Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

Why we remember more by reading – especially print – than from audio or video

Anne says: Lots of people have been commenting about changed habits during lockdown periods. These can range from Netflix binges to discovering podcasts – both audio and video – and reading more. Alongside Zoom fatigue from videoconference meetings, we’ve also seen a lot of organisational learning materials being converted into formats such as audio and video, or PDF files for people to consume at home, in self-directed contexts. Well, that’s all great, because people are consuming more content – right?

Wrong! We need to pay attention to the findings from the type of research studies cited in this article. Ask yourself, do you read differently on-screen (like a laptop) versus on a reader (like a Kindle or tablet) versus on paper (like a book or A4 report)? You may not be aware of it (until now), but the answer is yes! And, paper-based reading is more effective!

Now – that’s a big claim. But don’t throw out your devices just yet. Context matters. The type of reading or watching matters. The article explains the reasoning and importance, in particular, if you want people to learn or recall details. Aside from the physical experience of reading on paper, I found it fascinating how people used location markers to recall information from paper-based texts that you can’t apply in digital formats – it’s called “visual geography” – where in the book or text on the page the information to be recalled was located.

Then there’s the “shallowing hypothesis” – where your mindset when reading digital text is already impacted by social media and casual scrolling, where you are less engaged and easily distracted. So important materials are already diluted simply by their digital context.

Then, there’s video and audio. Although engaging to watch an author presenting their materials in TED Talks or similar formats, the studies have shown that reading their text resulted in better comprehension and recall of the facts and concepts. Partially related to the mind’s ability to wander when listening or watching and also a tendency not to take notes or annotate/highlight aspects of the text.

The final word from the article:

The collective research shows that digital media have common features and user practices that can constrain learning. These include diminished concentration, an entertainment mindset, a propensity to multitask, lack of a fixed physical reference point, reduced use of annotation and less frequent reviewing of what has been read, heard or viewed.

So, context matters. Don’t stop using multiple mediums, just stop and think about the importance of comprehension and recall. Short videos of complex concepts, as a follow-up to having read a detailed on-paper text, can be a powerful form of reinforcement. Watching an author explain their work can bring to life or humanise theories. Listening to podcasts can aid recall by allowing the mind to connect concepts. But remember the printed text and pick up a book!

Read (on-screen): https://theconversation.com/why-we-remember-more-by-reading-especially-print-than-from-audio-or-video-159522

5 myths about flexible work

Jakkii says: Obviously, flexible work isn’t an invention of the pandemic. However, the pandemic has changed the discussion about flexibility and what it means in the workplace, in a world where, for “desk-based” workers at least, we have demonstrated that people can work effectively from home when given the tools – and the permission – to do so.

As we work through year 2 of covid and progress further through the rollout of vaccinations, discussions tend to focus on where people will work: in the office, at home, or a combination of the two (i.e. a hybrid workplace). We probably need to be talking at least as much about how we will work going forward, no matter which workplace type we envision for our organisations, post-pandemic. And one of those hows that we should be talking about is flexible work – what that means, what that looks like, and how to ensure it’s effective in our workplaces.

As such, this piece on HBR piqued my interest immediately. The article starts with this quote:

Flexibility might be great in theory, but it just doesn’t work for us.

Sound familiar? Even if it’s not how your workplace sees flexibility, you’ve probably worked somewhere that does, or know of leaders who’d say this about their organisations or their teams. This article takes a look at why, and in the view of the authors, it primarily comes down to fear. They list what they call the ‘Myth of the Five C’s’:

  1. Loss of control

  2. Loss of culture

  3. Loss of collaboration

  4. Loss of contribution

  5. Loss of connection

They then go on to how you might address each fear or myth. Nothing they share here is unexpected to me, but that’s not a bad thing. If you’re already familiar with things such as the need for having clearly defined and communicated standards for how you work together, and making time to connect in person occasionally (where possible) and in informal or social online gatherings as well, then you’re probably already well versed in how to make flexibility work for you, your team, and your business. And if you’re not, well, now’s a good time to get familiar, and give some good thought to how this can practically apply in your organisation to provide people with the flexibility to choose when and where they work, within a framework that works for your business.

Read: https://hbr.org/2021/06/5-myths-about-flexible-work

Friday Fives

Hybrid workplace and the future of work

Remote work and the digital workplace

Communication, collaboration, engagement, and culture

Community management, moderation and misinformation

Privacy and data

Big Tech, tech and regulation

Explainer: India’s new internet rules are a step toward ‘digital authoritarianism,’ activists say. Here’s what they will mean

Social media

Bonus: Regulators are trying to get Elon Musk to run his tweets by lawyers. It’s not working.

Extras

This is interesting: The secret psychology of sneaker colours

Things that make you go hmmm: Terrible news, everyone: AI is learning how to post cringe

Space: Navigation error sends NASA’s Mars helicopter on wild ride

Podcast: What you can do about the mental health crisis at work

Friday (video) playlist: All the talks from the 2021 Community Club Summit

Sydney Business Insights – The Future, This Week Podcast

This week: bees, their economic impact and why it’s so important to protect them, with special guest Emily Remnant.

Sandra Peter (Sydney Business Insights) and Kai Riemer (Digital Disruption Research Group) meet once a week to put their own spin on news that is impacting the future of business in The Future, This Week.

Our guest this week

Dr Emily Remnant

The Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution Lab (BEE Lab)

Wheen Bee Foundation

The stories this week

04:40 – M&S faces backlash over plan to release 30m honeybees

Listen: https://sbi.sydney.edu.au/the-business-of-bees-on-the-future-this-week/


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