JIT and Knowledge Building LO16524

Tue, 13 Jan 1998 12:00:50 -0500

Replying to LO16449 --

Thanks for all the feedback-- it's always fun to dialogue (not discuss
-thanks Jan) with others who share similar interests. I'm just going to
do a quick hit-and-run today and make quick observations on some points
that were shared on this topic.

Several people pointed out the benefits of JIT training/learning -- I
wholeheartedly agree and have used this approach myself for many years.
However, I was not really thinking about "training" when I used the term
"knowledge building", although training is certainly a vital part of this
topic. Training often conotes a more formalized and centralized process
than the processes I am trying to get a grip on. Bill Buxton hit a key
issue when he wrote:

> the real challenge for a learning organization is to foster
> non-engineered knowledge transfers. What
> would facilitate JIT knowledge
> processing without professional middle men?

Good question. That's what I keep asking. In addition, most "training",
is batch processing of knowledge, AND, it is mostly information/knowledge
transfer/dissemination, NOT "knowledge building" -- there is, IMHO, a big

Vana Prewitt talked about "peer educators" and using "structured
on-the-job training". She also wrote:

> we ask someone we know to help us out because this technique has proven
>effective in getting the right >answer quickly. Our first inclination is
>to ask an expert.

This definitely does away with Bill Buxton's "middle men" and brings the
focus of "knowledge building" into the one-on-one arena. It also moves
from a "centralized" model of learning (i.e. teacher/student in a training
scenario) to a more "distributed" model where, in its best form as
exemplified by the "peer educator", there are many many on-the-job (OJT)
learning events occuring continuously in the organization. But even OJT,
while very effective and necessary, still leaves me with a lot of
unscratched itches when it comes to building truly effective learning

Vana says our first inclination is to "ask someone we know to help us
out". She says that we naturally seek out the "expert" -- so true! This
makes me want to ask questions like, How can we just as easily ask someone
we don't know? How can we find the expert if we don't already know them?
I agree with Fred Nickols when he implies that this list (LO) is a perfect
example of at least a partial answer to these questions. Fred says that
this list is an example of a JIT "knowledge distribution capability" -- it
is indeed that, as are all discussion/collaboration forums, in whatever
form they take.

Jan Lelie gave a beautiful example of "knowledge building" (not training)
when she wrote:

> we held meetings in the coffee-corner... we had white-boards installed
>in these coffee-corners, some >times scribbled with causal-loops, and
>often interacted standing up.

I love it! You just never know where and in what form the "knowledge
building" will occur. We do, however, know that the degree to which you
can increase the number of connections between agile minds, the greater
the level of innovation and creativity (two BIG aspects of knowledge
building). Around the coffee pot, by the water cooler, in an intranet
discussion forum -- the idea is the same, increase the number of people
interacting, and increase the amount/frequency of the interactions -- this
is more of what I have in mind when I talk of JIT knowledge building as
opposed to batch processing.

Here are just a few challenges that face us in building really effective
"knowledge building" structures. I'll use Jan's "coffee-corner" as a

How do we find the expert that will help in our knowledge building quest
if they hang out at a different coffee-corner? How do we not miss that
critical "breakthrough" insight for our project that occured in the
coffee-corner, but we weren't there that day to hear it? How can our
coffee-corner benefit from crucial knowledge building generated at another
coffee-corner, in another building, last month?

I could go on, but you get the point. I am really interested in any and
all ideas on how to build structures/systems to answer these (and many
many others) questions. I've heard it said that humans only use 10
percent of their brain. I wonder what percent of our organizational
collaborative brain we actually use. How many really great "ah ha"
experienced have been missed by not being at the right coffee corner at
the right time?

isabel rimanoczy writes:
We have been using what we call "JITL" (Just-in-Time-Learning") as
to Just in Case Teaching.
....we design learning environments inside the current business scenario

Jan Lelie writes:

Fred Nickols writes:
It strikes me that these lists are exactly that, Doug, a just-in-time
(JIT) knowledge distribution capability.



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