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Raheel Lakhani

Educational Technologist,

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Has specialization or focus on expertise been an advantage to us or a disadvantage?

In past, whether it was Greeks or the Muslim Empire, there was a lot of focus on eclectic knowledge. The main quest was for learning as a whole and not in different disciplines. Though a lot of categorization has come from that place, still they never concentrated on one categorization. They were well-versed in diverse things.

Is the fragmentation a sin of modern academia? or does specializations really help? how much is it needed and where/when we should avoid? Is jack of all a bad thing?

what are its implications of our education systems? what are its implications in decision-making in varied contexts?

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    Mar 17 2011: Specialization leads to efficiency, and great experts, but a general knowledge base is necessary for a really successful life. I would argue that the greatest thinkers and visionaries of our time are sort of multi-specialists, people who can combine expert knowledge of various disciplines to produce something new and interesting. They are a sort of modern renaissance men and women.

    So, specialization, while important, is dangerous at its extremes just like anything else. Consider the cases of autistic-savants, who can memorize whole books in minutes, or tell you whether today's date in ten thousand years is a Sunday, but can't tie their shoes. If we specialize too much, we may find that we endanger our ability to interact outside the tiny area of our knowledge.

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