Development Cooperation Handbook/Learning and Knowledge Management

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Learning and Knowledge Management

We said before that this handbook is a knowledge sharing platform and that dialogue enables the articulation of learning. Here we will try to better define what knowledge is and how far it can be collected and exchanged.

At the core of our awareness, is a unitary vision we have of ourselves and of the world which, as far as we are confident of its value, we call "our knowledge of reality". Many particular experiences and visions have contributed to the creation of this unitary vision and knowledge of reality that we then disassemble into specific knowledge-s. These, once fashioned into concepts and articulated into verbal expressions, can be stored so that we, or others can have access and retrieve these information. Once such information is compared with other information we have on the subject and it is validated within our world vision, then our perception of particular processes and facts becomes clearer and the knowledge of reality becomes more comprehensive.

Personification of knowledge ( Επιστημη - Episteme) in Celsus Library in Ephesus

So, knowledge is something that is exclusively ours, because knowledge is really inside us and is produced by us (someone will even say that knowledge is us); there is no place then within ourselves where we can store it. However, human beings frame their visions in constant consultation and comparison with the vision of others and learn from each other. In this sense, we can say that "we transmit knowledge" even if it would be more correct to say that we transmit our account of what we have learned so that others can avail of this information to frame their own knowledge about it.

The transmission of information so as to enable wider and deeper knowledge among colleagues is really the clue to the processes of reciprocal "empowerment". We empower each other only as much as we are interested in co-operating and synergizing; while on the contrary, whenever we feel rivalry and hostility, we try to hide what we know from each other or even try to deliberately misinform the others so that their knowledge becomes weaker and confused.

The term "knowledge management" is relatively recent and is related to the process of learning and transmission of memory within organizations. Knowledge, in this sense, is one of the fundamental assets of any organization, but since it is "stored" in employees rather then in organization's safe or cupboards, organizations try to use various processes and tools to organize, record, store and retrieve knowledge. As we move upscale from organisational assets to the asset of a consortium or a partnership, then "knowledge management" starts becoming a process for sharing information, skills and expertise amongst different organizations and different stakeholders.

Development actors recognize that knowledge constitutes an essential resource for development and that knowledge-sharing is essential for networking and advocacy. However, information-sharing constitutes a major challenge because many organizations consider their specialized know-how as strategic assets and want to maintain their competitive advantage over others in fund raising.

Robert Reid, Knowledge (1896). Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.

At the same time, knowledge-sharing is an essential requisite for advocacy activities and policy coherence for development. Organisations need to give more importance and emphasis to collecting, compiling, organizing and sharing knowledge, experiences and Good Practices. Developing training curricula, manuals, and learning materials need to be more widely disseminated and shared with relevant government and other agencies so as to encourage mainstreaming of these resources. This activity could include, among others, codifying and demonstrating the efficacy of specific methodological approaches and providing clues and advice to prevent the repetition of unsuccessful practices.

This handbook, along with the linked audiovisual media, is a testimony of the beauty and the power of knowledge sharing.

In this section, we share some concepts and processes that we have been testing in order to manage the knowledge contained in this handbook.

Subsections of this chapter[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Sharing knowledge and resources

In other sections of this handbook

The boss is never happy (especially if it is a project manager)

On Wikipedia

On other Wikibooks

Wikibooks Knowledge Management Cases in Asia

Sri Vidya Yantra