TVO's podcast Big Ideas had a fantastic lecture by Don Tapscott in which he laid out how learning has drastically changed since we entered the digital era. The generation of people born as of 1978 have grown up with computers and the internet and developed a radical different approach to knowledge, learning and intellectual exchange in general.
The essence of Tapscott's message is though that this is not necessarily bad. Quite to the contrary, he shows a lot of admiration for the new learners and expresses the hope that this new generation is actually better at handling the challenges of the day. In his mind, the former learners were too passive for this. Growing up with TV, frontal education and information gathered in books, made earlier generations wait for knowledge to arrive and take it at face value. Modern learners immediately compare and actively collect information.
His favorite example is that of an excellent student who admits he never reads books and thus on the face of it symbolizes how our intellectual world goes down the drain. Yet, Tapscott follows up on this and shows what the student is capable of and extracts from him how he does acquire knowledge and even knows what is in the books he did not read. This is the lecture for all those who fear our youth goes down the drain and feels guilty for wasting ones time on the internet in stead of learning the good old fashioned way.
More Big Ideas:
Why isn't the whole world developed?,
The role and place of the intellectual,
The Bad News about Good Work.