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Are We Knowledge Building or Knowledge Talking? Adaptive Learning Practices Transforming KM

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Are We Knowledge Building or Knowledge Talking? Adaptive Learning Practices Transforming KM

Mar 29, 2023   |  By
KMI Guest Blogger Michael Sequeira

In my last blog on CX Strategy I spoke about designing an experiential KM system.  I touched upon aspects of Design Thinking to pay attention to customer feedback and reverse engineer the experience you want to deliver to your community of users. Building on this approach we spoke about using Creative KM aspects and building a team of KM professionals passionate with a customer experience mindset who engage at all levels through champion networks to ensure KM is engrained in all we do. Then where is the problem? 

Today, most KM systems are text based and don’t promote interactive learning and while rich textual content is curated we ourselves fall folly to not engaging in understanding learning practices that help in improving our cognitive abilities to how knowledge flow can transform KM.                                                     










Let’s look at the below graphic and relate to what comes to mind when we consider our senses and apply the same to Learning. You clearly can see that as humans we assimilate better with a mix of both hearing and seeing and one great example of success could be social platform and how video based learning is becoming a part of our lives.  In this blog I share some new Learning Practices that can help us hone our own learning styles and transform KM through engaging our audience.









Let us explore a few concepts and techniques that we can explore to improve our craft.

Practice Reflective Learning

Reflective Learning involves actively monitoring and assessing your knowledge, abilities and performance during the learning process.

Let’s begin with some questions that we could ask such as:

  • Which part of the KM system do you find difficult to use and what are some of the ways we could improve this experience?
  • Describe critical situations where you mostly use the KM system and consider it trustworthy over other sources they engage with?
  • How enjoyable do they find the experience including the softer aspects such as engaging with champions?
  • What are some ways in which you could contribute to the knowledge-base for showcasing their abilities better?

Now imagine you run this workshop for 25 sales leaders and through their reflective learning feedback you understand how tacit knowledge that they have gained through client conversations an actually help you visualize how to better improve your KM processes. So the obvious question is what it would lead us to. It would help us better engage in designing better experiential KM without the bias of relating KM to only a systemic approach and reporting metrics based on annual survey feedback of how users are visiting the platform.

Are you Knowledge-Telling or Knowledge-Building

If you ask leaders to engage in how Knowledge Management is enabling their business they suffer from the Knowledge-Telling bias where they depend on their instincts rather than Reflective Learning and helping us better engage with how we can serve better their teams. Knowledge-Building bias on the other hand is what KM Leaders and teams suffer from where we believe that Knowledge Sharing is enabling individuals to better learn as we are providing them with a readily available source of content that is curated by experts and delivered with a powerful search on their fingertips.

So how do we promote knowledge-building and make it a rewarding experience. It is through better engaging in sharing what we known with what we can learn from the larger community and one great example is through the activities listed in the cheat sheet below. There could be more we are familiar as it’s our own individual learning methods that we are sharing for engaging our teams.


So does Knowledge-Building help with promoting KM. It helps Knowledge flow and improves on introducing us to our own biases. It helps improve how we assist others to better Collaborate through encouraging leaders to talk more about Declarative KM Practices and help their teams Know-Why they are KM advocates and build trust to foster Collaboration through CoPs and beyond.









In-time we can also see how KM is promoted with a mix of both knowledge-building where we see more champions engage in enabling others to better adopt KM practices and a mix of reflecting learning with leaders. This helps us move beyond just the larger community applying KM to realizing its benefits, acknowledging how it helps them advance / grow in their roles / responsibilities and contribute as business partners.

What is Protégé Learning on transforming KM

Its incidental that in designing the KM strategy it’s never about measuring how much the KM team is learning because of the focus on improved knowledge sharing practices.

The ideal state for measuring KM adoption is to setup expert communities and facilitate learning. In the practical sense it is more around enabling Connections and enabling knowledge flow. Imagine a consulting firm that has critical knowledge and experts have no time to engage in social exchange and enabling authenticity of sharing information so how does learning thrive. The answer is the CoPs are marked In-active and the leaders fail to acknowledge that it’s missing a good Community Manager who is passionate about enabling Conversations through engaging in Protégé Learning.

The protégé effect is a psychological phenomenon which helps a person to learn from information through teaching.  This has two forms Incidental where we facilitate knowledge sharing sessions and engage on researched topics around key themes to engage audiences. This could be webinars, knowledge talks or even podcasts. Contrary to this predictable approach there could be Intentional learning where we summarize a good pack of thought leadership articles and curate the content and share it in a newsletter to engage audiences to form better Connections and circle back to the CoP and enable knowledge-flow. 


In this article we learned about the difference between Knowledge Talking and how we can enable leaders to practice Knowledge Building. Through understanding our own biases and engaging with the larger community in Reflective Learning we understand more on the Ideal versus Expected state of Design of Knowledge Management and how we should not limit to just systemic processes and measure metrics around adoption.  In moving beyond Content and building a rewarding experience we discussed the importance of Protégé Learning and how we can engage in both incidentally and intentionally styles of engagement for enabling our broader teams to form Connections and Collaborate. Finally we learn better by teaching others and we as professionals are called to practice Interleaving and develop mastery of our existing abilities to become better Curators.

Disclaimer: These are purely my own views and experiences as a seasoned KM practitioner in driving employee engagement and operationalizing the KM strategy through helping employees Connect & Collaborate.

About the Author: Michael Sequeira is an independent consultant who is passionate about helping organizations discover how KM can be a key differentiator for their business, teams, and clients. If you would like to learn more about his background and get-in-touch you can connect with him on LinkedIn

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