Saturday, 29 August 2009

Can you get knowledge off the web?

It’s really cool living the communication media revolution: no packaged answers. Experimenting is everything. Good for entrepreneurs. Not so good for causal thinkers (the rest).

Information’s free - heaps of it. Some enlightened universities even publish their courses free on the web. So, indeed, why physically attend a university to get knowledge when information’s free online?

Because information isn’t knowledge, that’s why. It’s just “stuff” until a person or people make sense of it for and between themselves. The most effective way to communicate knowledge; to transfer it between people, is interactively. (The universities spent a fortune on failed “distance learning” over the last decade or so to begin to realise that.)

An organisation’s knowledge exists in the web of relationships between its people not in the nodes ( the hard drives and experts). It is evident in interpersonal behaviour. It exists as organisational knowledge only in as much as it is communicated.

Learning is a complex interactive process. Rich interaction produces deep (behaviour changing) learning. Rich organisational knowledge exists and develops in rich interrelationships.

So what can we learn over the internet? What organisational knowledge can exist in the internet? Answer: it depends on the richness and depth of interrelationship.

I don’t know about you but for me nothing beats real person 2 person communication on that score. And whatever virtual communication medium best approximates P2P is the next best thing.

So until the internet can fully reproduce a meeting virtually, I’ll go to university, fly to conferences, visit my clients, go home to my wife and kids, go to church, go out to the pub, the theatre and to parties.

In between those real meetings I’ll maintain conversation by phone, Skype, email, blog, LinkedIn, FaceBook, YouTube, Twitter, whatever. But I’ll go easy on it and try to make my communication relevant and meaningful to my connections or they’ll get sick of my intrusions and I’ll get sick of theirs.

How am I doing? How are you doing? How rich is your personal and organisational communication? Are you leading learning?

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