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Knowledge management and elearning

Both elearning and knowledge management feed off the same root: learning, improved capacity to perform work tasks, ability to make effective decisions, and positively impact the world around us. The difference between KM and elearning is a function of time.. Knowledge management is dynamic. Elearning is static.

As a medium, elearning allows for the sharing of knowledge that has been tested, researched and organized. For example, an instructional designer relies on subject matter experts to provide an understanding/best practices/knowledge of a certain field. The information used to create an elearning course has typically been tested and is generally accepted by practitioners of the field. As such, elearning is delayed (but tested), organized knowledge.

Knowledge management, however, is much livelier. Conversations and sharing understanding happens in real time. Through KM, tacit understanding can be communicated, problems can be jointly solved, and serendipitous connections are formed. KM is chaotic, current (but structurally weak) knowledge.

Unfortunately, KM is overwhelming to many because it sometimes lacks the structure of an organized course. KM is an ecology…elearning an architecture.

Many people who first approach blogs and wikis as learning environments are confused by the lack of structure…and soon “drop out” as a result of the overwhelming information (participating in high activity knowledge ecologies requires a mindset of suspended judgment about incoming information (i.e. don’t over-evaluate each item of information as an end) – and focuses instead on synthesizing and pattern searching the entire domain).

Elearning courses become outdated, while KM environments are continually fresh and reflective of current activity in a field. Somehow, the strengths of the two fields need to be brought together. KM should feed into elearning (in order for the content of the “course” to remain fresh and to tap learners into a sustained knowledge environment after the course is done). Elearning should feed into the KM environment and provide easy mechanisms for organizing information in the manner that 80% of people function (not the current 20% who are in love with blogs, wikis, and all things new).


  1. Knowledge Management and eLearning

    Knowledge management and elearning, the difference is time. eLearnign is static, KM is dynamic.

    Friday, February 20, 2004 at 5:35 pm | Permalink
  2. Knowledge Management and eLearning

    Knowledge management and elearning, the difference is time. eLearnign is static, KM is dynamic.

    Friday, February 20, 2004 at 5:35 pm | Permalink
  3. ICTlogy wrote:

    Knowledge management and elearning

    Nice post at elearnspace.

    It deals with the differences but close relationship of e-Learning and Knowledge Management.

    “elearning is delayed (but tested), organized knowledge”
    “KM is chaotic, current (but structurally weak) knowledge…

    Monday, February 23, 2004 at 6:11 am | Permalink
  4. Nice Blog

    Monday, February 23, 2004 at 2:36 pm | Permalink
  5. Tim Drown wrote:

    I disagree that [all] elearning is static. Perhaps some elearning is static but it doesn’t have to be. Perhaps after a course is structured into some kind of plan we might say that it is static but only in its planned and structured form. What really happens is not what is planned or structured. If there is planned flexibility (an oxymoron??), then elearning is still dynamic. If elearning is interactive (students to teacher and teacher to students and students to students and Ts and Ss with ‘outside’ rescources), then learning through discussion and feedback is dynamic. It is flexible. Learning that is planned by the teacher is often NOT what is learned by the students (in either the traditional classroom or in elearning environments). Yet it is still learning.
    KM is not completely unstructured either. Knowledge is filtered and interpreted through the various contexts and media that accompany the information. Information is never neutral despite what science would have us believe. We as knowers change the information as soon as we process it. Knowledge does not exist without people who know.

    Tuesday, February 24, 2004 at 7:14 am | Permalink