Video and Time

I'm taking Krista Tippet's online course about asking generous questions. It's bigger (in a certain sense) than the kind of questions I need in my line of work, though I think it is still useful to think of conversations in the broad terms that she defines them. You can still learn something about the way to discuss software development and design from thinking about the way you might frame contentious public discourse.

One challenge I have with online course material presented in a video format is that it controls the flow and rate of presentation. This is different than text or pictures, where I (the learner/consumer) get to choose where and how to spend my time.

What I like about the course described above is that the course is broken into many small videos, and I am able to bookmark the course where I need to.

I am also running a discussion group on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

I am using an old-fashioned, dead-tree-style book for this, though not everyone in the discussion is required to do so. What do I love about a paper book? I love being able to skim, reread, and annotate at will.

With text I can skim or not, pause, take notes or not, retrace, and reread, and I can do all that at pretty much the same time using my eyes, hands, and a pen. It's easy. I can access information quickly, get to the point, and move on. Or choose to reread if I want to. I can also access any part of the text that I have bookmarked, more or less instantaneously.

With video these things are harder. I have to wait for the video to get around to the information I am interested in, my bookmarks exist in the context of one video, and notes I still take by hand (albeit electronically) separate from the text.

I'm sure that people are working on solving these challenges with video. At least I hope they are. Video is great for certain things, but books and text still win at some things - density of information and efficiency of access - to name two.

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