A Concise and Brilliant Peer-Reviewed Article on Writer’s Block

I’m passing this along from Bob Sutton’s blog (which you ought to be reading if you care about management and leadership in today’s enterprises).

Below you can see an entire article (including a reviewer’s comment) that may look fake, but is legitimate. It was published by Dennis Upper in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis in 1974, and is funny, true, and inspired — and a great demonstration that "brevity is the soul of wit."   Academics, especially the editor’s of our journals, have a well-deserved reputation for being humorless assholes (note I edited a couple academic journals and include myself in this swipe), so I give these editors a lot of credit.  A big thanks to Thomas Haymore for telling me about this masterpiece and to Professor Brad DeLong for publishing it on his blog a few days ago.


A Concise and Brilliant Peer-Reviewed Article on Writer’s Block
Mon, 06 Dec 2010 17:52:26 GMT

Sugata Mitra on designing systems for learning – TED talk

I’ve finally gotten around to the following TED video that’s been queued up in my "to read/watch" stack. In it, Sugata Mitra describes his "Hole in the Wall" experiments that placed internet connected PCs into New Delhi slums and watched what happened. It’s worth 20 minutes of your time.


Mitra’s conclusion is that you can get a lot of learning for very little investment, particularly in the trappings of formal education that we tend to take for granted. People are wired to learn and appear to do so best in small groups of like-minded learners. They need access to resources and encouragement. They don’t particularly need someone more expert to guide them; their natural curiosity works as well or better. Mitra’s view is that education is best treated as a self-organizing system.

Digging into how learning works versus how we naively think it works is important in the world we find ourselves in. Individually and organizationally, we are faced with ongoing challenges to learn. Neither we nor our organizations can afford the necessary learning time if it has to be in the form of conventional settings. Following the threads worked for the kids in Mitra’s experiments. We need to follow a similar path. We also need to experiment with integrating those learning paths into the demands of day-to-day work.