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I recently enjoyed a discussion with a friend who has spent a lifetime if the educational field. We were talking about different methods of acquiring information. Her description was excellent.

Hunting and Gathering are the 2 basic ways that people approach acquiring information that they need or want.

A Hunter is looking for a specific answer to a specific question or a solution to a specific problem.

A Gatherer is looking for a block of information on a subject in order to determine what information will best help answer a question or accomplish a task

If the air conditioning quit suddenly in an office on a hot day, a gatherer would seek information on replacement units available and where and how soon they could be obtained. A Hunter would be looking for the means of getting the unit started again immediately (fuse, filter etc.)

In the field of industrial learning, often the Hunter approach is most practical. How to complete a process, fill out a form or fix a machine are urgent tasks and specific answers are needed.

At the beginning of a project or to determine what information is available on a subject, the gathering approach works best.

So how does it all tie together?

In developing digital training products, 3 items are vital to succesful knowledge access:

  1. A clear complete and simiple index
  2. A straightworward search engine
  3. Well identified topics with intelligebt keywords

If the product conatiains lots of information of different levels of importance, then some prioritization is in order so that important information doesn’t get lumped in with less important info. In other words, the answer to a question that is asked daily needs to be more accessable than one that gets asked once every 6 months.

So who do you cater to, The Hunter or the Gatherer?

The answer (at least for industrial strength digital learning) s both!

  • Hunters and Gatherers
  • Different ways of acquiring knowledge
  • Definition
  • Examples
  • Advantages of each
  • As relevant to marketing as it is to education
  • Attention spans
  • Browsing
  • Just in time learning
  • Motivational aspects
  • Which is better
  • That depends on need
  • How to combine