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Searching for knowledge as constructing personal learning experience

Another piece “around” now almost-finished-paper.

In the study we describe in the paper we carried out exploratory interviews (we did more 🙂 using critical incidents technique (see Intel white paper for similar approach), asking people to recall several situations when they needed in-house knowledge and discussed why and what they were looking for, how they found it and what problems were encountered.

During the interviews we found out that in many cases when people talk about “searching for knowledge” they look for

  • information about knowledge (e.g. “what do we know about topic X in our organisation?”)
  • knowledge representations (e.g. reports on certain subject)
  • knowledgeable people

This findings support the argument that knowledge doesn’t exist “out there” (e.g. in documents) and that people need information cues and engagement of others to (re)construct it. A similar observation is made by Cross et. al. (2001: 102) who make a distinction between being informed about what another person knows and “the willingness of the person sought out to engage in problem solving rather than dump information”.

From this perspective “searching for knowledge” is in fact searching for information and people within an organisation in order to obtain knowledge. Or, “searching for knowledge” is a process of constructing personal learning experience, selecting learning resources and engaging others as facilitators.

Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2004/04/26.html#a1186; comments are here.

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