Processing Change Instigated by Immersed New Media Usage and its Implications for School-Based and Informal Learning

Processing Change Instigated by Immersed New Media Usage and its Implications for School-Based and Informal Learning

Gorg Mallia (University of Malta, Malta)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-015-0.ch007


This case presented in this chapter1 revolves around the hypothesis that information processing has changed from a linear format, within a chronological progression, to a partially controlled chaotic format, with tracking achieved primarily through hypertextual nodes which goes against the enforced linearity of most institutionally imposed hierarchical learning. Suggestions are given as to how basic schooling methodologies may need to be modified to conform to new learning practices. The possibility of the informal learning option more amenable to hypertextual processing is also explored. Online whimsical searches and acquisition of information through social software interaction and other new media technology immersion has changed the breadth of informal learning, particularly self-directed and incidental learning. In a study of University of Malta students that requested self-perceptive descriptions of learning preferences (formal study/independent acquisition). 70% opted for formal study, explainable by their traditional academic context. 30% preferred flexibility and the intrinsic motivation stimulated by self-direction; a significant number given that a decision about a life choice was requested.
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Internet usage in more technologically advanced continents has grown massively as shown in Table 1. There has been a huge usage growth since 2000, and there is a 50.1% penetration in Europe, 60.1% in Oceania/Australia, and a massive 73.9% in North America. At least in Europe, quoting slightly older statistics, 73% of young people aged 16 to 24 use the Internet at least once a week (Eurostat News Release, 2006). There can be no doubt that this has grown exponentially.

Table 1.
Internet usage and world population dtatistics for June 30, 2009
World RegionsPopulation (2009 Est.)Internet Users Latest DataPenetrati on (% Population)Growth 2000-2009Internet users by World Region
Africa 999,002,34265,903,9006.7%1,359.9%3.9%
Middle East202,687,00547,964,14623.7%1,360.2%2.9%
North America340,831,831251,735,50073.9%132.9%15.1%
Latin America/Caribbean586,662,468175,834,43930.0%873.1%10.5%
World Total6,767,805,2081,668,870,40824.7%362.3%100.0%

Source: © 2001-2009, Miniwatts Marketing Group

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