Enriching Representations of Work to Support Organisational Learning

Within KMi, we are building on our existing technologies supporting web-based collaboration, agents, and knowledge modelling, to develop tools and methodologies for integrating working and learning within knowledge-intensive organisations. Our approach is aimed at the following objectives:

* Supporting individuals and groups to continually reflect on and improve their work practices.

* Supporting distributed groups to share best practices and improve their coordination efforts.

* Promoting the establishment of `virtual centres of excellence' by bringing people with relevant expertise together across time and geography. These serve to identify core competencies and nurture their further development.

These objectives can be realised by viewing organisational learning as a process by which knowledge that is created during working is incrementally captured, structured, and maintained. This knowledge can then be accessed or delivered when needed to inform individual and group work tasks. Our approach integrates the full spectrum of learning needs - individual, group, and organisational - and is informed by the extensive experience of The Open University in distance education and open learning.

In the ENRICH project, we help organisations to realise these objectives by providing tools and methodologies facilitating the cost-effective construction, and sustained use, of knowledge-enriched intranets. Specifically, our tools and methodologies are being trialed by industrial partners in three pilots within ENRICH:

(1) The Team Workbook - Fostering best practices through the intertwined teaching and use of planning methodologies such as Total Quality Management (British Aerospace)

(2) The Experience Archive - Assisting the sales force and engineers to share expertise through enriched product documentation archives (TecInno)

(3) The ProGroup Electronic Manual - Supporting wide area organisational learning using a proactive electronic group manual to integrate multiple group memories (German National AI Institute)

ENRICH is a 1 million ECU project funded by the EU ESPRIT Programme: IT in Learning and Training in Industry for 1998 - 2000. The Project Partners are: The Knowledge Media Institute (UK), Technical University of Kosice (Slovakia), British Aerospace (UK), German Research Centre for AI (DE), and TecInno (DE).

ENRICH Team at KMi: Zdenek Zdrahal (z.zdrahal@open.ac.uk, Project Manager),John Domingue (j.b.domingue@open.ac.uk), Paul Mulholland (P.Mulholland@open.ac.uk), Marek Hatala (m.hatala@open.ac.uk)

Associated Articles

Knowledge Media Institute
The Open University, U.K.