Learning 2.0: returning to the social circles

Knowledge Management (aka KM) was originally a business model. The UC Berkeley’s School of Information Management & Systems (SIMS) GOTCHA project site defines Knowledge Management as – “an interdisciplinary business model dealing with all aspects of knowledge within the context of the firm, including knowledge creation, codification, sharing, and how these activities promote learning and innovation.

In practice, KM encompasses both technological tools and organizational routines in overlapping parts.” GOTCHA quotes KM thinker Rudy Ruggles‘ integral components of KM:

  • Generating new knowledge
  • Accessing valuable knowledge from outside sources
  • Using accessible knowledge in decision making
  • Embedding knowledge in processes, products, and/or services
  • Representing knowledge in documents, databases, and software
  • Facilitating knowledge growth through culture and incentives
  • Transferring existing knowledge into other parts of the organization
  • Measuring the value of knowledge assets and/or impact of knowledge management

The interesting aspect of both the GOTCHA definition of KM and Ruggles’ list is that they easily, seamlessly, apply to the world of education learning and creativity, as well as to belief systems, social structures and cultural paradigms. The GOTCH definition can be generalised like this:

“Knowledge Management is an interdisciplinary model dealing with all aspects of knowledge within the context of a group, organisation or community , including knowledge creation, codification, sharing, and how these activities promote learning and innovation. In practice, KM encompasses both technological tools and organizational routines in overlapping parts.”

Ruggles’ list remains clearly intact.

David Gurteen is an independent knowledge advisor, educator and coach.  He says” I help people to share their knowledge; to learn from each other; to innovate and to work together effectively to make a difference!.” I am an avid reader of David’s newsletter “The Gurteen Knowledge Letter,” it’s a brilliant resource for all things Knowledge Management.

As Gurteen tours the globe, he demonstrates his very personal take on KM, using his website, an-ever growing global learning community of over 15,000 people in 154 countries across the world, and his very own Gurteen Knowledge Cafés – learning communities who meet regularly through David’s Knowledge Community as well as at public conferences and workshops and at in-house events.

The purpose of Knowledge Cafés, explains Gurteen, is to “is to bring people together to learn from each other in order that they may make a difference. Gurteen Knowledge Cafés are mini-workshops” where the participants engage in a specific, pre-defined, theme of the evening. “They are about networking, knowledge sharing and learning from each other – not chalk-and-talk. The outcome for the participants is what they take away as individuals that they can act on and do differently – immediately!” In a recent article, Wired e-Magazine described Knowledge Cafés of a specific type – called Science Cafés, Knowledge Cafés with specific focus on Research and Discoveries. There are about 60 Science Cafés in the US and many more in Europe , South America and Austraila.

Major beneficiaries of the global Knowledge Cafés movement are, of course, learning and education. According to Network of experts in Social Sciences of Education and training (NESSE,) Schools (and other formal institutes of learning and education) have been in public hands, as it were, since the 19th century. At the same time, “Education and socialisation occur in many places through the entire life span: in families, siblings, schools, peer groups, at work and in leisure. In Western societies, the main educational institutions have included the family and the school, and other formal education organisations, as well as, more recently, less formal means such as the media, and, increasingly, the internet.”

Central to many future views of learning is what Gurteen calls Learning 2.0 . He adapts a definition by Denise Withers and comes up with this intriguing definition:

Learning 2.0 is an emerging approach to learning that turns away from teaching as something that is “done to learners” – and instead, embraces methods in which learning becomes “an on-going and participatory process of transforming information and experience into knowledge”.

[information + experience = knowledge] – I can live with that.

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