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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Tracking the Indicators of the e-Knowledge Economy (continued)



Chapter 3

Paths to the
e-Knowledge Future

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Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS). A new group of companies are developing sophisticated learning content management tools that enable enterprises not just to create and access flexible repositories of content, but to understand the interaction of employees and others with that content. These tools are essential to enterprises managing the content and context of learning and application. Companies developing LCMS include Centra, Docent, ePath Learning, Generation21, Global Knowledge, IBM Mindspan, WebMCQ, Knowledge Mechanics, Leading Way Knowledge Systems, Giunti, HarvestRoad, and others.

Across the world, learning management companies, institutions, and other learning enterprises are creating new breeds of learning management systems — sometimes also referred to as Managed Learning Environments (MLE). These systems provide a means for organizations to manage online learning experiences and integrate them with traditional learning offerings. The most advanced LMS track student progress and competencies. Many create communities of reflective practice. Some of these systems are proprietary, others feature open architecture compliant with emerging standards for learning content. There are over 150 proprietary LMSs currently at large in the world of learning. Many of these offerings are integrating the LMSs with enterprise portals. Companies like WebCT, Blackboard, TopClass, e-college, Granada, Prometheus, Saba, Docent, click2learn, IBM learning Space, Oracle (iLearn), and institutions like the Macquarie University, Monterrey Tech, and the Open University of the Netherlands are leaders in these ventures.

In practice, LCMS and LMS are complementary. Over time, they must be interoperable and seamlessly share metadata.


They must integrate with institutional ERP and legacy systems. They must interoperate with repositories of content not initially purposed for learning (such as news archives and digital libraries). As enterprises develop easily integrateable, interoperable applications solutions, the current distinctions between types of systems will disappear.

Learning Content Management Systems will increase in importance with the increase in e-knowledge traffic. At the same time, they will lose their distinct identity as they become a seamless part of the portalized capabilities of an organization’s infrastructure. New generations of LCMS capabilities will need to deal with the integration of just-in-time knowledge into learning, performance, and decision support.


Expert Networks and Communities of Practice. The tacit knowledge that is critical to most organizations resides in formal and informal networks. Internal enterprise networks have been greatly enhanced by the development of organizational intranets in recent years. Some have spawned genuine communities of practice. Most expert networks reside within single corporate enterprises and are strictly proprietary. On the other hand, a substantial number of formal and informal networks are affiliated with professional societies, trade associations, philanthropies, and other non-profits. They span an entire profession, industry, trade, or philanthropy, and are the foundations for emerging communities of practice offering access to a formal body of knowledge consisting of content, context, process, and tacit knowledge. The proliferation of strategic alliances, joint ventures, and other partnerships within the business world also underscores the configuring power of networks and networked know-how.


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  One of the most important tenets of e-learning is that it bridges work and learning. While the best classroom experiences bring work into the learning environment, the best e-learning brings learning into the work environment.
Marc J. Rosenberg