The Crowded Learning Environment: Micro Thoughts

I have yet to meet anyone who says life is becoming less complex. We encounter more information on a daily basis than ever before and we still have relatively few tools for managing this complexity.  

When this trend is applied to learning situations, the implications can be even greater. While the increase of information is certainly a growing topic of importance, so, too, is the increase of expectations within learning environments. The combination of information and expectations is making learning environments more and more “crowded”.

For example, when someone posts about us, or tags us in a picture, do we feel the expectation to respond? In this case, our attention is not taken up by the information itself, but rather by the need or expectation to respond. This can add stress and a sense of urgency.

Do people learn well in “crowded” learning environments? The research is still out on this. However, we know that successful learning environments are flexible and dynamic. This would suggest that sometimes a crowded learning environment may be beneficial, but we also need the flexibility to be introspective and reflective.