Learning and Knowledge – Partners in Learning

Barcelona - Palau de la Musica @ NightFor a good number of years, both Knowledge Management and Learning have always been associated with one another and overlapping quite a bit. Plenty of organisations are eventually using terms like Learning & Knowledge to refer to that process of knowledge sharing and collaborating; and, in a way, with the emergence of social software within the corporate environment, I am sure we will be seeing both disciplines come together even more!

To that extent, and in order to spark further conversations on the topic, while I get to finalise my thoughts on that very same subject, I thought I would share with you folks a couple of interesting links over here, rather quick, to perhaps come back to it at a later time. Basically, some more food for thought on the re-emergent theme of Learning & Knowledge; how Informal Learning is changing the game from traditional Learning itself; and how social computing is provoking a paradigm shift with regards to how we share our knowledge and collaborate with other knowledge workers both inside and outside of the corporate firewall.

To start with, here you have got a 3 and a half minute video clip from Jay Cross, titled "No more "learners"", where he clearly sets the stage as to where corporate learning needs to go, if it would want to survive in the current business environment where learning just happens while on the job, where people are people, not just "learners"; in short, where people are just "partners in learning":

The second subject that has been in my mind for a little while now comes from another thought-provoking resource. A recent article published by Matt Moore over at Innotecture‘s Learning + Knowledge = ? where he explores the merging of both Knowledge Management and Learning & Development into Learning and Knowledge. A really fascinating read that I wanted to share with you folks in this blog post, along with Jay’s video clip, while I keep thinking about it some more before I can share some further thoughts on both topics, because both of them do deserve plenty more to talk about! Don’t you think?

I mean, who would have thought that Learning & Knowledge Management could walk hand in hand within a corporate environment being as effective as ever, if not more!, thanks to the impact that social software is having within the enterprise? Who would have thought that social computing is helping shape the next generation of both learning and knowledge sharing as well as collaboration? Well, like I said, plenty of food for thought in that one, I tell you!

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  • There is no doubt in my mind that learning, development, KM, OD, etc, should take what’s best from each and create a more pragmatic offering for the networked workplace. Many practitioners are already doing this kind of cross-pollination. For instance, some people may think of me as an e-learning specialist but I work more with HPT and incorporate KM practices as well as CoP’s. What field am I in? Learning, knowledge, performance and business …

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    • Luis Suarez says:

      Hi Harold! Many thanks for adding further up into the conversation! I think you are spot on with your comments re: “[…] create a more pragmatic offering for the networked workplace”. I am on the same situation you are. Started as a learning specialist doing lots of KM, then Collaboration, then Learning & Knowledge, then Community Building and ended up being involved with social computing, community building and informal learning. All of them mixed with one another depending on their context, and surely understanding that cross-pollination.

      I believe businesses would need to re-think the way their knowledge workers get to share their knowledge, learn and collaborate with others while on the job, because traditional methods may no longer cut it anymore. I am more and more convinced by the day they won’t, which would bring me into a topic I have been thinking about for a long while and which is currently one that has got my interest big time: Personal Knowledge Management.

      That’s perhaps where we should have started it all in the first place! :-)

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  • Ah yes, PKM is a core piece of organizational transformation because workers need to manage themselves first:

    http://www.jarche.com/2008/06/pkm-personally-managing-your-knowledge/

    Also:

    http://delicious.com/jarche/pkm

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    • Luis Suarez says:

      Wonderful resources, Harold! Thanks for sharing them along! And I agree completely with you on it! It all starts with managing ourselves or, at least, having an attempt at it and see whether we can succeed or not. In most cases we wouldn’t probably make it very successfully, since managing knowledge, to me, is like an oxymoron, but the attempt to succeed will help self-generate enough knowledge to be meaningful and relevant not only to the individual, but also the corporation itself.

      Too funny, when all along, PKM did have that negative connotation as the poor brother / sister from KM, when, in general, it is quite the opposite. Without PKM we don’t have much. That’s why in this world of social software disrupting the corporate world rather extensively we need to ensure PKM is added into the mix!

      Thus thanks again for sharing those lovely resources mentioned above! Great stuff!

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  • I agree, we can’t really “manage knowledge” but it’s an acceptable working term that gets the message across. Change starts from within.

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    • Luis Suarez says:

      So very accurate, Harold. Yes, we both agree with we can’t really “manage knowledge”. We never have, we probably never will, however, as a concept it does get the message across to get people’s attention and present a new paradigm that could help channel through the efforts right where they belonged in the first place (Something that Jay also mentions roughly on this video): the focus on the people, as peers, wanting to share their knowledge and learn from that process. ¡Fascinating topic!

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  • […] internal departments called something like Learning & Development now. Luis Suarez, writes in Learning & Knowledge – Partners in Learning: For a good number of years, both Knowledge Management and Learning have always been associated […]

  • Atul Rai says:

    Luis, this is something i have been discussing for some time now. If the goal of both L&D, and KM teams is to get people to be more effective in their work, then it stands to reason that the two functions, in some way or other complement each other, and as such, need to be connected. Probably this is why i like to look at an idea of Capability Management, as an umbrella for the two.

    You are right, this needs to take a much more focused approach in a scenario where networks are getting to create more and more value.

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    • Luis Suarez says:

      Hi Atul! Long time no speak, my friend! Yes, indeed, I agree with your statement that in reality both disciplines are eventually sharing a common goal: making knowledge workers more productive & knowledgeable, so it makes perfect sense to combine the two.

      I am not so sure about Capability Management though, as the term to use to combine them both. I always seem to have issues with the concept of *management* in an area that is very difficult to manage already, i.e. learning and knowledge, but one thing for sure is that it gets the message across quite nicely!

      I agree with you though that we need to start thinking about blending these disciplines, specially in the current networked environment where social networks are more and more relevant by the day. And I do hope that HR departments would become flexible enough to allow it to happen.

      Thanks again for the feedback!

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  • […] Suarez recently wrote about the new relationship between learning and knowledge “Informal Learning is changing the game from traditional Learning itself”… […]

  • Luis, thanks for the great post and links. I totally agree with you and Harold that we are along the convergence path between learning and KM. I would like to share with all of you this article (http://mohamedaminechatti.blogspot.com/2008/01/future-of-e-learning-shift-to-knowledge.html), where we tried to argue that learning and KM solutions have to fuse; that we should speak about union and fusion of the two fields rather than intersection or complementary relationship between them and that the two fields are increasingly similar in terms of input, outcome, processes, activities, components, tools, concepts, and terminologies.

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    • Luis Suarez says:

      Hi Mohamed! What an excellent addition to the conversation! Many many thanks for the lovely contribution! I have gone through the article you shared in your blog post and it surely is quite a lovely addition to the conversation on the topic of “fusing”, indeed, of Learning and Knowledge! Really enjoyed it! will be blogging about it separately some time soon to add further up!

      For now I surely agree with your final statement RE: “the two fields are increasingly similar in terms of input, outcome, processes, activities, components, tools, concepts, and terminologies”, which, in my opinion, indicate as well a common goal: capability building. I would suspect that as time goes by and more and more these emerging technologies within the area of social software come into the corporate world we will be seeing a much more focused mission to embed both into a single discipline and somehow I just can’t wait for that to happen!

      Thanks for the comments and for the link to the great article!

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  • […] amalgamation of support functions in the networked workplace or eOD (e-OrganizationalDevelopment). Luis Suarez has suggested the merging of knowledge management and learning. Most recently Euan Semple calls for […]

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