Blogs vs. Books for learning

10/30/2007 | Christian Kreutz

This post is rather abstract. It depicts me being puzzled about choosing between blogs or books. The question is if these two media could even be compared at all? Today I heard a presentation on which it was said that the internet is no medium, in the way that you absorb no knowledge from it, and so, only printed publications make you reflect the content.

Flickr giandoObviously, I have doubts about the previously said, but there are many differences between blogs and books. Just to describe a few, here, on blogs, links give further information and also feedbacks are commented directly. On books, the content stands for itself and in many cases only the bibliography shows a reference. Blogs are quick and informal, hold personal--short or long--reflections and often try to keep up with the rapid pace of the web. Books are well thought and take months or years to be published, and are based on a framework of hypothesis. Books were for centuries the ultimate way to share and acquire knowledge, but this has changed with the Internet fundamentally. In the early days, the Internet was great as a book searching tool, yet the overall knowledge offered was rather weak.

Nowadays, the Internet offers tremendous resources to learn and even allow us to share and create new knowledge. This is a way of how we process knowledge and learn completely different, as indeed Philosopher Konrad Paul Liessmann points out in this quote I translated into English:

We do not approach things causal linear. We do not try to tap a text from its inner structure, instead, we approach associative information; we sample much more, we work much more on the principle of collage/montage. Peaces of knowledge, texts, photos, all we find in Internet, we rearrange, sort it individually. We do not tap and understand things in the classical approach of the hermeneutic, simply because this new medium supports much more to tackle problems in an associative manner.

This is an interesting description which shows how networked learning can look like. Blogging, therefore, is a mean to start reflecting the sheer mass of information or bring it down to some puzzle pieces. The sheer incredible pace of information, however, cannot be reflected just by blogging and linking. Books give still space for reflection although on the next page there are not dozens of links to follow. To read a book from beginning to end is consequently a very different experience than to read blogs. I do not want to miss any of them, but I start wondering how to keep up with the pace of information.