McAndrew, Patrick; Clow, Doug; Taylor, Josie and Aczel, James
The evolutionary design of a Knowledge Network to support knowledge management and sharing for lifelong learning.
British Journal of Educational Technology, 35(6),
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Knowledge Management (KM) and knowledge sharing are important factors that support lifelong learning, and enable people to continue developing throughout their careers. The concept of a Community of Practice (Wenger, 2000) is attractive in drawing together people whose work shares similar aspects, and consideration is given here to how technology can be used to develop and support such a community.
In this paper, concepts from the Community of Practice literature are used to consider the development of a software environment for people working as a community in the area of lifelong learning. The intention was to design the system in an evolutionary way, using a minimal set of essential elements which would be elaborated according to user feedback. Three key design questions are considered: Who can contribute resources to such a system? What happens to existing practices? How is the community engaged?
We conclude that, in lifelong learning, knowledge management supported by a software environment offers a good way to bring together communities, resources and experience, but to achieve these benefits, great care needs to be exerted in introducing the system and maintaining existing work practices.
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