It`s not about being fast, it`s about paying attention.
3. Silly Syndromes – You`ve probably never heard of the Phantom Vibration Syndrome, but you can imagine what it`s all about. Basically, you`re brain messes with you giving the sensation that the phone vibrated when it actually didn`t. Played by your own device. Not too bad, smartphones!
4. More Egocentric than ever – social media triggers dopamine release, which is a happiness hormone. When people are active online talking about themselves gives a sudden burst in the reward centers from their brains. What ever happened to listening to others?
5. Using External memory rather than our own – we would rather use forms of transactive memory, storing information outside ourselves, than use our own brains for storing it. We remember less because we are not required to do so – it`s enough that we know where information can be found. So, let`s hope our external hardware doesn`t crash when we`re in a meeting, right?
I may have approached just the tip of the iceberg, acting like the Grinch who stole the High-Tech Hype, but I will return with another post with some of the mainstream`s advantages. Stay tuned! Or is it tubed? 

A critical perspective on the Learning Organization theory

Glasmeier et al. (1998) revealed some weak points of the learning organization model:  the lack of a universally accepted definition of firm learning and misuse of terms; the lack of understanding of the nature of learning in organizations; little knowledge about how companies determine their need to acquire new information; a firm’s ability to absorb new information is a function of the previous experiences; learning is history dependent. The remarks of the authors focused on the definition and nature of learning, and on the way information is transformed in knowledge.

The critiques could be continued with several assumptions about the missing connections in the social and emotional continuum of the organization. (a) Learning is not only cognition, is also emotional growth and change for individuals. The way in which individuals integrate information in knowledge is personal (not saying is unique), thus the effectiveness of models in this aspect is doubtful. (b) Organizational identity is a dynamic concept, tied with the development experiences, and should play a major role in generating the learning organization. (c) The theory speaks very little of the aim of organizational learning: organizations learn not only for their business objectives, but for their mission’s fulfillment. The mission includes also playing a “social role” in the entire living that integrates the organization. (d) There were several attempts to compose “recipes” for building a learning organization; but in the authentic meaning a learning organization could only “grow naturally”. Items like trust, commitment and cohesion become important as possible generative factors, as frames for interpreting reality.