Instructional Technology/Learning Management Systems/Knowledge Management

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Welcome to the Knowledge Management Wiki Page[edit | edit source]

This Wiki Page provides an overview of the basic concepts of Knowledge Managemment (KM).
The history, people and specific technology of KM are not covered here.
Sections on the different types of KM systems do not necessarily appear in historical order.

Basic Concepts of Knowledge Management (KM)[edit | edit source]

What is the goal of KM?[edit | edit source]

The goal of KM is to make knowledge accessible for rapid response to emerging situations. A practical KM system therefore enables workers to efficiently reuse the knowledge of an organization rather than to waste time recreating redundant knowledge.

What is the cycle of KM?[edit | edit source]


KM people and systems should capture new knowledge as it is generated by an organisation.

The KM system must therefore provide a convenient format for reporting new knowledge.


KM systems provide a structure for organization that facilitates both storage and retrieval of new knowledge.

Organization of knowledge supports the main goal of KM which is provide easy access to knowledge for reuse.


KM knowledge bases must be uncluttered.

Obsolete knowledge must be removed; redundant examples must be removed; errors must be corrected. Systematic maintenance takes planning and the allocation of time.

What defines the term "knowledge" within KM?[edit | edit source]

KM is a system for managing knowledge within specific organizations. KM therefore covers proprietary processes, procedures, histories and the lessons learned during the operation of a given organization. The knowledge bases managed by KM systems are therefore finite and focused, as opposed to the general knowledge bases stored in library systems and the universe of information and misinformation that is published on the World Wide Web. www.

Where does organizational knowledge come from?[edit | edit source]

Creative Activities
Organizations generate new knowledge through activity. Organizations create designs, processes, procedures, and reports in order to improve operations, serve clients, and conform to regulations.

Problem Solving Activities
All organizations must solve problems. The list includes legal problems, production problems, labor problems, and customer problems. Problem solving activities generate reusable knowledge such as problem-prevention knowledge and problem-solving strategies.

Reuse of Existing Knowledge
The reuse of existing knowledge also generates new knowledge. Old case studies can be reused to generate new solutions; old trends can be analyzed to generate new forecasting tools. New knowledge often descends from established knowledge.

Intranets as Knowledge Management Systems[edit | edit source]

Intranets - by Natural Progression
When companies began to develop their intranets, it began as an Internet-based private-secure networked environment where divisions, departments and employees could store, retrieve, publish, and share information. As time when on the intranet began to build its repository of information and thus it started becoming a valuable repository of knowledge. Once search engine capabilities were added to the intranet, accessibility to the information and knowledge became more structured and easy to locate, sort and retrieve. Therefore, by natural progression, Intranet sites are becoming knowledge management systems. For more information, read the article by Steven L. Telleen, Ph.D. [Intranets as Knowledge Management Systems]

Why is KM needed?[edit | edit source]

Effective Knowledge Management ensure that the right information is available to the right person at the right time.

Workforce Turnover
When employees leave an organization they take valuable knowledge with them.

Limitations of Human Memory
Employees rapidly move from project to project. The details of past activities are often forgotten. Also, human memory can be self-corrupting, because people will unconsciously alter their knowledge to make things logical or acceptable within their own contexts.

Poor Communications
Corporate microsystems can be competitive and self-insulating. One brand-management team may create an effective marketing strategy, and then neglect to share that new strategy with another brand-management team in the same organization.

How is a KM professional’s definition of KM substantively different than a typical dictionary definition of that word?[edit | edit source]

The Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English (2005) defines knowledge management (KM) as the technologies involved in creating, disseminating, and utilizing knowledge data. Tiwana (2002) states “KM enables the creation, distribution, and exploitation of knowledge to create and retain greater value from core business competencies." The substantive difference between these definitions is the dictionary definition does not focus on the outcome of KM. That is, to retain value from business knowledge. The value can be the benefit of using knowledge to adjust to change or using knowledge to avoid making the same mistakes again.

What is epistemology, and why is that subject mentioned in relation to KM?[edit | edit source]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language (2000) defines epistemology as the branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, its presuppositions and foundations, and its extent and validity. Epistemology is mentioned in relation to knowledge management (KM) because KM deals with the management of knowledge. Thus it is imperative to understand the nature of knowledge in order to manage it. In addition epistemology deals with validity or strength of knowledge. Thus epistemology can assist KM practitioners in categorizing knowledge on a scale of weak to strong. Thus a KM practitioner can use ideas from the study of knowledge to better manage knowledge in an organization.

What is “innovative nonexploiters”?[edit | edit source]

Innovative nonexploiters are companies or organizations that have innovations or are innovators but do not exploit or take advantage of their innovations. Example of innovative nonexploiters would be companies that have innovation but are weak exploiter of their own innovation or knowledge. The outcome of being an innovative nonexploiter could be negative, to the company, if external forces take advantage of the knowledge or innovation and capitalize on it. Tiwana (2002) cites XEROX as an example of an innovative nonexploiter citing their PARC innovation as the foundation of the computer industry that XEROX did not take advantage of.

What is “intellectual capital”? Give some examples.[edit | edit source]

Intellectual capital is intangible or “vague” assets that may not be measurable, but are invaluable to an organization (Tiwana, 2002). In a business setting intellectual capital can be a companies competitive edge over other companies. Examples of intellectual capital could be reputation, human knowledge, patents, strong leadership, or name recognition. In general if something adds value to a company, but it cannot be logged in the accounting ledgers that it is most likely intellectual capital.

What skills do instructional technologists bring to knowledge management projects?[edit | edit source]

Instructional technologists bring various skills to knowledge management projects. Included in these skills are identifying subject matter experts, designing instruction to enhance the knowledge base of an organization, determine appropriate methods to cross-train employees to share (verses hoard) knowledge, using the design process to transfer tacit knowledge to written or implicit knowledge. Using models (ADDIE) to develop systematic method methods to use an organizations knowledge base to enhance an organization. Enhance the learning environment of an organization by defining learning characteristics and styles of the human resources in the organization.

What problems are there with knowledge?[edit | edit source]

Cost of obtaining knowledge or keeping knowledge from getting out can be very costly. For instance to hire or train an employee with knowledge on how to fix O-rings on the space shuttle can have a very high price tag.

In terms of interpretation knowledge can be interpreted differently, and the interpretation can have serious implications. For example knowledge of weapons of mass destructions in Iraq were interpreted as a threat to civilization by the Bush administration. This lead to serious consequences that are currently being debated by the public at all levels.

Hoarding poses a problem because knowledge can be hoarded. Hoarding in itself is not a good thing. Some persons hoard knowledge for financial gain. Some persons hoard knowledge to be devious. An example of hoarding knowledge may be a person keeping knowledge from a judge or jury to sway the outcome of a court case.

Culture/language can also be a problem with knowledge. This can also be linked to translation. Translating knowledge can be very difficult and costly. For example translating knowledge written on the ancient pyramids in Egypt was a costly and time-consuming process.

What are the potential risks associated with not integrating KM into an organization’s operation?[edit | edit source]

KM helps avoid unnecessary work duplication, expensive reinvestment, and repeated mistakes (Tiwana, 2002).

KM can save an organization from “knowledge walkouts” (2002). Meaning that persons with specific knowledge that is important for on organizations survival can leave without sharing that knowledge with others.

KM can make an organization a proactive anticipator (2002). Thus by implementing KM an organization can anticipate changes and use knowledge to anticipate change that without KM can hit an organization hard.

KM mutually reinforces an organization agility or dexterity (2002). An organizations ability to react comes from their knowledge and the agility comes from the ability to apply the knowledge (2002).

Where would a KM professional argue that knowledge resides?[edit | edit source]

Tiwana (2002) suggests that knowledge “originates in individual minds, but is often embedded in organizational routines, processes, practices, systems, software, and norms.” Behaviorism, which is a traditional educational conception, defines learning as a relatively permanent change in behavior that may or may not be the result of instruction (Morrison, Ross, & Kemp 2004). Thus in terms of a traditional educational conception of learning, one could suggest that there is not a tension between KM professional concept of knowledge and an educational concept. That is, KM professional agree that knowledge resides in an individuals mind and is passed along within the organization through routines or processes. A behaviorist believes that learning is a change in behavior. Thus for changes in the routine or process to occur learning as to occur, that is a change in behavior will result in the change of routines or process. Therefore, both the KM professional and the behaviorist believe that learning and knowledge begin with an individual and are passed along through changes in behavior and the organization, respectively.

References[edit | edit source]

The American Heritage dictionary of the English language, Fourth Edition. (2000). Houghton Mifflin Company.

Tiwana, A. (2002). The knowledge management toolkit. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Morrison, G. R., Ross, S. M., and Kemp J.E. (2004). Designing effective instruction. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Webster's new millennium dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.6). (2005). Long Beach, CA: Lexico Publishing Group, LLC.

Course Management Systems[edit | edit source]

What is a Course Management System[edit | edit source]

(CMS) are specific types of KM systems often used in academic settings.
Examples of software applications for creating a CMS include Blackboard and Web CT.
Course Management Systems

Advantages of CMS[edit | edit source]

  • Reasonably user friendly.
  • Support student collaboration and dialogue.
  • Support links to documents, images and other web sites.
  • Provide a student roster with email capabilities.
  • Facilitate real-time "classroom" discussions.
  • Facilitate on-line testing of students.

Limitations of CMS[edit | edit source]

  • Does not support reusable learning objects (RLO).
  • Does not support collection of statistical information.

Learning Management Systems[edit | edit source]

What is a Learning Management System[edit | edit source]

Learning Management Systems (LMS)are a specific type of KM system often used in business settings.
Examples of software applications for creating a CM include Gen21 and Moodle.
(Moodle is an open-source application.)
Learning Management Systems

Advantages of LMS[edit | edit source]

  • Support links to documents, images and other web sites.
  • Facilitate on-line testing of students.
  • Facilitate collection of test performance for statistical analysis.
  • Support SCO and SCORM architectures.

Limitations of LMS[edit | edit source]

  • LMS applications are moderately complex and require more learning than CMS applications.

Links[edit | edit source]

(Moodle Home Page)
(Web Book on LMS)
(Wikipedia Page on Moodle

Sections under Construction[edit | edit source]

  • Wikis
  • Electronic Performance Support
  • Case Based Reasoning Systems

Questions and Answers[edit | edit source]

  • Please post your questions and answers here.
  • If you suggest a hypothetical answer, please mark it as such, i.e. "Guess."
  • Thank you for your contributions.

Q: Electronic Performance Support Systems birthed the development of Knowledge Management Systems. Why did the name change occur?
JS (19 Apr 05)
A: Guess. EPSS provides specific instructions for well defined tasks. KM per se is a catagory that includes several broader knowledge bases.
Perhaps the differences in purpose generated the need for different names.
TR (20 Apr 05)

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