Transforming and Computerizing Professional Artifacts: An Underestimated Opportunity for Learning

Transforming and Computerizing Professional Artifacts: An Underestimated Opportunity for Learning

Carina Beckerman (Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/jhdri.2010070101


Improving the artifacts a knowledge worker uses and how he or she exercises his or her knowledge is part of being professional in a knowledge society. In a knowledge society there is a continuous structuring and re-structuring, construction and re-construction and learning and re-learning occurring due to implementing new information and communication technology. But many of these projects fail in spite of management spending large amounts of money on them. This paper creates an awareness of how an artefact, such as a new knowledge management system, becomes a driving force behind expanding the knowledge of an anesthesist and has implications for continuous learning among a group of employees at the anesthesia and intensive care unit. In addition, implementing new technology is an underestimated opportunity for learning. This paper suggests that a significant educational effort is taking place in society channelled through IT-projects, even if they fail.
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Professionals And Professional Artifacts

Carr-Saunders and Wilson (1933) have described the professionals as a phenomenon that once aroused to meet specific needs in society: a priest saves a soul, a lawyer his client and a medical doctor hopefully cures the patient. According to Larson (1979) professionalism consists of a cognitive, a normative and an organizational part. The cognitive part includes specialist knowledge and long training, the normative part ethical standards and a commitment to provide a service for the public good. Then a professional is normally also regulated by an organizational body with disciplinary powers that support these cognitive and normative elements. Professional and specialist knowledge is a matter of both formal education based on scientific knowledge and skills (Abbott, 1988). A professional has the same education as others in the same field but there are better and less good professionals. The difference lies in their capacity to learn from their experience, and of acquiring “tacit” knowledge. Tacit knowledge consists, among other things, of search rules, or heuristics, that identify the problem that is in focus for the professional and the elements consisting of the solution (Polanyi, 1966).

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