Book: Knowledge Management and E-Learning
Publisher: Auerbach Publications
This work embraces two heretofore distinct fields of study, knowledge management
and e-learning. In order to understand the impetus to link these two fields by a
common thread, it is necessary to understand the two fields and the focus of each.
Knowledge management (KM) has developed as a field from its roots in data
and information management. Organizations became aware of the need to store
and retrieve knowledge that would be indispensible to their overall functions. The
explosion of knowledge brought about by the technological revolution, particularly
in the past decade, brought to light how much information was available on almost
any given topic and that the traditional repositories for such knowledge (file cabinets,
for example) were insufficient for storing knowledge.
It was alarming to realize that within the past 15 years more information could
be stored on a single desktop computer or a mobile handheld device than an entire
organization might be able to store anywhere prior to that time. While data retrieval
might be enhanced by technology, the fact is that such retrieval can only occur with
an organization’s ability to access and be aware of the repositories that exist to serve
the organization’s purposes in the future.
Moreover, aside from their need to use current and stored knowledge, many
organizations, willingly or not, have become the developers and dispensers of new
knowledge. This historical anomaly occurs in light of the individual’s ability to
instantly access a plethora of information that relates directly or tangentially to
one’s inquiries. This linkage and the serendipitous search-outcome effect allow new
ideas and thoughts that lead to innovation to occur on a regular basis. The result of
these events is that the new knowledge becomes part of the repository and knowledge
base of the organization.
Much has been written in the field of knowledge management. The body of that
literature suggests the KM embraces a process of creating, acquiring, capturing,
aggregating, sharing and using knowledge to enhance organizational learning and
performance. Many definitions and philosophical positions emerge in the dynamic
field of knowledge management. The common thread running through that field
ultimately returns to the aforementioned factors in one way or another.