I learned about the Matthew Principle this week, via some readings…and I am kinda concerned. Defined somewhat like “more will be given to those that already have.”
“For example, popular sites in Google that appear on the first page of search results, are apt to remain so because people seldom search much further than that first page, so there is a positive feedback loop whereby those at the top tend to stay there.”
(“Collectives, Networks and Groups in Social Software for E-Learning” by Dron/Anderson)
So how does this affect eLearning trends — I am concerned that current and future innovation might get stiffled by this effect – as can be seen by my informal survey performed on LINKEDIN recently, where I asked the question “Why is it so difficult to change the practice of Education?” -to which I received some interesting answers – but my summation was that existing condition have huge inertia which are terribly hard to change. Then I asked “How come more people don’t teach using stories?”, and a number of people answered because teachers might or might not see the value in changing from their historical (safe) methods.
Maybe the sun will continue to rise day by day, and new innovations will somehow displace yesterday’s hottest new thing, but I am simply a little skeptical – given the enormity of the Internet, and incredibly fragmented nature of technology across the globe (millions or billions of capable XML/PHP/AJAX programmers), making it ever so hard for a new innovation to garner a sizeable marketshare against not 10 but 10,000 open source, free alternatives! Has our favorite tool’s popularity now become an impediment fo our innovation to succeed, and become the future new-new thing? (Maybe this is MS Office’s problem?)