GRE Issue Essay 34

“As societies all over the world have more and more access to new information, the effects on life-long learning can only be positive.”

The advent of technological discoveries has made the process of accessing information very easy. Everyone can access information related to any field by picking up books on that subject or browsing related web sites. Access to all types of information will make people aware of the environment around them. People will be able to gain information on all subjects and they will be able to utilize the information gained for their own benefit. Therefore, the effects of this type of learning will be positive to quite an extent. However, there are some side effects of the information that is readily available for the consumption of all people irrespective of their ages. Hence, it cannot be accepted that the effects of this life-long learning can only be positive with no shades of negativity.

The media serves as a good source for providing information to people. It is quite true that information given by the media percolates down to the masses and does a lot of good to the entire society as people learn a lot from the experiences of others. However, this widespread flow of information may have a negative effect on the young impressionable minds of teenagers. Real stories of crime have an adverse effect on teenagers who feel that they can get easy money by doing the same. Common information on the side-effects of drug-addiction are well-known, but this information about usage of drugs for getting the ‘state of high’ instigates teenagers to try out drugs for the first time leading to their getting ‘hooked’ on to drugs. Therefore, can the learning gained from this kind of a source be termed as a positive effect on life-long learning?

The internet is a good source of information on all subjects ranging from history to medical sciences. Apart from the official or government web sites, all web sites do not provide authentic information. People have started resorting to the internet for treatments for common ailments. Numerous web sites give out herbal remedies for a number of diseases. There is no dearth of web sites on the internet that offer products which give miraculous results like height gain, weight loss, hair growth etc. Search engines on the internet are used by one and all for looking up information on any topic pertaining to any aspect of life. Is the information given in all these web sites authentic? The learning attained from this kind of a source can never have a positive effect; rather it might lead to a negative effect on learning with the web sites charging the visitors to their sites for providing information and the visitors will be oblivious to the fact that the information being provided is not authentic.

People tend to learn a lot by experience and by direct contact. Easy access to information is making people go beyond the realms of traditional educational systems to enhance their knowledge. In yesteryears people used to do extensive reading from standardized books to learn about the world in general. However, in today’s world, societies are gaining more and more access to information and people are looking beyond authentic information for updating their knowledge. There are numerous sources of information that are being utilized by societies, but it is not necessary that all of them will have a positive effect on learning. It is true that any source of information does have a positive effect in the long run. However, it cannot be refuted that along with the positive effects, there will be a small percentage of negative effects which may have to be ignored for the overall progress of the society.