There are a lot of discussions taking place lately on social media, asking about the links between knowledge and learning. So…
Should Knowledge Management embrace learning?
Why is the question even being asked? Yes! A thousand times, yes!
For decades now, Knowledge Management professionals and consultants have used Lessons Learned as a staple offering within organisations. With this in mind, why are the links between KM and learning even in question? [some of the reasons for this were explored in our 2015 global report on the general state of Knowledge Management]
Unfortunately, these discussions on learning are probably too late, where KM as a concept has an IT mindset and those trying to rescue it are, arguably, trying to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.
Which begs the question, why has the wider KM community been so slow to embrace learning as a critical contributor to the human condition that is knowledge?
The problem (the need for KM to embrace learning principles) is nothing new, we were demonstrating this gap ten years ago (e.g. learning sits at the heart of our award-winning KM programs and our effort to improve KM performance and reliability) and it wasn’t just us that noticed the problem – for example, this quote from J.C. Spender in 2008:
“…it is remarkable how seldom learning theory is even referred to in the KM literature” (Spender, 2008, p. 165)
It is a fact that for too long the KM community has ignored the fact that managing, knowledge and learning and their relevant processes and behaviours are inseparable – there’s even a book on these Learning Organisations, called “The fifth discipline” [I also note multiple criticisms by people like Dave Snowden that are worth consideration]
I’m pleased to see the wider Knowledge Management community embracing and promoting interdependence/integration with learning. High-Performance and High-Reliability Knowledge Management depend on learning and it is refreshing to see the wider Knowledge Management community finally showing the appetite to tackle the problem.
For those interested in learning principles, the following blogs might be of interest:
If you are interested in High-Performance High-Reliability Knowledge Management, we’ll see you later this year.