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Transforming e-Knowledge: A Revolution in the Sharing of Knowledge
This report traces the three primary indicators of e-knowledge
transformation: 1) Internet technologies, interoperability standards, and
emerging e-knowledge repositories and marketplaces, 2) enterprise
infrastructures, processes, and knowledge cultures; and 3) cascading cycles
of reinvention of best practices, business models and strategies for
KEY POINTS FROM THE REPORT
Forces Enabling and Stimulating the e-Knowledge Industry
- Investments in infrastructure and best practices by "early adopters"
of e-knowledge deliver results that encourage wider adoption, and also
facilitate new generations of enterprise applications.
- Global enterprises increase competitiveness by developing faster ways to
manage their knowledge and their strategic learning, creating tools that
non-experts can use.
- Growth in expert networks and easier, more productive participation in
communities of practice push e-knowledge practices and competencies.
- Increasing sophistication by users, who develop an appetite for services
that provide significant gains in their capacity to access and assimilate
- Advances in Internet and intranet-based capabilities enable jump shifts
in creating and accessing knowledge stores.
- Innovations in mobile communications provide ubiquitous access to
perpetual learning solutions as well as new ways to meet demands for
e-commerce any place or time.
- Insight into new and more effective ways of experiencing knowledge
- Increased understanding about how to deploy international standards in
ways that ensure useful return on investment stimulates continued
- e-Knowledge: digital representations of content and context become
e-knowledge through the dynamics of human engagement with them.
- e-Knowledge is digitized content and context that can be "atomized,"
repurposed, updated, recombined, metered, and exchanged.
- e-Knowledge includes explicit knowledge and means of dealing with
aspects of tacit knowledge, such as its transfer.
- e-Knowledge enables the development of processes and marketplaces for
the exchange of digital content that have never been possible.
- The e-knowledge industry consists of all of the parties involved in the
creation, storage, enhancement, combination, and exchange of
Paths to the e-Knowledge Future
- e-Knowledge will change how learners experience knowledge,
especially just-in-time knowledge and tradecraft-rich knowledge. In the
process e-learning and knowledge management will both grow and become
- Knowledge age learning will focus on the strategic needs of the
enterprise, not just filling competency gaps or developing human capital for
future use. Strategic, enterprise learning will balance between
structured/directed learning and unstructured/autonomic learning.
- Directed learning (i.e., learning directed and designed by the
enterprise for individuals, teams or the entire enterprise, in response to
changes in strategy, culture, new products, or market conditions) will be
launched by enterprises to communicate and change their strategy, culture
and/or products and services. It will involve individuals, teams or the
- Autonomic learning (i.e., learning that originates within the
enterprise, as determined and shaped at the grassroots level by communities
of practice) will originate within the enterprise, initiated by individuals
and communities of practice at grassroots level. It relies on enterprise
infrastructures but will not be explicitly directed by enterprise level
- Expeditionary migration paths to the e-knowledge future will be enabled
by changes in Web technologies, standards, and marketplaces for e-knowledge.
A second driver will be developments in enterprise knowledge ecologies -
infrastructures, processes, capabilities and cultures. These two forces will
enable cascading cycles of reinvention in enterprise best practices,
business models and strategies for both e-learning and knowledge
- In the future, the term e-learning (i.e., the use of networked ICT to
enhance, extend, and enrich learning experiences, changing access to
knowledge and revolutionizing he patterns, cadences, and depth of
interactivity.) will describe a part of every learning activity. The "e"
will be redundant. The "e" in e-knowledge management, e-knowledge and
e-business will also be redundant.
- e-Learning will lose its identity as a distance, take-time-out-for-it
activity. As it does, e-learning and e-knowledge management infrastructures
and activities will be more closely linked. Ultimately they will be fused.
All e-learning and e-knowledge management activities will become fast,
fluid, flexible, and fused.
Technologies, Standards, and Marketplaces for e-Knowledge
- e-Knowledge Standards: Emerging standards will enable e-knowledge to
be captured, understood and re-applied in new contexts. This includes
standards for metadata (i.e., data about data), learning management, content
modularization, knowledge management, workflow and performance support.
- Web Infrastructure: The development of the Semantic Web, Grid computing
and Internet2 are enhancing the capacities of the World Wide Web and
Internet. Technical standards and protocols are essential to mainstreaming
these next generation capacities.
- Applications Integration: Web services related technologies
(XML-eXtensible Markup Language, SOAP-Simple Object Access Protocol, UDDI-
Universal Description, Discovery and Integration and WSDL-Web Services
Description Language) will enable disparate applications and platforms to
communicate and engage data easily and seamlessly.
- These developments will enable the development of enterprise
repositories for collecting, maintaining and exchanging e-content, context
and narrative for learning, research and other forms of scholarship.
- Cross-enterprise marketplaces for e-content will become major factors in
most industries. Such marketplaces will open previously unattainable
secondary markets for e-content.
Infrastructures, Processes, Capabilities, and Cultures
- Over the past decade, enterprises have enhanced their capabilities
for processing knowledge. Most have been tinkering with aspects of their
knowledge ecosystem, not truly transforming their capacity to share
knowledge. But over the next few years, new enterprise infrastructures,
portals, Web services, Learning Content Management Systems, and community
building technologies will support a seamless web of interoperable
applications that will support altering the enterprise knowledge ecology.
These user-centric infrastructures will feature a personalized experience
gateway through which users will engage products, services, and knowledge
utilities of great power and amenity.
- These new infrastructures provide more than a return on investment
(ROI). They will yield a strong value on investment (VOI) based on their
capacity to yield "soft benefits" such as supporting process reinvention and
innovation, knowledge management, communities of practice, individual and
organizational capabilities, and new leadership. These strategic benefits
are essential to changing the enterprise's knowledge ecology.
- Enterprises will focus on the strategic use of knowledge. They will
change the dynamics of their operations through productivity enhancements,
increased collaboration and innovation. Communities of practice will become
predominant organizational form in the e-Knowledge Economy. They will be the
epicenter of autonomic learning and the development of individual and
Best Practices, Business Models, and Strategies
- The next several years will witness dramatic advances in Web
technologies, standards, e-knowledge marketplaces, enterprise
infrastructures, processes, as well as individual and organizational
capabilities to handle e-knowledge. As a result, enterprises will experience
cascading cycles of reinvention in their best practices for e-learning and
- e-Learning and knowledge management will be pervasive, integrated into
enterprise activities, and for all practical purposes, fused. These cycles
of reinvention are starting today in leading-edge enterprises. They will
accelerate and continue for decades. Many of the new practices will come
from new competitors and from outside North America.
- New business models and strategies will emerge that capitalize on the
changing value nets for knowledge. The new business models will reduce the
unit cost of content and knowledge and create new combinations of knowledge,
experience, and performance that can command market premiums from users. As
revenue streams are readjusted, enterprises will need to aggressively open
new marketplaces for their knowledge. Communities of practice will become
the dominant organizational form for creating and stewarding knowledge,
spawning new mechanisms for creating insights and synthesis.
- In the process of these cycles of reinvention, enterprises will reinvent
their knowledge ecosystems-infrastructures, processes, competencies, and
10 Ways to Accelerate Your Readiness for e-Knowledge
- Engage the enterprise on the subject of e-knowledge.
Use storytelling to explore how individuals already experience knowledge.
Mobilize energies from grassroots to CEO and Board.
- Develop a knowledge strategy for the enterprise that brings into
- management of the
enterprise's knowledge assets
- the enterprise's business plan to achieve mission and
- Support a wide variety of knowledge management and community of practice
pilots throughout the enterprise. Enable different expeditions and multiple
trajectories, operating in parallel.
- Scan the environment for examples of changing best practices, business
models, and strategies; collect competitive intelligence on market leaders
and innovators both from inside and outside the industry. Energetically
benchmark e-knowledge practices.
- Establish reducing the cost of knowledge sharing as an important
enterprise goal. Begin to put in place the infrastructures, policies,
processes, and mechanisms to achieve that goal.
- Take a "Value on Investment" (VOI) perspective to planning form your
organization's ICT infrastructure and knowledge ecology. Develop visions,
plans, and strategies for your Enterprise Applications Infrastructure and
Solutions (EAIS), shaped by VOI and guided by perspectives on potential
e-knowledge jump shifts.
- Focus on key elements of Enterprise Applications Infrastructure and
- Web site and portal capabilities to create the
- fusion of mission-central applications
- progressive implementation of Web services
- wireless initiatives and mobile work/learning pilots.
- Initiate change in the enterprise knowledge ecology:
- process reinvention and innovations
- change the knowledge culture
- elevate the understanding of knowledge flows, communities of practice,
and knowledge as social interactions
- make the enhancement of individual and enterprise e-knowledge
capabilities an organizational priority for human resource development.
- Monitor the latest developments in standards and processes for knowledge
sharing. Translate into clear explanations and stories about the
implications of e-knowledge standards for the enterprise.
- Develop policies, protocols, and infrastructures for knowledge asset
management and external knowledge sharing. Participate in internal and
external e-knowledge sharing to acquire experience and develop and hone
Norris, D., Mason, J., & Lefrere, P. (2003). Transforming
e-knowledge: A revolution in the sharing of knowledge. (The National Center
for Education Statistics. (2003). Ann Arbor, MI: Society for College and
Submitted by R.M. Johnson, May 2004. This is a report summary and
excerpts are quoted directly from the text.
Iowa State was the first chartered land-grant institution.