Information Overload (IO) is typically associated with processing input from external sources, such as Email and Search Engine results. However, Information Overload can also occur when retrieving information from our memory.
The “cue” used for information retrieval may be associated with multiple items in our long-term memory.
Specificity of encoding information to be stored will reduce this risk.
Matthew Guyan suggests 5 ways to improve the distinctiveness of encoding cues for effective recall:
1) Present some information via the visual channel and some via the verbal channel
- If all of the content is processed visually i.e. via text, pictures or animations, the visual channel can become overloaded. Using narration transfers some of the content to the verbal channel thereby spreading the load between the channels and improving processing capacity.
2) Break content into smaller segments and allow the learner to control the pace
- If the content is complex and the pace is too fast, the learner may not have enough time to effectively process the information. Breaking complex content into smaller chunks and allowing the learner to control the speed of the learning lets them to process the information more effectively.
3) Remove non-essential content
- Background music and decorative graphics may appear to make the eLearning more interesting. However, these elements require incidental processing and increase extraneous load. If the content doesn’t support the instructional goal, it should be removed.
4) Words should be placed close as possible to the corresponding graphics
- When text is located away from the corresponding graphic, learners are forced to scan the screen in order to align the text to the graphic which requires additional cognitive processing. Placing the text close to the corresponding graphic improves the transfer of information.
5) Don’t narrate on-screen text word-for-word
- When on-screen text is narrated, the same information is presented to learners via both channels. Rather than spreading the load, learners are forced to process the same information twice which means that there is a great deal of redundancy. If using narration, the on-screen text should be a summary.
Further, McDermitt & Roediger III (Washington U.) describe the 3 stages of memory processing–a foundation for understanding the role of cues for information retrieval.
- Encoding is defined as the initial learning of information.
- Storage refers to maintaining information over time.
- Retrieval is the ability to access information when you need it.
Consider how mnemonics, acronyms, and acrostics can facilitate encoding information for targeted, not diffuse recall.
To all people that work, no matter what’s the work, we all need in massive amount to communicate.
- To understand what we do
- to talk to peers
- to share what we do
- to learn about what has to be done
- to understand from the environment how to do it
and the list could continue for several pages.
Alone we are not able to do anything and our work in itself is a sum of action to accomplish something for the benefit of others.
In this light I should assume that ensuring a good communication has top priority into each of our days. Does it?
- Do you always think before sending your messages?
- Do you always adapt to the best channel suitable to convey it?
- Do you make sure to provide feedback to your peers so they will know how to best get in touch with you next time?
- Do you make sure you have full focus anytime you communicate avoiding any possible distractions?
In the past weeks with these 3 videos I shared some of the hints how we can communicate more appropriately, thinking outside the inbox.
The list is long but the most important thing to consider are:
- The channel through with we convey our messages
- The reduction of the noise around (such as notifications) so that we can properly pay attention
- The simplicity of our content for easier transmission and understanding
All this is in direct proportion with the reduction of information overload, the more we pay attention to good communication, the less we overload and get overloaded.
In the first week (videos you can see here above) I talk about noise reduction, then I shared some hints about e-mail and how to reflect each time we need to share a message and finally one example of how one e-mail message can be easily substituted with instant messaging spending the same time in crafting it but gaining many more side benefits.
The #iorglivemonth will continue, something more about e-mail and then full focus on how to communicate in a more simple and clear way.
Stay tuned, it’s gonna be live till the end of January here bit.ly/iorglivemonth
Our search of gathered and stored content in our digital storage devices may be aided by secondary keys; yet the basic architecture is rows and columns unless you have a semantic storage system.
The advent of knowledge graphs (commercially available) can transform your storage taxonomy into a folksonomy–saving time and overload of retrieved contents. Pruning our retrieval hits from external and internal searches should help reduce our information overload.
We tend to focus or prioritize our time on URGENT tasks without necessarily considering the importance of each task.
A variety of individuals have offered suggestions to reduce this bias.
Alice Boyes in a Harvard Business Review article proposed prioritizing tasks in consideration of your longer-term goals or “big picture.”
The Eisenhower Approach provides a 4 quadrant matrix for classifying your tasks.
Martha Beck in the Oprah Magazine adds helpful steps for adopting this process.
Hopefully, a focus on important tasks will reduce the amount of information required to complete your task list.
I however, found one missing element–an unimportant, but urgent task may have a deadline set by your boss that cannot be postponed.
Nonetheless, this proposal is worth your consideration.
As shared last week, FOMO can lead to addictive checking of all your social and work media channels resulting in increased stress and decreased productivity.
Dr. Axe provides a five-step process for decreasing cell phone addiction. Could also be applicable to e-mail inbox addiction.
Real-time messaging certainly has some benefits, e.g., alerts for traffic congestion, a loved one in trouble, a client’s critical complaint.
Human bandwidth, however, is a limited resource. Thus, some combination of message prioritization and behavior modification is needed to regain control of our lives from magnetic FOMO.
IORG’s October 23, 2018 IO Day program will address this FOMO attraction-avoidance dilemma.
Stay tunes for forthcoming announcement details.
The following is an excerpt written by Yury Gubman, Knowmail’s Head of AI, from a recent IORG interview between Emanuele Terenzani (Lele), Yury, and myself about the need to use Artificial Intelligence to solve Information Overload.
The interview can be viewed below in its entirety, while the excerpt provides a few additional notes not available in the video.
FOMO or Fear of Missing Out has become a national disease that impacts our personal and work lives.
Addiction to frequently checking our e-mail, Twitter, Instagram, etc. accounts singularly or overall diminishes time spent on work tasks and family activities.
Aysel Safarova @ chanty.com has an interesting blog post (3/17) discussing the impact of FOMO on worker productivity.
If you in the FOMO camp, this post may help you.
OVERLOAD – IS IT HARMING US?: BY M.MANN -EMAILOGIC
Is your reliance on email affecting your health?
The US technology consultant Linda Stone has discovered that many of us unconsciously hold our breath, or breathe shallowly while responding to emails – a habit that can compound stress.
This can then add fuel to a host of other symptoms such as asthma, depression and obesity.
Nick Ingram (July 2016) states the known: more signal, less noise.
He also proposes that old information “stands the test of time” is more useful than new information.
Yet isn’t new information more actionable?
This proposal plus reducing social media input certainly could help reduce IO; yet current, relevant inputs should not be disregarded.
His website clearthinking.co does have some interesting and valuable resources to browse.