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IBM Cambridge Research Center

  Technical Report: Coming to the Crossroads of Knowledge, Learning, and Technology: Integrating Knowledge Management and Workplace Learning

Coming to the Crossroads of Knowledge, Learning, and Technology: Integrating Knowledge Management and Workplace Learning

Technical Report #:00-07
Author(s): Andrew L. Cohen, Bill Penuel

Abstract

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As the global economy continues to transform itself at a rapid pace, companies have come to focus more and more on the importance of creating and managing knowledge. The rise of knowledge management in companies across industries not typically associated with the production of information comes at a time when businesses are recognizing the role knowledge plays in keeping companies competitive. Companies need both to manage effectively the knowledge they do have, distributed across people, technologies, and organizational practices, and to acquire new knowledge that will enable them to stay competitive in the marketplace. While companies have made great strides in recent years toward managing knowledge more effectively, few companies have been able to draw connections between knowledge management and workplace learning, another emerging central interest of business today. Companies have begun to examine how concepts like the learning organization are related to knowledge management strategies, but they are rarely guided by clear definitions of what learning is and how best to support it in the workplace. In this paper, we aim to draw attention to examples of companies that have integrated an understanding of how people learn into their knowledge management strategies. We pay particular attention to the ways that collaborative technologies have supported companies in developing integrated learning and knowledge management solutions. We recognize that technology has played a critical role in both knowledge management and in workplace learning, as we discussed in our second paper “New Workplace Learning Technologies: Activities and Exemplars.”

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