Connectivity, information overload metaphors

This relates to my past post and my response to Jenny’s post and George’s post on Quora

My confusion with information overload, that may be the result of filter failure is that under the web and internet information space and media landscape, each of us could flap our wings, raise our “voices” in our connections and interactions, and so most of the surprises are unpredictable, like the weather, and are emergent..even with the patterns that emerged.  So connections create meaning (at social level), but the meaning is in the networks (at neural or neuronal level).  The connections only make sense in “meaning” when it is perceived and interpreted by the connectors (nodes) or networks upon interaction.  That sounds complicated, and even complex – or further confusion…(even with aggregators and curators) because every one could interpret these aggregated and curated information or artefacts differently.  So, my view is: each of us could interpret connectivity in learning  (connectivism) differently, depending on your angles, your emotions, your context, and your attitudes towards connections, and networks, people.


How about the metaphor of a coin as a way to connect under connectivism?

In a coin, the 2 sides (top and bottom) represent the yin and yang of our voices, and the rim represents the multiple perspectives of each of us (both tacit and explicit ones).

When each of us interact in the networks, as shown in this piling up of coins, we could all see and sense that it’s yin and yang interacting with each other, surrounding us with more perspectives of the networks.  The emergence would be: toppling of the coins, or alignment of all coins.  However, if the coins are all piled up too high, then sooner or later, the whole pile could collapse.  This is similar to the information or connections overload, when too many coins are in “connection” with each other.  So we may need to focus on the similar coins, and pile the coins with care to maintain stability.  Would that explain why limited connections is better for us?

the compass


Another metaphor that could be useful to illustrate this would be connectivism as magnets – the polarity of nature, that magnetism exhibits on earth and in ferrous alloys.

Such polarity of views and perspectives (or different voices of individuals) could also be represented in the form of yin yang or the north and south poles.  Like poles repel and unlike poles attract.

The compass is where all these “connections” are connected to show the directions.  In this case, the context, the actual position and the actors (people, tools, resources, artifacts) are all inter-dependent and important in guiding us.

What are some techniques and strategies in handling information overload?

In this managerial information overload:

The more structured techniques for information handling required to manage information overload can be achieved at three levels of specificity:

Tools and Techniques. Knowledge workers need better tools and techniques to structure and retrieve information more effectively from both internal and external sources.

Organizational Design. Second, because changes in contemporary organizational structure have contributed to the explosion of information overload, organizational management needs to account for information overload in organization design.

Capacity for Inquiry. Third, these organizations need to address information overload issues at the level of the individual knowledge worker. People may perceive overload because the information they receive does not fit their mental models of reality.

Are these techniques and strategies effective in an open learning environment such as social networks or media?

I have found some of the following useful:

(a) Use of PLE/N

(b) Adoption of reflective inquiry in networked learning

(c) Immersion and inquiry in networks

(d) Research into PLE/N


5 thoughts on “Connectivity, information overload metaphors

  1. Pingback: Quora

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  3. Pingback: #Change11 The Yin and Yang in Life, Education and Learning | Learner Weblog

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