A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge  
TABLE OF CONTENTS     Paths to the e-Knowledge Future
© SCUP 2003
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The e-Knowledge Imperative


Chapter 3

Paths to the
e-Knowledge Future

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The Knowledge Economy requires a new relationship between e-learning and knowledge management. They must not just be integrated, but fused, losing their distinct identities. In the process, their capabilities must improve dramatically.

e-Learning in the
Knowledge Economy

e-Learning is the use of networked ICT to extend, enhance and enrich every learning activity. In the process, both access to knowledge and patterns of interactivity can be revolutionized.

In the future, the term e-learning
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.


The potential enrichment provided by e-learning occurs in several ways, including:

  • access to searchable repositories of online resources—text, simulations, syntheses of great questions and answers, important elements of tradecraft, and insights from communities of practice;
  • new, richer means and patterns of interactivity between and among learners, faculty, mentors and other experts; the metaphor for distance learning is program delivery, while the metaphor for e-learning is interactivity;
  • genuinely new learning experiences based on the combination of physical and virtual resources and interactivity (so-called “blended learning”);
  • deep learning experiences that develop conditionalized and contextualized knowledge and the ability to reflect on one’s level of understanding, through communities of inquiry and/or communities of practice; and
  • use of knowledge management tools to capture explicit and tacit knowledge, bring just-in-time knowledge into learning experiences, add value to learning experiences, and increase the efficiency/ reduce the cost of learning content.

Put simply, tomorrow’s successful learning enterprises will use e-knowledge to add value to learning activities, create new experiences for learners, enhance the efficiency of learning and content aggregation, and reduce the unit costs of learning content and interactivity.

As Van B. Weigel points out, e-learning uses the unique capability of the Internet to extend the reach (number of learners reached) and the richness (quality, depth, and scope) of learning.

Technology should enrich the experience of learning. e-Learning technologies may save some costs and add a measure of convenience, but if they do not deepen the learning experiences of students, they are not worth much.

Van B. Weigel, 2002

e-Learning will create a new range of learning experiences that will be fused with work, discovery, recreation, commerce, contemplation, and other activities. The new e-learning enterprise will develop (and require) new practices and standards for learning content, scalable models for learningware, and reinvention of traditional models for classroom and distance learning. The first wave of these reinventions is underway today.


Will e-learning change everything? No, not literally. Some of the patterns and cadences of traditional learning experiences will continue in some settings, although with greater efficiency and with some new experiences for traditional learners. But e-knowledge will enable truly new experiences in deploying and repurposing information and knowledge resources in learning, application, and enterprise decision making. It will also facilitate new kinds of interactivity through which personalized knowledge and insight can be shared and developed.

e-Learning will lose its identity
as a distinct, 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.


Changing the Elements of Learning. The imperatives of the Knowledge and Service Economy are changing all of the elements of learning. The core change in learning in the Knowledge and Service Economy is that learning is tied directly, immediately, and explicitly to the performance of individuals, teams, communities of practice, and the enterprise. Knowledge Age learning is driven by performance enhancement and immediate contribution to the organization’s bottom line. This is a profound change from the traditional vision of learning as a developer of human capital.


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