Mainstreaming Marginalia

In Learning

Following on from an interesting comment thread on Hypergogue (site no longer available), marginalia and the importance of digressions is worthy of mainstreaming, precisely because it leads to ‘ideas surfing’:

” … academic books, even if they’re tedious, have nooks and crannies, references, indices, contents and other things to get your teeth into. Plus they encourage marginalia and digression and daydreaming. So, although the book was boring – and didn’t achieve its learning outcomes, I suppose – I discovered Nonaka and Takeuchi and SECI and ‘tacit knowledge’ and a whole world of ‘knowledge managers’ that I’d never heard of.

Whereas the eLearning attempted to ‘manage my attention’ and my body rejected it, like a transplant patient.”

Published in 2005, the JISC Think Tank, Making Lifelong Learning a Reality still resonates. What I love about this resource is heavy use of  pullouts and margin notes, providing an authentic snapshot of the digressions and insights and contradictions and caveats of the discussions that contributed to the resource. Probably then, a pretty fair summary of the real state of play.  Here are a couple of these margin notes:

  • You can’t change a culture through enthusiasts.
  • Senior managers can be ‘heroic’ about issues they understand.
  • In practice e-learning is often about storing content rather than being interactive.
  • Pedagogy as a term has been hijacked.