Topic 3 Relevance of Information

The relevance of information has changed over the course of time. T. Weller states “The fundamental questions (…) have always been related to information in society, politics, economics, the media, and business, how people understand information, and how it is transformed by changes in society.”

The transition to digital communication is just another change in society and information technologies but information has to be delivered accordingly. What information is relevant for the receiver? What kind of information should be delivered?

Shannon-Weaver’s model highlights how important the channel of communication really is. Is the message being delivered digitally or face-to-face? Is it in written form in an email of in a short chat message.

The sender is the originator of the message or information who puts his message into an encoder (for example using email to send a message). The message goes through the email channel and the internet and arrives at the decoder, decoding the email into understandable words for the receiver. Here it is important that both parties use the same code. If, for example, someone sends a message in another language, the other party might not have the correct methods to understand the message, despite how informative it might be. The message doesn’t arrive at the receiver.

Now besides noise being able to influence the message (for a digital example, images are not displayed properly, chat messages are cut short, voice recordings have too much background noise, etc.), it becomes apparent how important it is for the message to actually include the correct amount of information, otherwise risking no or negative feedback from the receiver.

Information Needs

Materials: Sheet with information/messages

The group/individuals read through the information sheet. Let them write an email draft to the group including the information they think is important. Let the group identify problematic information areas.

Thematic areas to discuss:

  • Delivering too much information
  • Forwarding mails without a message
  • Delivering too little information
  • Providing links and further reading

The professionals should point out to their students how to avoid such problems and engage them in sharing their experiences with joint group projects using digital communication.

This topic highlights the importance of information and its delivery. Professionals learn about the challenges of information delivery for digital communication. Thus, they are able to convey possible challenges and solution onto the learners. Learners will be able to recognize relevant information and will be able to deliver it in an effective and clear way, allowing for the best possible collaboration and avoiding misunderstandings.