Collecting Knowledge isn’t Easy

Being Human

Qualia (from the Latin, meaning “what sort” or “what kind”; Latin and English singular “quale”, pronounced KWAHL-ay) are most simply defined as qualities or feelings, like redness, as considered independently of their effects on behavior.

In more philosophical terms, qualia are properties of sensory experiences by virtue of which there is something it is like to have them.  (http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Qualia)

Feeling Complexity

I have a memory of being a child living in an apartment.   My mother was out for some reason and it was a cold winter day.   I heard her putting the key into the door and since the door had multiple locks I jumped up and ran to the door to help.   When the door opened up I felt a blast of cold air as she grabbed me and hugged me.  I could smell the scent of rain and snow mixed in with her normal mom smell.   The cool feeling of her outside jacked was cold to the touch but warm to my heart.    This is one of my favorite memories but it is truly hard to describe.

Collecting Knowledge

Everything we can manage is the result of something we can produce.   We can suppress emotions but we can’t really manage them.   We can suppress our reaction to something as long as we can condition our minds to respond to input based on practices of conditioning.   In other words,  if you are boxer,  you may have a condition where you tolerate more pain but we technically can’t manage it.

A collection of knowledge is a “best attempt” to get information about something.    Imagine if we sought to collect all of the knowledge you have, how could this be done?   You don’t even have access to all of your knowledge.    In fact, we rationalize the things we don’t know by addressing them with faith.   I don’t mean religion when I say faith, I mean a rule of expectation.   These rules of expectation allow us to perform tasks.   They are short cuts that our brains use to be effective.

When collecting knowledge, we have to unearth the short cuts. 

When you turn on your computer, you have an expectation that it will perform as you expect.  You may not possess all of the knowledge in the device, all of the knowledge that the device is connected with and/or the knowledge to make the device itself function.

If you wanted to collect knowledge about the device, you would seek out all of these things and more.   In a way, it doesn’t make sense.    What a lot of people say at that point of complication is “it is what it is.”  Why?  Because we can only manage so much and tolerate so much, there are thresholds that we should consider.

We might consider the term Knowledge Management a false harmony.   We can see an explicit list of things in a collection but it would be at best faith to consider that we could attain an understanding and rationalization of this list of things.

Where’s Waldo

Why are we looking for Waldo?

What is the purpose of Waldo?

Even though there is a lot of information here,  the knowledge to find Waldo in fact lives outside of the picture in your head.   I will find Waldo either before or after you find Waldo.  In fact, the only way I could find Waldo faster than you for certain is if I had this picture before you and I know where he is.    One thing is for sure for most of us, we have faith and belief that Waldo is in fact in this image.   What if he isn’t there?  The shortcut of belief that Waldo is in the picture allows us to set the stage to spend more time looking for Waldo.   I could present you with the answer of where Waldo is or you could go on the learning journey of discovery and find Waldo yourself.

It all boils down to the fact that it is all complicated.    We could even consider that depending on our level of tolerance for frustration and patience that you or I may never find Waldo.

Knowledge Management Considerations

We could consider that since we have the technology to collect but we don’t have the capacity to yet understand the wholeness of a collection, that we still need to consider and maintain the value of our subject matter experts.

Knowledge has the most fidelity at the personal level.   We should consider that any overall Knowledge Management practice will always end with something to collect and someone to maintain or interpret the collection. As opposed to gaining the collection as an holistically explicit thing unto itself.

Social Constructivist Learning @ Work

Cognitive and Social

Learning Concepts — Basic Premise of Social Constructivist.

The concepts that we have studied around learning for children can be applied to adults as well.  There isn’t some date or time that cognitive psychology just short circuits and expires.   As a KM practitioner and consultant I am finding that simple is more effective than complex and that lessons learned from education applies directly to Knowledge Management and education in business.

What is Social Constructivist Learning?

Lev Vygotsky (http://www.ced.appstate.edu/vybio.html) a cognitive psychologist asserts that socialization and culture provide children with the cognitive tools required for development.  One of the best known concepts from Vygotsky, the zone of proximal development (ZPD) is as follows:

Vygotsky’s ZPD emphasizes his belief that learning is, fundamentally, a socially mediated activity. Thinking and problem-solving skills can, according to Vygotsky, be placed in three categories. some can be performed independently by the child. Others cannot be performed even with help. Between these two extremes are skills the child can perform with help from others. those skills are in the ZPD. If a child uses these cognitive processes with help of others, such as teachers, parents, and fellow students, they will develop skills that can be independently practices. As Vygotsky (1987) puts it, ” What the child is able to do in collaboration today he will be able to do independently tomorrow.” Whereas an extreme interpretation of Piaget can lead to the conclusion that teachers teach best who get out of the way and let a naturally unfolding development take its course, Vygotsky’s theory requires an involved teacher who is an active participant, and guide, for student.

Vygotsky’s concepts assert that children develop best in social or group settings, the use of technology to connect students would be an appropriate practical application of these concepts.

“A constructivist teacher creates a context for learning in which students can become engaged in interesting activities that encourages and facilitates learning. The teacher does not simply stand by, however, and watch children explore and discover. Instead, the teacher may often guide students as they approach problems, may encourage them to work in groups to think about issues and questions, and support them with encouragement and advice as they tackle problems, adventures, and challenges that are rooted in real life situations that are both interesting to the students and satisfying in terms of the result of their work. Teachers thus facilitate cognitive growth and learning as do peers and other members of the child’s community.” (http://viking.coe.uh.edu/~ichen/ebook/et-it/social.htm)

There are four principles are applied in any Vygotskian classroom.

  1. Learning and development is a social, collaborative activity.
  2. The Zone of Proximal Development can serve as a guide for curricular and lesson planning.
  3. School learning should occur in a meaningful context and not be separated from learning and knowledge children develop in the “real world”.
  4. Out-of-school experiences should be related to the child’s school experience.

How does this translate to adults in business ?

A KM facilitator or Community Manager (CM) acts essentially as an enabler for employees as performers and subject matter experts.   The information and knowledge management activities are centered through collaboration and connectivity of information in context.  The CM can create activity based toolkits that experts and activity performers can leverage as part of a collaborative approach.

Key factors include:

  1. A safe environment for students to collaborate.  ~Translates to “safe and open environment for employees”
  2. A facilitated set of activities that introduce real life concepts for students.~Translates to “facilitate activities that are simulations of real business situations or labs”
  3. Technological capabilities that “enable” active collaboration. ~ SAME
  4. Appropriate feedback models and measures that provide information to teachers, librarians and students. ~ SAME for adult learners

What tools and technologies could be used for these activities?  (for teaching but … applies to business)

  • Reading and Writing Workshops:  This approach teaches students reading and language arts from a student-centric or student-centered process that gives students as individual performers and groups a great deal of responsibility on making decisions pertaining to what they will study and the reasoning behind it.  This approach emphasizes the collaborative and social aspects and nature of learning.    Collaboration activities that occur in the workshop are facilitated and conference driven workflows that include classroom and non-classroom based activities.  Students will create ideas, drafts and written products through explicit exchanges with peer groups, teachers, parents and other relevant members of the student’s social network.
  •  The collaboration activities are “for purpose” and have a meaningful outcome for students to aspire to as opposed to providing a summary of a teacher lesson and/or reiterating a teachers personal perspective or interpretation.   The function of a group discussion in both small groups and larger whole-class groups creates a feedback loop that informs both students and teachers.  In the case of this collaborative construct everyone has an opportunity for shared learning and communication.  Teachers who have the ability to take on active learning roles can inform and teach students how to listen, write, speak, read and effectively communicate.   Teachers actively teach students how to learn and think about information and further convert this information into knowledge that can be actualized.  This pragmatic approach can prepare students for education from a learning engagement perspective, social perspective and practical implementation perspective.

Here are some examples of this approach:

Whole Language:  “In the simplest terms, the “whole language approach” is a method of teaching children to read by recognizing words as whole pieces of language. Proponents of the whole language philosophy believe that language should not be broken down into letters and combinations of letters and “decoded.” Instead, they believe that language is a complete system of making meaning, with words functioning in relation to each other in context”. (What is the whole language approach?)

While these concepts are the basis for teaching children, they apply to adults almost across the board.

Some key characteristics of the whole language approach are:

  •  Acceptance of learners. This means, in part, that all learners are accepted regardless of their cultural or socio-economic background or other characteristics or labels. But in whole language classrooms, “acceptance of learners” also means that whole language teachers develop the classroom environment and the curriculum for and with the students, to meet their needs and engage them in learning about what interests them, as well as to cover essentials from the curriculum guidelines.
  • Flexibility within structure. Instead of having children do one brief activity or worksheet after another, whole language teachers organize the day in larger blocks of time, so that children can engage in meaningful pursuits. Thus they engage in fewer different tasks, but larger and more satisfying projects. They may have a readers’ and writers’ workshop, for instance, when the children read books and perhaps use them as models for their own writing. They may study a theme or topic at least part of the day for several days or weeks, using oral and written language and research skills to pursue learning in the realm of social studies and/or science and math, and using language and the arts to demonstrate and share what they have learned. Together and individually, the students have many choices as to what they will do and learn, which enables them to take significant responsibility for their learning. However, the teacher guides, supports, and structures the children’s learning as needed. Flexibility within the larger time blocks offers the time that learners need (especially the less proficient) in order to accomplish something meaningful and significant.
  • Supportive classroom community. Many whole language teachers help children develop skills for interacting with each other, solving interpersonal conflicts and problems, supporting one another in learning, and taking substantial responsibility for their own behavior and learning.
  • Expectations for success as they engage in “real” reading, writing, and learning. Kids aren’t kept doing “readiness” activities, in preparation for later reading and writing; rather, they are given the support they need to read and write whole texts from the very beginning. Whole language teachers have discovered that virtually all children can learn to read and write whole texts. This is true also of children who have heretofore been sent to resource rooms because they had difficulty with skills work. Indeed, reading whole texts is often easier for these children than doing the skills work.
  • Skills taught in context. Instead of being taught in isolation, skills are taught through mini-lessons and conferences, in the context of students’ reading, writing, and learning. For example: phonics is taught mainly through discussion and activities deriving from texts the children have read and reread with the teacher, and through writing the sounds they hear in words. Spelling is mainly taught when children are editing their writing, and grammar is mainly taught as the teacher helps children revise and edit what they’ve written. Skills like using the index of a book are taught when students need to locate information on a topic they want to research, while using the yellow pages of a phone book is taught when children need to locate resources within the community. In short, skills are taught while students are engaged in real-life tasks.
  • Teacher support for learning: scaffolding and collaboration. Teachers provide “scaffolding” for learning in many ways. For instance, primary grade teachers read Big Books and charts to and with children again and again, enabling the children to read whole texts before they can read independently. Whole language teachers help children write the sounds they hear in words, thus enabling the children to communicate through writing. They collaborate with children in carrying out research projects and, in the process, they model and explain how to do things that the children could not yet do alone. By collaborating on projects, children provide similar support for each other.
  • Contextualized assessment that emphasizes individuals’ growth as well as their accomplishments. Assessment is based primarily upon what children are doing from day to day as they read, write, do math and science, research topics of interest, and express their learning in various ways. Comprehensive, “portfolio” assessment will include data not only on the products of children’s efforts, but on their learning processes. Whole language teachers commonly involve children in assessing their own work and progress, and in setting future goals for learning. Parents and peers may also be involved in assessment. Individual growth and strengths are emphasized, along with progress in meeting agreed-upon goals and predetermined criteria.
  • Situated Learning- The concept of situated learning has been put forward by Lave and Wenger (1991). The idea is to look at social process and engagement over cognitive process and conceptual structures.  William F. Hanks puts it in his introduction to their book: ‘Rather than asking what kind of cognitive processes and conceptual structures are involved, they ask what kinds of social engagements provide the proper context for learning to take place’ (1991: 14). The fundamental idea around situated learning is based in the concepts of “communities of practice.”
  • Collaborative Learning- This is the idea that more than one person can work together to learn together.  Further that participants in this kind of learning approach will overall perform better than individual performs.
  • Anchored Instruction- “ refers to instruction in which the material to be learned is presented in the context of an authentic event that serves to anchor or situate the material and, further, allows it to be examined from multiple perspectives.” (Barab 2000:5)
  • Gamification (Gamification) is the concept of applying game-design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging. Children today are extremely responsive to playing electronic games. There are number opportunities for social and collaborative learning thought live virtual construction and other virtual technologies. Some examples are Minecraft, World of Warcraft and even a new site called Growtopia. Working with the Librarian teachers can leverage these technologies with students both in and out of the classroom.  Additionally, children can extend their reach by employing these same technologies at home.
  • Model Based Instruction(Simulation)– Technologies have advanced in modeling and simulation well beyond the traditional block Lego.  There are Snap Circuits for children to create electronic modeling, amateur computing like the Raspberry Pi where students can create software applications, programs, games and operating environments.  Librarians can use lessons learned and best practices to reproduce and construct scientific models to describe, to explain, to predict and to control physical phenomena.

 

 

Community Managers and Knowledge Managers with a clear understanding of business AND employee needs as “requirements” can work alongside their peers as enablers.  A clear understanding of technology and the applicability to the various approaches in context of collaboration and social learning will educate the subject matter experts and practitioners alike .  As technology, process, and practice evolve facilitators can maintain their role as the implementation and facilitation specialists which  create, maintain, grow and facilitate the various lessons learned, best practices and technological capabilities in order to support the shared objectives of facilitated collaborative learning and instruction for the specific purpose of enhancing business.

 

Harold has it right!

KM and The Pioneer Woman~

From the Science of Food Website

Deliciousness to The End!

The Pioneer Woman, absolutely brilliant Ree Drummond provides some of the most tasty and delicious recipes that represent the American palate for today and from a time gone by.   Please find an example of one of Ree’s wonderful recipes.   Her style uses both complex concepts along with simple staples to make for a meal that people like me don’t easily forget.

Spicy Dr Pepper Ribs

Prep Time: 8 Hours

Cook Time: 3 Hours
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 can Dr. Pepper
  • 1 can (5 Ounces) Chipotle Peppers Packed In Adobo
  • 1/3 cup Brown Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 packages Pork Baby Back Ribs

Preparation Instructions

Prepare the marinade by gently boiling the first 6 ingredients in a medium saucepan until reduced and thick, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Divide into two containers and refrigerate one container for later.

Place ribs on a large baking sheet lined with heavy foil. Brush half the marinade all over the ribs on both sides. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 8 hours to marinate.

When you’re ready to cook the ribs, preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Place the pan, still covered in foil, into the oven for 2 hours. Remove the foil and increase the temperature to 300. Using the other half of the sauce, brush another generous layer all over the ribs. Return the pan to the oven and continue cooking for another 30 to 40 minutes, brushing on another layer of sauce as it cooks.

Remove the ribs when they’re fork tender (keep cooking until they are). Slice and serve!

The PW and Explicit Knowledge Transfer

You can find some of her newest creations or postings here http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/.   The recipe above is on this page as of today and there are images showing how to “stir the pot” so to speak.    I know we haven’t addressed KM yet but don’t worry, it is coming!  The Pioneer Woman expresses her style and her creations through many facets of explicit knowledge transfer and she is really very good at it.  She has a television show, books,  her website and other areas where she expresses herself.

The Drivers (Motivation) and Slight Transition

I Howie Cohen am a pretty good cook these days and the reason why is because while at home and serving food, I seek to give my family and friends what they want.    Why is the Pioneer Woman’s recipes so good?  Well.. they are so good because they are stuffed, filled, broiled, baked, stirred, fried and chilled with all of the things we love which are sugar, fat and salt.   Don’t take this as a complaint (please) it is a choice if you want to eat fatty, salty and sugary foods in fact when I am really aiming to please a house guest, they don’t want to know the calorie or salt numbers because they would probably hold their hands up to protect their hearts!   Some people think her food is unhealthy http://www.takepart.com/photos/most-unhealthy-cookbooks/the-pioneer-woman-cooks-food-from-my-frontier

A Finger on the Pulse does not make for an understanding of the Heart.

In other words, just cause something seems like it is good doesn’t mean it is good.  We really don’t know what the condition of the heart until we do some things to measure it, test it, look at it and look at things around it.   It takes outside help to see what is happening on our insides.  If we don’t pay attention and we just live for the day and check our pulse, the Pioneer Woman will be our first go to gal for delicious treats.   She can give us what we want, not always what we need. (Nothing wrong with Ree, just using her as an example)

The KM Recipe

  • A few parts people.
  • Lots and lots of process capture.
  • Lots of method capture.
  • Tools to use for purpose driven and awareness driven knowledge activities.

Howie.. WE HAVE BEEN DOING KM FOREVER.. How are you different?

What makes Paula Deen and Ree Drummond different?   What makes the Healthy Chef, Teresa Cutter http://www.thehealthychef.com/ different?

Knowledge Management has been around long before we called it KM.   We as people have been sharing recipes and the tacit knowledge around understanding our senses to know when something will taste not only good to you but to others for centuries.    In the past 100 years we have sought out ways and mechanisms to capture more knowledge and re-purpose it, reuse it, analyse it and find ways to use it to innovate and create new things.

I am just the guy who seeks to do two things in this field, work to give you what you want and work hard to share with you what you need.  In other words, I will help you make those delicious ribs if you like but I will certainly remind you or inform you that Dr. Pepper is known to have a few chemicals in it that can be harmful to your heath http://blogs.naturalnews.com/your-weekly-food-like-product-dr-pepper/ and useful to clean your radiator or toilets!

I heard you.. Not Enough.

Alright, I get it.  You want me to tell you more details because what I have said doesn’t say enough about what makes me and my team SO VERY special at KM.  There are a lot of people out there doing KM and I have just openly stated that you perform some form on KM at least everyday and even now if you are reading this.. there is knowledge transfer occurring.

Here is the deal.. if you want to know a lot more… for those of you who are secret squirrel types that believe in rainbows, unicorns and the magic of SharePoint PLEASE STOP HERE… READ NO FURTHER.. WE NEED AN NDA– Non Disclosure.. My methods are so good that I cannot tell you any more information without an agreement and payment up front. 

For the rest of you… read on…   Ready.. Set… I don’t know all the answers.  That is my secret.  At this moment as I sit here writing you on my blog about the deliciousness of the Pioneer Woman recipes and KM <— weird topic mix,  I don’t know what your problem is and I am not sure yet how to fix it.

Here is what I do know.    I know that knowledge is a wave of sorts and that knowledge is stacked onto knowledge.  This means that you have to actually know something to get to know something. These things that you need to know are prequalifications for leveling up on what you can know.   When I go to help an organization or a person, I take with me a body of knowledge in knowledge transfer, knowledge management, industrial psychology, psychometry<–just kidding and other areas of thought to help YOU figure out what to do to solve what ever the challenge is.   If it is peer to peer mentoring then that is what we look at together.   If it is sampling the organization to get a feel of the culture, that is what we look at.  If it is enjoying a smoothie and pontificating on the great crew change of 2020 and the end of life as we know it, I do that too.    There is no magic pattern.  There is no magic bullet.   There are a BUNCH of wonderful recipes out there for you.. some are delicious but harmful to your business and some are healthy and good for the business.   It is up to you what you want to accomplish and the difference between me and my team and other people who I have come across is that I am going to tell you that I don’t know but we can learn and figure out what to do to solve the challenges together.   If something comes up and myself or my team can’t figure it out.. (another NDA moment)  Please avert your eyes if you can’t take the answer!! I will get help from my friends and even if needed from people who I know that can help but may not like MY style.   Because that is what it takes.  

Last Part..

The only thing I want to point out now is that a lot of people are just checking their pulse and they know that at some point crew change is going to hurt them or some other catastrophic event is going to hurt their business.   Don’t wait for that to happen and suffer that consequence, invest a little now in strategies for the long-term.  You can have your Pioneer Woman dessert and a healthy dinner before it!!

There is GREAT POWER in Silence

If you don’t say something, you are saying a lot.

“Silence is a window into a fundamental misunderstanding in semiotics, the study of signs. “http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ambigamy/201110/the-silent-treatment-when-people-leave-you-guessing

Research indicates that children would rather be yelled at than ignored. When prisoners are being punished, they are put in isolation, because being isolated is one of the harshest punishments there is — other than physical abuse. Likewise, the silent treatmentis a form of punishment, a way of attempting to control your partner or others into doing what you want them to do. It is a withdrawal of approval, and can cause much fear in people who are vulnerable to this.

You are giving people the silent treatment when you shut down to them, closing your heart and refusing to interact with them or acknowledge their presence. You act as if they are invisible, not responding to them at all or giving them a very minimal and withheld response. Your hope in treating them this way is that they will get the message that they have displeased you. They have done something wrong in your eyes and deserve to be punished, deserve to have your “love” taken away. Ref

When you ignore people and they know you are ignoring them, you hurt them.

 

 

Animagraffs.com

2004 Perspective on KM

Given the economic outlook for knowledge workers, I find even less incentives to share my knowledge with my employer. Capturing it is even further out. You’d have to be insane to give your employer any of your knowledge.

I’m wondering if people can remain employed without sharing some knowledge?

Posted by: David Locke | December 05, 2004 at 12:49 AM

 

Something to think about.. this was 10 years ago.

 

Brain Dominance

Hermann-brain-dominance-large