Learning and knowledge-building in extended organizationsMay 20, 2012
The IntelLEO project is going to its end, and we are looking back at what we achieved.
In the project we assumed that to support organizational responsiveness, cross-organizational learning and knowledge-building should be supported. Our assumption was that learning and knowledge-building (LKB) activities across organizational borders as well as within organizations would create conditions for organizational responsiveness to appear.
We adopted the knowledge conversion model by Nonaka & Takeuchi (1995) into cross-organizational settings,
identified learning and knowledge-building enablers and inhibitors,
and developed technological services that support those learning and knowledge-building activities that support responsive organization to emerge:
- the competence-based reflections in the format of the construction of learning paths and monitoring personal development in socially and organizationally embedded context (externalization and internalization activities) (see Siadty et al. 2011)
- the competence-annotated sharing and searching of knowledge (externalization, internalization)
- the competence-annotated searching for other learners or working partners and team-building (socialization and combination activities)
- the construction, accumulation and provision of organizational knowledge to its employees using the semantic web technologies and ontology framework (externalization and internalization activities)
We assumed that extended organizations are connected with temporal learning and knowledge building activities, and we may conceptualize such an extended organization (an IntelLEO – intelligent learning extended organization) as a distributed cognitive system.
Socially distributed cognition, where cognitive processes are distributed across members of a social group by knowledge exchanges also contains mutual awareness, communicating and socially provided support as an external locus of control for cognition. The forms of socially distributed cognition are:
- monitoring peers’ activities for mutual awareness, social surveyillance (such as friend-feeds, wall, mashups)
- peer-scaffolding (commenting, rating, favouriting)
Distributed cognition involves coordination between internal and external (material and environmental) structures through causal coupling (an embodied cognition) that enables adapting one’s actions to fit to environmental conditions.
These also associate with the distributed intelligence and dispersed learning processes carried out in a loosely coupled way. Such distributed intelligence creates a distributed cognitive system that also contains a feedback loop to community/organizational culture – cognitive processes can be distributed through time in such a way that products of earlier events (of the same person, of other community/organization members or members from different community) can transform the nature of later events.
This may take different formats:
- creating and using personal knowledge aggregations
- using the external knowledge organization of peer’s (tags, annotations to the resources they have used)
- using bottom-up or top-down aggregated organizational knowledge (tagclouds, semantic search)
- creating and organizing personal reflections (blog posts)
- using externalized peer’s knowledge (blog posts)
- creating personal networks (mashing feeds to monitor)
- benefitting from community browsing (from shortcuts the personal networks create in the community).
Here are some results from the interviews with workplace learners about using the IntelLEO framework for learning and knowledge-building (LKB):
|The temporal LKB activities that have been identified as the prerequisites of organizational responsiveness||These acts create distributed cognition possibilities across EO in IntelLEO||Examples of temporal LKB acts perceived by workplace learners|
1. The presence of knowledge exchanges among employees
Cognitive processes are distributed across the members of a social group (a socially distributed cognition).
Exchanging knowledge and experiences
Acknowledging that someone might read and learn from my reflections.
Sharing, asking and commenting to support the development of learning partners
Helping my colleagues to discover interesting online resources
Cross-organizational collaboration on research projects
Starting and sharing new learning areas in the company
Sharing relevant information with a group
Shared goal or experience supports LKB
Sharing information complements each other’s knowledge and increases group synergy
2. The opportunity for employees within an organisation to use knowledge to adapt their actions to appropriately fit environmental conditions
Cognitive processes involve coordination between internal and external (material or environmental) structure through causal coupling (an embodied cognition)
The continuously changing and evolving job requirements impose the need for constant learning of new things
Autonomy for deciding when and how to learn
Performing LKB primarily for oneself
Organising learner’s current/planned knowledge is increasing the willingness to get involved in LKB
Giving the big picture – what have you done, how have you done it and what else you should learn
Reflection makes to analyse development and think thoroughly about the activities
Showing the learning progress motivates others’ learning
Documenting one’s knowledge increases the others’ motivation to learn within the organization
Reading colleagues’ entries help to realize that my contribution can also be useful for my colleagues
Seeking external solutions for internal challenges
Seeing what and how others have learnt – that makes to think should I learn it as well, how could I learn it
Reusing the „lessons learned“ of my colleagues for planning learning
Peers’ contributions influence to see own things from different viewpoint
Providing the organisational goals on what to learn
Can take a look at the example-learning paths, created by organization
Benefiting and learning from the crowd-sourced knowledge and annotations gathered by the entire organization
Organizational goals may be harmonized with input from personal goals and work-practces
3. Distributed intelligence and dispersed learning processes carried out within loosely coupled different organisations
Processes are distributed through time in such a way that the products of earlier events can transform the nature of later events (feedback loop to organizational culture).
The sufficient mass of initial content in the system increases motivation to add
Looking back/finding at own entries and annotated resources
Identifying potential learning and/or research partners
Getting an insight into others’ interests and goals
Following resources or persons
Associating the discovered resources with the task
Letting others to know of new contributions
Seeing the activities in interesting topics and of colleagues
Better structuring and organizing of the collective knowledge
The collaborators can easily access task-relevant resources
Collaboration between organizations influences positively the development of individuals
It influences the growth of the organizational and individual knowledge