Posts Categorized: PKMastery

Web tools for critical thinking

A few years back, Dave Pollard wrote a post on critical thinking and it’s one that I’ve referred to a few times since. I think that real critical thinking is a key survival skill in our global, digital surround. What I think really needs to be taught is critical thinking as a defensive skill. We… Read more »

Personal Knowledge Management 2

Note: If you are looking for the summary page on personal knowledge management/mastery (PKM) it is now here: http://jarche.com/pkm/ ***** Jay has recently posted on Learning Circuits that blogs can be used as knowledge management (KM) tools. Using these tools brings some new challenges, as Lilia has noted “In a sense personal KM is very entrepreneurial,… Read more »

Personal Knowledge Management (PKM)

Both Lilia Efimova and Denham Grey talk extensively about personal knowledge management. They have studied this field much more than I have, and if you’re looking for in-depth analysis then please look at their sites.
This post is more of a how-to for anyone new to blogs, aggregators and social bookmarking. I have mentioned how blogging is useful for me as a free-agent, consultant, knowledge worker. etc. Here is a visual overview of how this site is constructed to help me in managing my own knowledge flows [having problems with my image editor too]. It may also provide an argument on why you should have your own blog for work. First of all, Harold’s blog is the platform by which I try to make implicit knowledge (e.g. not codified or structured) more explicit, through the process of writing out my thoughts and observations of what I have come across in my work or on the web. A lot of these observations come from the web sites that I visit regularly.
These feeds are aggregated in my Bloglines account, which is publicly available, so anyone can see the sites that I read. This feed aggregator is sorted into various folders and feeds are routinely added and deleted depending on my preferences and information needs. If I’m working on a project in a specific field, like healthcare, I may add some feeds for the duration of the work. I also keep a couple of feeds that have little relation to my work for any serendipidous learning. My account usually runs at about 100 feeds, and the ability to preview and save posts makes this simple and easy – much easier than visiting each site.
There are also some web pages, posts or sites that I find interesting but are not worth the effort of writing a blog post (these take some time and effort). For these sites I use Furl because it not only saves the page but allows me to tag the item by category. For example, I have been using Furl to keep a list of items related to Public Education as well as Small Businesses that have blogs. My Furl archive is also public.
Because my website is searchable, I’m able to retrieve thoughts and comments and easily review them. Others can do the same. This is quite practical for presentations and papers.
Finally, I have links to my Associates. These show who I’m working with and can be helpful in redirecting people. For instance, the Atlantic Wildlife Institute’s URL is an amalgamation of the English and French acronyms (AWI + IAF = AWIAF). It’s not that obvious, so I tell people to go to my website and follow the link – much easier. Sometimes I’m in a conversation and someone asks for more details on a subject. In many cases I’m able to point that person to my website with either, "search for this term" or "follow this link on the navigation menu". I will even access my website from a client’s office and use some article to reinforce or explain a point – quite useful.

Personal Knowledge Management

From Lilia, is this quote worth keeping for your files:

To a great extend PKM [personal knowledge management] is about shifting responsibility for learning and knowledge sharing from a company to individuals and this is the greatest challenge for both sides. Companies should recognise that their employees are not "human resources", but investors who bring their expertise into a company. As any investors they want to participate in decision-making and can easily withdraw if their "return on investment" is not compelling. Creativity, learning or desire to help others cannot be controlled, so knowledge workers need to be intrinsically motivated to deliver quality results. In this case "command and control" management methods are not likely to work.

Taking responsibility for own work and learning is a challenge for knowledge workers as well. Taking these responsibilities requires attitude shift and initiative, as well as developing personal KM knowledge and skills. In a sense personal KM is very entrepreneurial, there are more rewards and more risks in taking responsibility for developing own expertise.

My conclusion for a while has been that knowledge cannot be managed, and neither can knowledge workers. It will take a new social contract between workers and organisations in order to create an optimally functioning enterprise. Adding management and technology won’t help either. This is the crux of everything in the new "right-sized, lean, innovative, creative" economy – getting the right balance between the organisational structure and the knowledge workers.