Digital ‘Natives’ Invade the Workplace

Very interesting report from the Pew Research Center. Headline: “Digital ‘Natives’ Invade the Workplace”. I was particularly struck by this passage:

Our research has found consistently that the dominant metaphor for the internet in users’ minds is a vast encyclopedia — more than it is a playground, a commercial mall, a civic commons, a kaffee klatch, or a peep show. This is especially true for younger users, who have grown up relying on it to complete school assignments, perhaps too often clipping and pasting material from websites into term papers.

Sandra Gisin, who oversees knowledge and information management at reinsurance giant Swiss Re, says her colleagues marvel at the speed with which younger workers communicate and gather information. Still, she has had enough bad experiences with credulous younger workers accepting information from the top link on a Google search result that she says the firm will begin new training programs next year to teach workers how to evaluate information and to stress that “not all the best information is free.”

Dow Jones news organizations have similar worries. They have created programs for journalism educators and reporters-in-training to drive home the point that journalists should not rely on Web sources without checking its origin and confirming it in other ways. “We drive home the point that it’s not good enough to say, ‘I read it on the internet,’ without taking other steps to verify it,” notes Clare Hart, Executive Vice President of Dow Jones and President of the Enterprise Media Group.

This is exactly why my Relevant Knowledge programme has launched a new Open University course. It’s title: Beyond Google: working with information online!