Updated: 3/25/2007; 10:25:18 AM.


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  Wednesday, July 24, 2002

  Learning On-Line vs. e-Learning; tacit learning

From: #238 Elliott Masie's TechLearn TRENDS:

Learning On-Line vs. e-Learning?  I was struck by how an answer changes depending on how you phrase the question.  I usually ask audiences at my keynote speeches about their experiences with e-Learning or On-Line Learning?  When I ask how many people in the audience have recently taken an On-Line Course, the response is often between 20 and 30 percent.

One day, my tongue got a bit tied and I asked the question with a few changes.  “How many of you have learned things on-line recently?” Suddenly, almost 98% of the hands in the audience went up.  I was shocked until I realized how I had fundamentally changed the question.

People are very aggressively using the internet as an active, informal and spontaneous  learning and knowledge tool. So, when you ask about the TACIT LEARNING that is being done on-line, the percentages so SKY HIGH!

Ask your colleagues the same question.  You will be amazed at the difference.  So, part of our challenge is to define our arena in the broader sense of both FORMAL and TACIT learning programs.  Taking a structured, beginning to end e-Learning program is likely to remain as small a percentage of yearly learning for a worker as the attendance in a formal classroom training session.

Funny: wording means a lot! Once I found out that in one company learning means training and other formal program with "HR roots". Contrary to that, learning in a community is called communication ("KM roots").

E-learning is a tricky term: I like it as better version of using internet for learning-related purposes or even on-line learning. But I guess that I'm too late with my interpretation and have to deal with standards: e-learning means e-training. Sad.

I have to find out which term I should use in my "e-learning" report not to make it confusing to readers. (E)-learning that we used in E-linCC report could be a good one, but it mean all kinds of learning including on-line...

Another thing that I really like is (logically) the focus on informal learning on-line and nice way of calling it tacit learning. I wonder if it's a common way to call it like that? It could be a good substitute for informal learning:

  • it captures the important qualities: embedded, hidden and difficult to formalise way of learning and, as a result, the iceberg metaphor of learning
  • it calls a connection with tacit knowledge, which is probably the one that is better addressed with informal learning

  Searching scientific literature

This came via SynapShots newsletter:

Resource (Digital Library) : CiteSeer (ResearchIndex) : "Earth's largest free full-text index of scientific literature … a scientific literature digital library that aims to improve the dissemination and feedback of scientific literature, and to provide improvements in functionality, usability, availability, cost, comprehensiveness, efficiency, and timeliness … indexing over 7 million papers"
* Retrieve or Submit papers
* A search for Knowledge Management revealed 1084 documents
* Examples include:
- Knowledge Facts, Knowledge Fiction (2002)
- Information vs. Knowledge: The Role of Intranets in Knowledge Management
* Papers are downloadable in multiple formats
* For each paper, you may find: Abstract, Similar Documents, Active Bibliography, Citations, Related and Articles on the Same Site
* Go to CiteSeer, provided by the NEC Research Institute

More on: KM research 

  KM & learning: why?

Just created this category... Why?

Given my HRD/training/learning background and my current research in KM, it's not so surprising that I'm interested in the connections between two. This piece from my PhD proposal probably explains it some of the current ideas:

...employee learning can be described by the iceberg metaphor: visible formal programs are complemented with informal learning, which is more difficult to recognise and measure. This probably explains the lack of studies on supporting informal learning, although it is recognised that it takes larger share of time and could be more effective than formal learning programs.

In practice formal and informal learning are addressed within different organisational domains (training&development and knowledge management) that results in unrelated interventions. We propose that considering the "learning iceberg" as a whole and aligning those interventions can improve the quality of employee learning and reduce associated costs.

I'm interested in all possible connections, from theoretical to just brainstormed ideas. And in non-examples as well :)

More on: KM&learning 

  The Downside of Knowledge Management

Came from Roland Tanglao: KLogs

The Downside of Knowledge Management. (SOURCE:"aklogapart")-This is all very true but k-logging is so compelling that if one person (who isn't necesarily so senior) passionately k-logs then I think this is enough to get an enlightened organization over the tipping point. If this doesn't happen, then perhaps it's time to find an more enlightened organization! A successful KM initiative needs:
* a compelling reason why each employee should buy in - rewards are called for

I like the ideas, but presentation is a bit difficut for me. Would cite it myself (bold is mine):

A successful KM initiative needs:

  • a compelling reason why each employee should buy in - rewards are called for training so that everyone appreciates the value of context. You want to tell me about SOAP, DRM, XYZ? Fine, but tell me what they are first or give me pointers. Do it every day because I won't retain much faith in KM if I have to search back three months through your blog to try to figure out what you're talking about
  • training so that people learn to write for an audience outside their own group of contacts. If I already know what you do I'm less likely to need to read your words of KM wisdom in the first place
  • training so that people understand that most knowledge is specialized. Within an organization most people don't know much about HR, nor about data modeling, nor about Customer Relationship Management, nor about the firm's plans for the next 36 months, nor about debt factoring. Some of this knowledge does not need to be communicated, but some of it does and the people who write about it have to learn to write for an audience that is, in the nicest possible sense, ignorant. When they can do that,  KM becomes truly valuable
  • much better initiation classes than most firms give. How can anyone write for that group over by the far window on the second floor if they don't know what that group over by the far window on the second floor does? If you're a developer and you talk about languages remember that your audience might be the Localization group - to them German is a language and C++ isn't
  • someone VERY senior to champion the KM cause. This person needs to actually read the KM blogs and give feedback. We're talking about a VP, not a Manager or a Director. If they sit back and just let KM happen, it won't
Funny, most of suggestions are to do with training - a couple of new ideas for my collection of "KM/learning synergy".

In fact, probably it's something to do not only with training, but with the whole set of HR/HRD initiatives - from recruitment and appraisal criteria to training, coaching and supporting informal learning networks (the last one is more KM than "HR" :)

Back to the article. Two pieces that I liked most (bold is mine):

Unfortunately there's a more fundamental issue that we have to address. Given a choice people tend not to communicate. Some don't want to share, some feel threatened or diminished by sharing, some fail to understand that most things lose meaning unless they have adequate context, some enjoy a feeling of superiority by talking about their work in a way that others will have difficulty understanding, some get a kick out of doing things but not out of explaining things, some simply lack communication skills. Remember, most offices are political environments. That doesn't help.

Three sides - people who don't want to share, don't have time to share and don't have rights skills. Training could be a solution in the last case... Could be a good idea to suggest an assignment or even a Master project for HRD programme, something like "depeloping KM curriculum" :)

Paradoxically the only people who will automatically use KM are those who would naturally communicate about their work anyway. They're the ones who don't really need it. The people who do need it won't use it without training. There's a lot more to KM than just writing stuff down.

Speaking in change management terms - early adopters will survive by themself :) By the way, it's a good idea to look to the adoption stages in this respect. KM is not much different as any major innovation...

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© Copyright 2002-2007 Lilia Efimova.

This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

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