Significant Experiences


“Significant” is an important word in doing scientific research, which means “important enough that you cannot ignore it”. For example, if you do scientific experiments, you need to compare results from two groups of data. You need to find out whether they have significant difference statistically.

Here we want to borrow this concept and use it in our learning. So in learning/growth, Significant Experience means experiences that are constructive for your growth or to build up your knowledge in a certain area, while knowledge being understanding of an area on the whole and such understanding can be applied. So significant experiences help you have a better understanding of things or yourself. Or they can be helpful to other. These experiences are big enough that you cannot ignore them. Other than Significant Experience, we have a lot of other random thoughts which really doesn’t help us much and should be filtered out.

Snippetbook is to record Significant Experiences mainly. Significant Experiences are the source of knowledge. Your brain processes the experiences in mainly two ways (greatly simplified): categorize and evaluate its weight. The constantly processed system is your knowledge, which makes your experiences easily accessible when situations come up.

We also expand the concept of Significant Experience a bit to include the info or facts that the learner encounters, such as websites or web scraps collected. The core of Knowledge Engine should be Significant Experiences, which are mostly represented by snippetbook. However, we feel since people are using this tool to record their daily experiences, it will be convenient for them to also record important websites or scraps of reading online as well and they might find it very inconvenient if the tool doesn’t provide this functionality. So we included the ability to collect important websites and web scraps of your reading. However, we must emphasize that the Knowledge Engine is mainly about building up knowledge based on Significant Experiences. This is what is unique about this tool. It is not just another online notebook.

You can also think this way: website bookmarks and web scraps can be treated as part of Significant Experiences as well since they are also valuable for you to build up your experiences in one domain. They are important facts that you have accumulated along the way of learning in one domain, so can be counted as part of the Significant Experiences as well. In practice, we found that the structured knowledge that we have built up do include bookmarks and scraps as valuable components of knowledge. For example, those resources in the learning areas.

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