Re: Is learning the missing emphasis of knowledge management? #learning

Matt Moore <innotecture@...>


A few thoughts:
- You have to be a bit careful using the word "learning" with managers. Many of them will hear the word "training".
- Jay Cross wrote a good if slightly chaotic book called "Informal Learning" a few years ago. Many of the techniques he describes would be familiar to knowledge managers. I think that those KMers who are not solely involved in document management are often engaged in learning activities. There is a growing interesting among training folks in this "informal learning" stuff. I would hope that KMers can cooperate with them on this (that's a major theme in my own writing).
- The contents of David Garvin's book "Learning in Action" (thanks for the lead, Tom Short) would also seem familiar to many KM folk - e.g. the use of AARs by the Army. Much of what KMers do is really collective learning (or "social learning" as Tom Barfield is putting it).

There are a few challenges with this learning & knowledge nexus:
1. In general, individuals & organizations only learn when they have to. The challenge for KM folk would want to be more than document managers is to identify when learning can occur and to be ready to support it. This happens less frequently than we would like.
2. As noted previously, learning is often confused with training. This is unfortunate.
3. Learning & improvement for individuals & organizations is messy - many disciplines have something to contribute. One challenge for KM folk is to be aware of these other disciplines and i. work with them & ii. steal their good stuff,.
4. The current buzz around "Enterprise 2.0" seems to be missing a learning perspective. The focus is on blogs/wikis/social networks RIGHT! NOW! Now, to give Andrew McAfee his due, his book actually touches on organizational learning at the end & there is nothing wrong with collaboration in the present but I worry that we focus on the tools and assume that learning will magically happen.
5. Which brings me to my last point. A lot of the work on experiential learning has highlighted the importance of reflection (esp. the work of David Boud). And yet we are really bad at it, e.g. (I refer you to page 10, which subcomponent is ranked the least?) I suspect that the greatest challenge for KMers is to create opportunities for productive reflection in their organizations.

Anyways, this is an important topic & I am glad that you are writing about it.



From: Steven Wieneke
To: sikmleaders@...
Sent: Sat, 19 June, 2010 1:17:28 AM
Subject: Re: [sikmleaders] Re: Is learning the missing emphasis of knowledge management?



I appreciate your comments and examples.

Thanks for mentioning David Garvin. I found a relevant quotation
attributed to Garvin. Organizations that learn are “skilled at creating,
acquiring, interpreting, transferring, and retaining knowledge and at
purposefully modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and

The "skilled at creating, acquiring, interpreting, transferring, and
retaining knowledge" sounds like conventional knowledge management.

The "purposefully modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and
insights" is the missing "Learning" emphasis we have been talking about.

Thanks again,


> Steve - interesting point - I think you're onto something, especially
> given the way the wind is blowing regarding companies and their use of the
> term "knowledge management" (see my latest post).
> Your comments remind of two KM-related concepts/truths. One is the notion
> of the Learn -> Do -> Know loop (don't know the source), which says (at
> least in part) that knowledge emerges from doing something; and doing
> something is made possible or enhanced by learning something. So to your
> point, from an organizational perspective perhaps this is a way of saying
> that knowledge is an outcome, not a point of control or direct influence.
> The second thing I'm reminded of is David Garvin's wonderful learning
> organization framework which lays out three modes of learning: learning
> before doing (aka training), learning while doing (mentoring, OJT), and
> learning after doing (AAR). I used this on a large consulting engagement
> to organize eight individual "KM" initiatives into a conceptual framework
> that made it easier for us to explain to stakeholders how all the
> initiatives hung together. Again, knowledge was the targetted outcome, but
> the locus of control was clearly on learning.
> Good point, Steve. Thanks for sharing.
> -Tom
> Tom Short Consulting
> Knowledge Transfer
> Knowledge Strategy
> Metrics
> Change
> 415-912-0927
> --- In sikmleaders@..., "StevenWieneke" wrote:
>> SIKM Leaders,
>> Is learning the missing emphasis of knowledge management?
>> I recently presented at the 2010 KM Symposium in Chicago, addressing two
>> questions…
>> Q: Which comes first, learning or knowledge?
>> A: "…Unlike the chicken-egg circular cause and effect, learning
>> ensures knowledge, but knowledge does not necessarily ensure learning.
>> There must be a learning aptitude and mechanism for existing knowledge
>> to be adopted or internalized by any of us. If the knowledge does not
>> exist, the same learning aptitude can discover new knowledge through
>> experimentation and even accidental incidents…"
>> Q: Which comes first in an enterprise, managing learning or managing
>> knowledge?
>> A: "…If learning is beneficial for us, then learning should be
>> beneficial for an enterprise. Like people, an enterprise needs a
>> learning aptitude (culture) and learning mechanism (visible learning
>> process). Even if employees are individually learning, the enterprise
>> may not, resulting in rework, remediation, rediscovery, reinvention and
>> customer dissatisfaction…"
>> Find the presentation
>> <\
>> ing.pdf> and paper
>> <\
>> .pdf> at> .
>> Your thoughts?
>> Thanks,
>> Steven Wieneke
>> enterprise learning & knowledge awareness coach

Steven Wieneke
Enterprise Learning & Knowledge Awareness Coach
Wieneke & Wieneke, Inc.
cell: 248.535.0427


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