I have seen many recent posts about “Do-it-yourself” learning management systems, including Harold Jarche’s recent post. It is OK to learn from a book. Yes, the Internet is a great resource; however, I find that I need something to help me find direction. The Internet often provides too many choices for me. (BTW, a great book about the impact of too much choice is The Paradox of Choice by Bary Schwartz).
As I reflect on how I learn, it is interesting that I find I often need a book to get me started. When I tackle a new software package or instructional design concept, I go searching for a book to get me going. I get the book, and crack it open. Sometimes, I will not get beyond the first chapter or two … then the learning seems to occur more by osmosis than by reading. At some point, the book gets put down (usually, less than half read). The first chapter was enough to get me started and then I am off … learning by doing.
Maybe that is the key. The Internet often has lots of detailed information, but lacks the overview that the book gives me. Or, maybe it is just that I need the print in a space that isn’t in front of my computer (without the pressures and distractions that come with the computer).
Either way you slice it, I find my best learning occurs when I have a book on the topic, even if I don’t read it!