Knowledge Management and Instructional Technology
The new "buzz word" in many corporate circles currently is the term "Knowledge Management or K.M." KM is considered mostly a role for the Information Technologist because of its storage of the company's information on databases. Because of the "info-glut" that is occurring in many corporations, K.M. is strongly becoming the role for the Instructional Technologist to group that information into training modules for the corporate Intranet, so that the corporation's employees can retrieve the "knowledge" in a real-time, need-to-know basis. In this white paper, I will define Knowledge Management from a business and an educational perspective. I will also discuss two basic strategies for Knowledge Management and the role the Instructional Technologist will have in the process.
What is Knowledge Management?
From the business perspective, the definition of Knowledge Management from the Business College of the University of Texas is
The systematic process of finding, selecting, organizing, distilling, and presenting information in a way that improves an employee's comprehension in a specific area of interest. Knowledge management helps the organization to gain insight and understanding from its own experience. Specific Knowledge Management activities help focus the organization on acquiring, storing and utilizing knowledge for such things as problem-solving, dynamic learning, strategic planning and decision making (1998).
In the article "Intellectual Capital and You" in Training Magazine, Knowledge Management is defined as " An effort to capture or tap an organization's collective experience and wisdom- including the tacit know-how that exists in people's heads-and to make it accessible and useful to everyone in the enterprise" (Gordon, 1999). Also noted in this same article is "At its heart, Knowledge Management isn't about technology, it's about culture change" (Gordon, 1999). This latter definition fits Dr. Harmon's definition of what education is. So what is really Knowledge Management? Both definitions emphasize knowledge and learning within the organization to be used by the employee to improves his/her comprehension of the way the corporation works. Also emphasized in these two definitions is the role of communication in the information equation. Even though a company's information about its methodologies and strategies are being stored on large databases it is how it is retrieved and used by its personnel that emphasizes the role for the Instructional Technologist. With the business and education definitions of Knowledge Management stated clearly, what are some of the strategies that business uses to disseminate this knowledge?
Knowledge Management Strategies
According to the Harvard Business Review, most companies are not taking a uniform approach to managing their knowledge, but are employing two different strategies with emphasis on either one. The two...