E-Learning Design for the Information Workplace

E-Learning Design for the Information Workplace

Colleen Carmean
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-788-1.ch013
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Anytime and all-the-time access to electronic resources, artifacts and community have changed learning practices in the workplace as surely as it has changed the workplace itself. Learning today is measured not by what we know, but by how successfully we tap into our network to find the information we need in the moment we need it. The business environment now demands anytime and just-in-time answers at all levels of the organization. In response to new expectations within the information-rich workplace, the organization must look to a new practice of comprehensive design for a shared knowledge architecture that can leverage the digital tools, methods and effective practices now available. To understand not simply technology but the affordance (Norman, 1988; Carmean & McGee, 2008) and effective use of each technology now available, a new design practice is needed. Current digital learners seek practices, resources and help in navigating the shared knowledge flow and have little training or support in understanding the network of information available. If anytime, anywhere, and from any source is a new e-learning paradigm in the digital workplace (Cross, 2006), then the challenge for a new breed of designers will be to help the digital learner to find, understand andcreate the shared knowledge embedded within local and global networked resources.
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Background And Context

Access to people, solutions, ideas and file sharing now requires a sophisticated skill set to make effective use of the inherent capabilities of the network. Brown (2000) suggests that our ability to use the Web to find information and build from it to create something more is a practice of bricolage in cobbling together an understanding from pieces known. This distributed e-knowledge practice defines a shift in learning and knowledge creation where knowledge is seen as an act of finding what is needed, rather than being expected to know. In this author’s research in knowledge architecture, Carmean (2008) explores the emergence-based properties of this new paradigm and proposes a new practice in knowledge management that includes a systems design for shared knowledge to better prepare learners for effective practice in learning bricolage. To effectively use the tools and practices within shared knowledge architecture, stronger information literacy would be expected of the learner. New skills in digital collaboration will be increasingly demanded in the next generation workplace (Carlile, 2002). Monitoring, contributing and synthesizing information are core skills expected but not yet taught in the connected information age.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Organizational Knowledge: The body of knowledge contained, but not categorized, within the members of an organization.

Bricolage: The construction of work or understanding, cobbled together from a diverse range of unrelated resources.

Social Network Analysis: The study and mapping of social structure through nodes and their ties. SNA is a numeric way to quantify connectivity for nodes (generally individuals or organizational entities) via specific ties to one or more types of interdependency (trust, values, affiliation, etc).

Emergent Knowledge: Understanding based on independent exploration and conclusions of agents operating in a learning environment; knowledge formed bottom-up and thus allowing more complex understandings as a collective.

Social media: Participatory software and technologies; also referred to as social technologies, Web 2.0, collaboration technology.

Knowledge Architecture: Construction of a digital environment designed to best capture, share, create a body of knowledge.

Informal Learning: Self-directed, often just-in-time and applied knowledge acquisition. Using the resources at hand to find what is needed to be known when it’s needed.

Affordance: Inherent usefulness of an object or tool related to those actions or possibilities which are readily perceivable by the user.

Tacit Knowledge: Knowledge which is only known through action by an individual and that is difficult to communicate to others; knowledge learned through experience.

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