Assessing and Enhancing Knowledge Workers’ Meta-Documentation and Self-Testing: A SSHRC Grant Proposal

I recently applied for a 2-year SSHRC grant to study some of the problems with which Cognitive Productivity is concerned, such as

  1. the challenges knowledge workers face (a) in learning with technology and more generally (b) processing knowledge resources with technology;
  2. the effectiveness of proposed solutions to these challenges.

It is important to study these issues because we depend on knowledge workers to specify and solve humanity’s most critical and complex problems! These people are the “engine” of the knowledge economy.

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Review of Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book — 42 years later

This is a review of Mortimer Adler’s book, How to Read a Book, which I posted this morning on GoodReads.com

I have delved into Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book several times since the 1980’s. The book addresses major problems all readers face. Even if one doesn’t adopt the strategies it proposes, it’s useful to think about these problems.

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An OmniOutliner Meta-doc Template for Taking Notes

In my previous blog post, I introduced the challenges we face in taking notes with technology.

Today, I have added to Cognitive Productivity: Using Knowledge to Become Profoundly Effective a free OmniOutliner “meta-doc template” for taking notes about information that really matters to you. It may be a particularly high quality e-book, a potent TED talk, a very important lecture, an appealing podcast, or something else. If you don’t take notes about the content, then you have to rely on your memory. And we know that memories fade! If you do take notes about the content, you might as well take them in a systematic way such that you can easily find the information later when you need it.

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How to Take Notes with Technology: Far Beyond the Cornell Method with Cognitive Productivity

There are several good reasons to take notes about information you process. Most people don’t, because they lack note taking systems or the motivation to use them. Technology has made note taking both easier and harder. Easier, because one now has more tools than ever to take , organize and find notes. Harder, because there is now what seems to many to be an unmanageably large amount of information to take notes about.

Moreover, none of the tools are entirely satisfactory in themselves. For example, note taking apps such as Evernote® and Microsoft® OneNote® have major drawbacks, such as locking your information in an opaque, proprietary database (remember Lotus Notes?) whose contents cannot be accessed using standard file management utilities. To use Sharon Bratt’s expression, they have low “pedagogical utility” —despite their appeal for certain problems, they are the opposite of what you need to stretch your mind when “delving” potent content.

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