PKM – Personally Managing Your Knowledge

Note: More recent version here.

This post marks my first direct link to the newly created Work Literacy site.

Learning is an individual activity that often happens with and is supported by others. We may learn on our own but usually not by ourselves. Unless we live on a desert island, we learn socially. In looking at how we can make sense of the growing and changing knowledge in our respective professional fields (e.g. Pluto is no longer a planet), I see two parallel processes that support each other. One is internally focused, as in “How do I learn this?” and the other is external, as in “With whom can I learn this?”.

Internally, we go through a process of looking at bits of information and try to make sense of it by adding to our existing knowledge or testing out new patterns in our sense-making efforts. The process I have developed for myself is to:

  • Sort,
  • Categorize,
  • Make Explicit, and
  • Retrieve

I have called this my Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) system, a term that is not original to me, and is based on the work of many others. There are also three externally focused activities that I believe complement our internal learning. These are to Connect, Exchange and Contribute. These internal and external activities are a way of moving from implicit to explicit knowledge by observing, reflecting and then putting tentative thoughts out to our “community”.

In the interest of not having an enormously lengthy blog post, the rest of this article is attached as a 5 page PDF. It elaborates each of the processes and describes some of the tools available. This is an extension of an earlier post, PKM – My Best Tool. Please feel free to share it.

Attached Document:


15 Responses to “PKM – Personally Managing Your Knowledge”

  1. Jacques

    In a very clear, simple and visual way, you have described the process that every teacher should grasp in his/her efforts to adequately integrate technology in the learning/teaching dynamic, and in his/her understanding of what learning is. It is also providing sound pedagogical justification to the appropriate use of Web 2.0 (I prefer the term Participative Web) for students, teachers and parents. Personally, I find relevance in this document because you are describing how I interact with knowledge, with my Bloglines feeds (could have been some other tool, but that’s not the issue) often being the starting point…
    I will share this en français. Merci.

  2. Harold

    I posted this to put forth some tentative models and show what has been working for me. We’re in a transitory stage here.

  3. Anoush Margaryan

    Hello Harold,
    Great post, which fits very closely with the ideas on collective learning that we are developing at Glasgow Caledonian University . Have you considered how individual goals may drive this internal and external activities? We have been thinking about the notion of charting as the underpinning mechanism – see our blogpost
    It’s particularly interesting how these personal goals may be shared and revised in an ongoing way, and and how the charting patterns themselves may be shared.


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