Organizational learning, tacit information and e-learning: A review
Falconer, L. (2006) Organizational learning, tacit information and e-learning: A review. The Learning Organisation, 13 (2). pp. 117-129. ISSN 0969-6474
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09696470610645476
Purpose: This paper introduces and develops the argument that e-learning technologies and techniques can play a pivotal role in encouraging and facilitating organizational learning, by transforming tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge and diffusing it throughout the organization. Approach: By synthesising the evidence in organizational learning, information technology (IT) and e-learning research domains, this paper challenges the assertion that tacit information cannot be effectively transformed or diffused by technological means. The notion of organizational learning is examined, particularly in relation to the applicability or otherwise of anthropomorphic models. The cyclic nature of individual and organizational learning models is then discussed and a synthesised construct is offered. The importance of tacit knowledge expression and transfer in this cyclic model is examined, and the role of IT and e-learning techniques is considered as a means of encouraging tacit knowledge transformation and flow. Findings: Topics of reflection, independence, creation of “safe” learning spaces and the importance of collaboration in learning are demonstrated as being some of the most synergistic issues. These are under-researched topics, though. There is significant potential for effective collaborative research amongst the organizational learning, IT and e-learning pedagogy research communities, addressing issues such as the effective extraction and communication of tacit knowledge. Originality/value: This originality and value of this paper lies in the synthesis of evidence from research and practice domains that have traditionally been disparate, demonstrating that the information technology and e-learning pedagogy fields can offer effective means of enhancing organizational learning.