Re: CBT v Training

Subject: Re: CBT v Training
From: Chris Knight <knight -at- ADA -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 12:23:10 -0800

This thread is one of those that goes to the heart of what technical
communication is: communication amongst PEOPLE about technical subjects.
We have been hearing about how CBT was going to replace instructors for
about 20 years; there ARE always newer and "better" technologies.

People are INHERENTLY more complex than any technology that can be
brought to bear on them. Why? Because we have bodies. We aren't neutral
on issues of heat and cold, light and dark, togetherness and aloneness
etc. etc. etc. We are biased by our corporality, our incarnation in the

The sooner we realize that the dream (nightmare) of replacing people
with machines (as old as Frankenstein, as obsessive as Artificial
Intelligence) is anti-human the better. The fact that SOME humans have
this dream should be seen as another (pathological) quirk of humans.
We have lots of them: gossip, betrayal, war, guilt, etc. etc.

Technical communicators must of course look for the best (i.e most
effective for their audience and their clients) means to communicate.
But we should ralize that all such methods are at best second-best
substitutes for person-to-person explanation, encouragement, responding
to questions etc. When we gain spread, reproducibility, etc. we lose
bandwidth, immediacy etc. This is life; nothing new here; it's been
going on since we invented language.

Technical communicators who forget that it is PEOPLE who both produce
and consume knowledge are bound to make poor choices when it comes to

Chris Knight
Consultant, Technical Communication Architect
Vancouver BC, Canada
(currently at Applied Digital Access,
e-mail: knight -at- bcg -dot- ada -dot- com)
Phone: 604-415-5886 Fax: 604-415-5900
Opinions expressed are my own, not ADA's

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