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Friday, October 18, 2002
Killer-app: tool for just-in-time learning
Seb's Open Research in Connecting individual people is the killer app:
Wetware. Britt Blaser describes the next killer app:
I need an index of "amateur" experts with proven track records who are available immediately for high per-minute rates which I only pay when I'm satisfied, which means they have to be confident that I'll be reasonably satisfied. So we also need a reputation engine in addition to an expert index. They need to be "amateurs" for the same reason that the best bloggers are amateurs....
Britt is involved with Xpertweb, which looks quite interesting. [Kumquat's Musings]
The picture on the right comes from the Xpertweb site. Simplicity itself speaking. Although I'd have drawn the arrows in the opposite direction. It starts from you. You sense a need, you think about it, you articulate it, then you pretty much know what you need. But you don't know how to do it. You find a trusted expert who'll do it. The result comes back to you. Everyone is happy.
I think we need to develop tools both for figuring out needs and for finding experts. Such tools are likely to coevolve.
(1) Sometimes I want trusted expert who can do it (fast!), but in other cases I want trusted expert who will teach me how to do it myself (better for the future).
(2) I would like a bit more, for example knowledge-searching engine that points me to different knowledge sources
- people (who can do it for me or who can help me to learn it)
Messy papers on my desk
Knowledge work as craft work also points to The Social Life of Paper (which I'm printing out) with this citation (bold is mine):
But why do we pile documents instead of filing them? Because piles represent the process of active, ongoing thinking. The psychologist Alison Kidd, whose research Sellen and Harper refer to extensively, argues that "knowledge workers" use the physical space of the desktop to hold "ideas which they cannot yet categorize or even decide how they might use." The messy desk is not necessarily a sign of disorganization. It may be a sign of complexity: those who deal with many unresolved ideas simultaneously cannot sort and file the papers on their desks, because they haven't yet sorted and filed the ideas in their head. Kidd writes that many of the people she talked to use the papers on their desks as contextual cues to "recover a complex set of threads without difficulty and delay" when they come in on a Monday morning, or after their work has been interrupted by a phone call. What we see when we look at the piles on our desks is, in a sense, the contents of our brains.
Now I don't feel quilty about those messy papers in my desk :)))
Knowledge work as craft work
Just came across this story of Jim McGee: Knowledge work as craft work
Highlights from the text (bold is mine):
...The "symbolic analysis" that Robert Reich identifies as the essence of knowledge work is designed to create the one-of-a-kind results that characterize craft products...
...There is a dangerous tension between industrial frameworks and knowledge work as craft work that needs to be managed. Forcing industrial models onto the management of knowledge and knowledge work accounts for much of the disappointing results of knowledge management efforts to date...
...One thing that differentiates knowledge work today from other craft work is that, except for final product, knowledge work is essentially invisible...
...While today's tools have made the journey from germ of an idea to finished product so much easier, they have also made it harder by making it less visible...
Direct value of visibility
...One value is in the ability to backtrack to a previous version when a line of analysis fails to pan out. Moreover, that ability to backtrack can make it more likely that alternatives will be explored because the effort and risk of doing so is reduced...
Indirect value of visibility
...The first will be increasing the value of knowledge work as a learning environment for other knowledge workers. As craft work, knowledge work fits more into apprenticeship learning models than in conventional training approaches. Making the work process and its intermediate products more visible will make the apprenticeship process more effective
The second aspect of visibility is better leverage of communities of expertise and practice. More and more of the difficult problems organizations face require groups of experts to coordinate their expertise and invent multi-disiciplinary solutions. These problems don't identify themselves in advance. They show up. They generally get addressed by whatever team can be identified and assembled quickly. The more visible you can make those experts and their expertise by making their thinking visible, the more likely you will be able to field a team that will work...
He logically finishes with linking these to blogs development :)
Course as a playground for KM instruments
Jim McGee continies writing about his experiences with blogs in the classroom in Part 2. Forced blogging = flogging?
He reflects on "four hurdles to pass to move from willing volunteer to competent blogger":
- learning the technology environment (more)
- developing an initial view of blogging (more)
- plugging into the conversation
- developing a voice
I will be adding links here as he continues with more ideas on the each of them.
But my attention was triggered by another thing as well:
Figuring out how to turn reluctant MBAs into competent bloggers should provide useful insights for turning other knowledge workers into bloggers as well. While I do believe that working with willing volunteers is the preferred organizational change strategy, even early adopters will benefit from some careful handholding and guidance.
It correlate with the discussion we had during our KM/learning workshop about different ways of learning: course could be the solution.
- course provide time and space for learning (which could be a problem with more informal learning at the workplace)
- course provide guidance of experienced instructor
- instructor does not only facilitate learning process, but he has certain autority to "push" participants beyond the limits of what they would do by themselves
Taking Jim's example: those MBAs can get addicted to blogging and probably will take it back to the workplace. Without that "small bit" of instructors autority this is less likely to happen (here I have to comment that I fully agree that you have to convince adults before they will learn something, but in a course environment it's a bit easier than in working environment).
So, I think that a course could be a really good playground for new KM instruments. Formal settings make it easier for participants to start participating in communities or using blogs (or something else KM). Given this experience in "safe" settings it's much easier to continue doing same things back to work.
Summarising: Training professionals have to make sure that KM instruments are integrated in course designs.
Course instructor plays with new instruments as well. This is one more reason why I miss teaching so much (more). Does anyone need "guest instructor"?
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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.