Software Engineer’s Blog

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From data processing to knowledge sharing, and beyond

At times, it is good to step back and take a look at what we are doing. I believe, it is the very essence of what Stephen Covey referred to as “Sharpen the Saw: Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal”; the seventh habit in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People . I would say, caught in the rat race, this is one of the first good habit that is easily compromised

An interesting blog Knowledge vs. Information…Which is it? reminded me on this, to take a look at e-learning; or more precisely learning itself

Computer has evolved from being a device for data processing to a platform for knowledge sharing. However, does that make a platform for learning. No doubt, it assists but to be a platform for learning, I believe we have still a long way to go

What am I saying? Well, there is distinct difference in both the notion and dictionary meaning for terms i) data, ii) information, iii) knowledge, iv) expertise and v) wisdom

Why is this important to discuss? We live in a world where i) huge amount of data is being created and processed every minute, ii) amount of information we require to consume and process to make decision to stay effective and competitive, both in personal life and business is huge and is increasing, iii) great deal of effort goes into creation of data and processing of information rather than presenting for a purpose, iv) ability to assimilate information to make quick decisions could make huge differences in personal life, career and business.

Let me explain this in a context. My father has been going through a traumatic phase over last two years; short term memory loss and similar strange behavioral patterns. From the descriptions from his physician, I understand that this is due to a growth (hopefully benign) in the brain. What is the issue? What is the cause? What is the best possible treatments? What are side effects? What are do’s and don’ts?

Before web, information to me was limited to what our physicians in the friendly neighborhood could offer but now a whole world of information is available to me. Mark my words, it is information at best; not knowledge!

I do not expect my doctor to be God. I do not expect my doctor to be all powerful and all knowing. I do respect the profession and respect the person. But I would like to educate myself. I do not expect to educate myself to the level of my doctor. As a professional, I understand what it takes to be a professional. My intention behind educating myself is to make informed decisions; as best as I can

I do it but I think it could be better. I look forward to it being better. I look forward to making it better if I can. What does it take? That is where I believe we need to distinguish between i) data, ii) information, iii) knowledge, iv) expertise and v) wisdom.

What is the distinction?
I believe, they are:
Data, as we all know, is raw facts.
Information is relevant data available on time.
Knowledge is internalized information/awareness,
Expertise is ability to apply knowledge (what)/skill (how)
Wisdom is knowing when/where to apply

To me, learning is moving from having to work with a lot of data to wisdom where I can make informed decisions. As an old saying goes, first quarter of learning is from the master, second is from the learner himself/herself, third is from peers and forth from experience.

Web 2.0 has everything that it takes to make it happen. Well, someone needs to make it happen

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December 9, 2009 Posted by | Collaboration, e-Learning, eLearning, Healthcare | 1 Comment

What is good for others should be good for us too, right?

I came across a news about ‘Pan-African e-network for education and health care‘. Interesting, indeed.

I happened to visit Nigeria a couple of years back; and, I believe, that is a country which is relatively better off among countries of that continent. I have a few friends in some other countries there as well.

Land of many great people but many there are not privileged to live with the kind of comforts, including quality health care and education, that we almost take for granted. From that perspective, I am sure, it is good initiative for the continent largely ignored.

I think it is high time for action, back in India as well. Two areas that we can hardly afford to miss is education and health care considering spread and diversity of the country. Well, almost all educational and health care institutions worth its name is on network one way or other. How far have we tapped e-Network? Real value is not in the physical connectivity but rather on content, services and collaboration within the network and world at large.

India’s recent rise into global scene owes credit to initial policies and initiatives of visionary leadership of independent India. These have laid a strong foundation for bold economic initiatives of 1990s could build on. It is important that this advantage is not frittered away amidst the euphoria. If we fail to capitalize on this, growth that we see now will be short-lived. Interestingly, India has a unique advantage at this moment with proven expertise in information and communication technologies.

October 11, 2009 Posted by | e-Learning, Healthcare | Leave a comment