Many of Nelson’s concepts for future information retrieval allow us to non-linearly and non-predictably traverse text. In “Some Premises Relevant to Teaching,” he says claims “there is no natural order or sequence” of teaching. Hypertext, hypermaps, hypergrams and his other IR suggestions give the user a tremendous amount of choice about where they move.
Where do stories, as a tool for teaching, fit into this view? Isn’t it sometimes valuable that to force ourselves to listen to facts, presented in a certain order? Is it possible to have stories that don’t imply a “natural order or sequence”?
I’m skeptical that our brains can handle as much “on the fly” connecting and arranging as Nelson claims they can. I personally find clear sequences of facts and texts very helpful in learning a subject. I also know that there are fundamental limits on our short-term working memory that make thinking *harder* when faced with complex information, like the ones Nelson describes.