Knowledge Management and Innovative Learning

Knowledge Management and Innovative Learning

Tiit Elenurm (Estonian Business School, Estonia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1969-2.ch006


The aim of this chapter is to link knowledge management as a field of education to innovative learning. There are opportunities to apply personal knowledge management and knowledge sharing logic in several related subject fields that enable innovative learning. Raising awareness of business students about their online and face-to-face networking priorities and entrepreneurial orientations are educational tools for managing personal connectivity and for understanding knowledge management challenges linked to innovative learning. The experiential learning cycle is implemented in field projects, which also support cross-cultural learning and highlight real life challenges of knowledge sharing in innovative activities. The assessment of knowledge management prerequisites in different organizations serves as the departure point for knowledge management development visions. The chapter explains that knowledge management learning in business studies is not limited to a separate knowledge management course. Action learning projects can mean innovative learning both for students and managers that learn how to apply external “gatekeepers.”
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The innovative learning vision was popularized by the Club of Rome three decades ago. Innovative learning is the alternative to learning by shock, which destroys the equilibrium of the social system and is also an alternative to normative learning, which is guided by traditions and reproduces the status quo. During recent decades, mankind has witnessed many situations where learning by shock has dominated over anticipation, for instance in the recent global financial and economic crisis. Innovative learning is based on two processes: anticipation of future changes and participation in problem solving based on the new information (Botkin, et al., 1979). In innovative learning, anticipation and participation are not limited to individual learning behaviour, but should be applied in small groups and also in organizations and social institutions. Knowledge management tools support anticipation and participation inside an organisation or in a wider learning community. Knowledge management is also related to normative learning as it enables sharing and reusing earlier knowledge, which is relevant for further action. In a crisis situation knowledge management should help to overcome shock and act smartly and rapidly.

Educational institutions face the challenge of not only preparing students for managing knowledge in organizations but also for personal knowledge management in order to cope with the information overload and to be competitive in new fields of knowledge work. Knowledge-based enterprises face the challenge of anticipating future market and technology trends. Organizations need more active participation of their members in searching for and sharing knowledge that is relevant to their learning and growth perspectives. The objectives of this chapter are:

  • To examine the synergies between innovative learning and knowledge management;

  • To explain the role of personal knowledge management for linking innovative learning and knowledge sharing;

  • To identify and explain innovative educational practices that enable knowledge management and innovative learning in business education and in training and development programmes for organizations.

This chapter at first highlights the background for understanding synergies between innovative learning and knowledge management. Crucial knowledge management concepts are discussed in order to explain their implications for innovative learning. Subsequently, the role of personal knowledge management in linking innovative thinking and knowledge sharing is explained. This theoretical background serves as a point of departure for analyzing five educational and training practices that have been used by the author for enhancing innovative learning.

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