As is well known, I am a strong advocate of practice as the means to
master a discipline. We now have nearly 9000 messages in this
conversation, but we have as yet developed no way to document any of the
learning - so all we can confidently reference is knowledge exchange.
This medium has secrets it has yet to yield, but I am concerned that the
approaches are all "old paradigm". For example, very little is said about
the ways visual cues mislead people and distort meaning. I have met many
people face to face AFTER e-mail exchange and developed very rewarding
relationships which I know would not have occurred if we had met face to
face first. The medium relaxes many social constraints, makes all people
equally "attractive" in the physical sense (whatever people mean by that),
and perhaps most important of all, permits pentimento. I believe all of
these contribute much more to meaningful exchange than winks, nods,
bellows, whispers, nudges and tap dances. Except, of course, when they
Rick said, after a [snip],
>In building a learning community joined by this marvelous technology, we
>need to be aware of the attributes of text-only messaging. To really be a
>learning community, we need to surmount the limitations of our medium,
>both individually and collectively.
>The attributes of our medium that I'm noticing are:
> - delay (24 hours turnaround here plus time till you check mail)
> - text-only (no body language, cues from intonation, or gestures)
> - no context (we know each other only from our msgs, don't see the rest
>of each others' lives, what each other are up against)
> - this discussion is moderated (by me), unlike many internet facilities
> - orientation and professional experience of LO participants
>I understand there is good research that most of typical communication is
>non-verbal. Here on the net we miss all the non-verbals, and miss the
>context cues, so we need to be aware of the impacts. Typically, flames
>start and grow more readily in electronic messaging than in face-to-face.
>Many people question whether real community can occur in groups connected
>only by electronic messaging. Our attempt to connect and build a very wide
>learning community via Learning-org is leading edge.
>Here on the LO list, we all know enough about good communications to know
>that words will be interpreted by the reader, that the conclusion may be
>different from what the author intended, and that sometimes there will be
>a strong reaction.
and after another [snip], Rick asks:
>What conversational practices would be effective in these situations?
>What practices would help us deal with the limitations of our medium?
>What practices would flourish in this medium? How about in other settings?
Rick then reminds us that:
>Some time ago, Mike McMaster wrote about a protocol for keeping
>>... called "radial speaking" and
>>refers to the idea that you are speaking only for yourself with no
>>intervening interpretation nor depersonalisation.
>>The elements are:
>> - When x occurs (where x is a sensory report)
>> - I think y (which is my interpretation)
>> - When I think y, I feel z (which is a report on my reaction to
>> my interpretation)
>> - And then I do (or want to do) v in response.
>>The point of such a communication structure is that it is fully
>>self-responsible and covers a fully human communication - external
>>event, interpretation, internal response and motivation for action.
...and Rick goes on to comment:
>A close relative is "precise checking" recommended, as I understand it, by
>Collaborative Action Associates whose principals studied with Chris
>Argyris. That protocol goes something like this:
> - When you do (or say) x
> - I think y (and feel z)
> - And then I do (or want to do) v in response
> - Is that what you intended?
After a short [snip] Rick suggests that:
>When these protocols are used, more is said than in typical conversations,
>and it's said more honesty and more directly. The things we think but
>don't say include a lot of toxic material; this is a way of processing it
>to make it less dangerous. The alternatives are dumping it or keeping it
>inside, both of which have unhealthy consequences for the relationship.
>I propose we try make explicit our notions of effective conversational
>practice in this electronic medium. Practices that will contribute to
>creating a learning community. And, that we actually DO practice them here
As for me, I'm too busy trying to learn how to gauge the quality of the
wool by running my fingers through the fleece.
Jack Hirschfeld How many years must some people exist email@example.com before they're allowed to be free?
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <firstname.lastname@example.org> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>