Updated: 6/23/2005; 11:48:53 AM.


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  Tuesday, January 21, 2003

  More about knowledge sharing

George Siemens in Knowledge sharing Environment:

Some components needed in a well-crafted environment suitable for knowledge sharing:

  • Informal, not structured
  • Self-forming connections - let members of the environment decide how to interact
  • Tool-rich - members should have many options for connecting and dialoguing.
  • Simple/single starting point...but multiple branches/exits
  • Diversity of participants - very critical...people tend to form into groups of similar people. Knowledge sharing and innovation require smashing together ideas of contradictory or unrelated nature
  • Time - facilitation is best viewed as a small spark that grows into a roaring flame over time. Most managers seem to prefer explosions that die out quickly...
  • Trust - knowledge sharing is about people. Safety and security (face to face or online) lead to trust. General community rules should value individual contributions and personalities.
  • User-shaped - most KM initiatives begin with the mindset of building a house and then telling employees to move in an basically only hang up pictures. Instead, they should be given tools and supplies...and then allowed to create what they really need.
  • Community feel - communities of practice have gained a reputation as being effective means of sharing knowledge...because we are most likely to share what we know with people we know.
  • Capturing and searching - these staples of KM are still important. Newcomers should be able to observe the trials others have walked...and if done right, a KM system could link into persformance support systems...resulting in up to date resources for people...when they are needed.

Commenting Denham Grey suggests to "inquire what sharing knowledge really means" and points to wiki about knowledge sharing.

More on: knowledge sharing 

  Formal/informal interplay (2)

George Siemens  reflects in Effort in the right place?:

...is learning best achieved through structure (created by those who define what a learner needs to learn) or through environment (fostered by an organization, but created by the learner)?

I know much learning needs to happen via structured processes (I don't want a pilot or surgeon who taught themselves...), so perhaps it's worth describing foundation learning (skills/competencies) as requiring structure...and maintenance learning (the skills/knowledge needed to stay current and grow in our work) as requiring environment. Structured learning happens for 4 - 8 years...maintenance learning happens throughout life...yet it seems most learning related activities are still geared towards structured learning. Sort of like trying to leverage the point that will produce minimal results (but is controllable), while leaving the point that will produce rapid results (but is more serendipitous...and hence less receptive to structure) untouched. Thoughts?

I would rather use formal and informal learning as those terms are better to catch the core difference between structure and environment: the issue of primary control over learning process. [Context: definitions+references, comparison between two forms, supporting informal learning]

Based on adult learning theories I assume that we may need both types at the same time:

Adults have a need to be treated as being capable of self-direction, but they can be or choose to be relatively dependent. Adults learn better if they are provided with sufficient support and guidance to complement their own level of dependency (Knowles, et al, pp.65, 135-139).

E.g. you would most likely want a pilot or surgeon who combined structured training with years of informal learning experiences.

As I already wrote I believe in interplay between those two forms: any structured intervention should be focused on releasing energy of learner and providing just enough focus and support to get though a learning experience. I also believe that people are smart enough to learn themselves :)))

  Distributed network of interacting knowledge workers

Stephen Downes reviews Preliminary Heuristics for the Design and Evaluation of Online Communities of Practice Systems:

[...]Extracted and summarized, the advice offered by these authors is as old as the hills:

  • Support the creation of new ideas
  • Structure interaction around a regular servies of events
  • A community should have a unifying sense of purpose
  • Be able to add, change and delete information
  • Give individuals and groups a place to express their identity
  • Establish social rules through moderation
  • Use a variety of discussion tools
  • Create a space for interaction and learning
  • Connect to offline events and activities

[...]So what should a proper - and original - article about learning communities in 2003 look like? It should shift the focus from an institutional environment to an individual's access to a set of services. It should discuss the creation of a distributed network of interacting knowledge workers (or knowledge seekers). It should talk about fostering a set of communication channels - such as email newsletters, aggregator websites, IM advice circles. It should address combining the roles of gaming, simulation, correspondance, commentary and assessment. It should emphasize the skill sets required in order to foster the creation of knowledge through a collaborative process.

I share the feeling and I'll try to make sure that my PhD contributes to understanding of knowledge networkers.

More on: knowledge networker 

  Lessons in Community-Building: An Inquiry into Role of Weblogs in Online Communities

Both my aggregator and Knowledge Board discussion bring new "blog research" name: Nurul Asyikin needs help in her study: 

Tentatively entitled Lessons in Community-Building: An Inquiry into Role of Weblogs in Online Communities, my thesis will focus on two matters: how webloggers perceive the concept of virtual community, and the effects of technical and design factors on the development of virtual communities.

[...]I am mainly in need of webloggers to interview. If you maintain a weblog and are interested in contributing to the ongoing dialog concerning the issues of online human behaviour in general, and virtual communities specifically, please contact me. I can be reached via ICQ (UIN: 115135696) and email.

More on: blog research 

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© Copyright 2002-2005 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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