Learning Is Enhanced by Surprise

Information is created through the juxtaposition of one idea with another. But insight emerges when that juxtaposition creates a sense of surprise. When we are surprised—when we are confronted not with the expected message but a novel perspective—it expands our understanding by provoking comparison and contrast, evaluation and re-imagination.

For this reason, it is good to read broadly, and to build information systems that include an element of randomness. Luhmann's zettelkasten, Schmidt points out, facilitated the creation of new knowledge by systematically connecting ideas that do not necessarily have an obvious connection to one another.



Luhmann, Niklas. “Communicating with Slip Boxes.” Translated by Manfred Kuehn. Two Essays by Niklas Luhmann. Accessed October 19, 2020. https://luhmann.surge.sh/communicating-with-slip-boxes.

Schmidt, Johannes F. K. “Niklas Luhmann’s Card Index: The Fabrication of Serendipity.” Sociologica 12, no. 1 (2018): 53—60.