information is not knowledge

Information is not knowledge. Sitting in a library does not make you clever. Pouring water over your head does not satisfy a thirst. Reading out a ton of information in a presentation does not make the audience cleverer. It may be what lots of presenters do but it simply doesn’t work. A great presentation has to be more than simply information.

information is not knowledge

There is a huge complexity to teaching and to learning. What is clear that being a teacher is a skill of a higher level than simply reading out lists. It is essential in a presentation to consider this and understand that the transmission of knowledge itself does not necessarily result in learning. We cannot, nor should not, expect that simply constructing a presentation of facts and reading those out will be effective as learning for the audience. The psychological literature and more powerfully, our own bitter experience, confirm this. What is perplexing is that people still construct presentations with exactly this premise. This is The Matrix concept.

The idea that information is not knowledge is a challenge to the majority of people both¬†giving and receiving education, informational or business presentations. It is the foundation of those presentations. The recitation of facts, usually duplicated on the slide has not brought about learning, has not changed practice¬†or secured business deals and progress. That those things have occurred is a tribute to something else, not the presentations. To suggest or begin change strikes at those very foundations. It will not necessarily be warmly greeted because of the implied, if correct, criticism of what has gone before. Some are so inured to this method of “communication” they cannot conceive that it might not be effective. Many wish for change but know of no alternative. Many feel conformity occurs because of its success. Information in and of itself is not knowledge.

For those who seek change in presentations, they are often challenged by the dichotomy this statement forces; how can one teach if not by transfer of information. To answer this we must consider learning, not teaching. We must understand the needs and actions and behaviour of the learner of the topic and then seek to address this through the presentation. Implicit is an understanding that all knowledge required cannot be delivered through one simple presentation. Information is not knowledge.


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