There’s a lot of talk out these days about social enterprise, learning management systems, content management and knowledge sharing. Consequently, there’s a lot of research and study that goes into understanding how people learn and how they learn most effectively. As we evolve as a society, technology, tools and the ways we use them change, but at the core is a practice that’s as old as time itself.
You can easily stretch your mind back to the earliest days of man and imagine the cavemen who first discovered fire or shaped a rock to create an early tool. He most reasonably then shared his skill and the benefits of his discovery with his fellow cave dwellers. Undoubtedly, systems and best practices fell into place even in the earliest of times.
Formal education is in itself, the ultimate knowledge sharing system. Before the Lyceum and Socrates and Aristotle, Plato threw open the columns to the Academy, and in 387 BC began sharing knowledge that still shapes society and democracy to this day. Not only is sharing knowledge ancient and inherent to human beings, it is arguably the most important thing we will ever do in our lifetimes.
Today there are countless ways to share and manage knowledge and finding the best practices and tools for you or your company is a process that doesn’t have to be a burden. After all, you’re using the most powerful and relevant knowledge sharing tool of modern times as we speak—the Internet, and I’ll guess that you’re as comfortable on the world wide web as you are on your sofa or driving your car. We adapt.
The systems we use today like Intranets, wikis, blogs, Google, YouTube, Yahoo!, Ask.com, Box,net, Salesforce, SharePoint and even Bloomfire, which we like to think of as the best bits of all of those, are the evolution of tools that make sense for our day and age. So while the talk and chatter about learning management and knowledge sharing will spawn new companies, new lingo and new tech, the basis for their need is as old as the hills.
Author Mark Graham Brown for Business Finance Magazine reminds us that all that is new is really old:
Knowledge management systems are not new; just the name is new. The old version of a KM system used to be called a library, and in the library were these things called books that contained vast amounts of knowledge. When someone wanted to find out something, he or she went to the library, looked up books and periodicals, and tried to find the needed information. If one had the time and interest, librarians could be asked to do a literature search and the requester could get a complete list of books and periodicals on the subject of interest. Of course, libraries still exist, but most people today want immediate gratification, so they do a Google or Wikipedia search to see if they can get a quick answer to their question.
So don’t be intimidated by this new direction of technology. It’s for the greater good and will only help streamline the process of getting knowledge from those who have it to those who need it.