Knowledge Management and Higher Education
- An Interdependent Perspective


Vijit Chaturvedi
Asst. Professor
Lingaya's University


Defining Knowledge

Knowledge is like light. Weightless and intangible, it can easily travel the world, enlightening the lives of people everywhere. Yet billions of people still live in poverty unnecessarilyKnowledge Management is a system to facilitate learning, innovation and sharing to achieve the strategic objectives of an organization.

* Knowledge is justified true belief. Ayer, A.J. (1956). The Problem of Knowledge.

* Knowledge is a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experience and information. It originates and is applied in the minds of knower. In organizations it often becomes embedded not only in documents or repositories but also in organizational processes, practices and norms.

* Knowledge is information in action. (O'Dell C. & Grayson Jr., C.J. (1998). If only we knew what we know.


Explicit knowledge

* Formal or codified
* Documents: reports, policy manuals, white papers, standard procedures
* Databases
* Books, magazines, journals (library)

Implicit (Tacit) knowledge

* Informal and unmodified
* Values,  perspectives & culture
* Knowledge in heads
* Memories of staff, suppliers and vendors

Other Features of Type of Knowledge

Explicit knowledge is:

* Packaged
* Easily codified
* Communicable
* Transferable

Role of knowledge management in education

There is no one-size-fits-all way to effectively tap a firm's intellectual capital. To create value, companies must focus on how knowledge is used to build critical capabilities. Much of the problem with knowledge management today lies in the way the subject has been approached by vendors and the press. Knowledge management is still a relatively young field, with new concepts emerging constantly. Often, it is portrayed simplistically; discussions typically revolve around blanket principles that are intended to work across the organization. For example, companies are urged to emulate knowledge-management leaders such as British Petroleum and Skandia. And most knowledge-management initiatives have focused almost entirely on changes in tools and technologies, such as intranets and Lotus Notes.

Effective knowledge management requires a combination of many organizational elements—technology, human resource practices, organizational structure and culture—in order to ensure that the right knowledge is brought to bear at the right time.

The concepts of knowledge management (KM) applicable to colleges and universities the higher education sector should be replete with examples of institutions that leverage knowledge to spur innovation, improve customer service, or achieve operational excellence? However, although some examples exist, they are the exception rather than the rule.

Knowledge management is a new field, and experiments are just beginning in higher education. We believe there is tremendous value to higher education institutions that develop initiatives to share knowledge to achieve business objectives. Colleges and universities have significant opportunities to apply knowledge management practices to support every part of their mission KM in education is  a strategy to enable people to develop a set of practices to create, capture, share & use knowledge to advance..


Knowledge management is the process of transforming information and intellectual assets into enduring value. It connects people with the knowledge that they need to take action, when they need it. In the corporate sector, managing knowledge is considered key to achieving breakthrough competitive advantage. But what is knowledge? Knowledge starts as data—raw facts and numbers for example, the market value of an institution's endowment.

Information is data put into context. Information is readily captured in documents or in databases; even large amounts are fairly easy to retrieve with modern information technology systems.

Before acting on information, however, we need to take one more step. Only when information is combined with experience and judgment does it become knowledge.

Knowledge can be highly subjective and hard to codify. It includes the insight and wisdom of employees. It may be shared through emailed" best practices" memos or even sticky notes on a cubicle wall. And once we have knowledge, we can put it to work and apply it to decision making. A popular framework for thinking about knowledge proposes two main types of knowledge: explicit and tacit ). Explicit knowledge is document information that can facilitate action. It can be expressed in formal, shared language. Examples include formulas, equations, rules, and best practices.

Most business actions require the guidance of both explicit and tacit knowledge. Knowledge originates in individuals, but it is embodied in teams and organizations,. In an organization, examples of explicit knowledge are strategies, methodologies, processes, patents, products, and services.

Examples of tacit knowledge in an organizational context are skills and competencies, experiences, relationships within and outside the organization, individual beliefs and values, and ideas. Knowledge also is embedded in work processes, and it exists in all core functions of an organization as well as in its systems and infrastructure. Effective knowledge management programs identify and leverage the know-how embedded in work, with a focus on how it will be applied. The challenge in knowledge management is to make the right knowledge available to the right people at the right time.


1) Web Portals. -  Corporate portals also, allows users to customize their desktops to show information from a variety of sources within the organization (and usually from outside the firewall as well). Some universities are already making use of the corporate portal concept. For example, one major state university system is developing Web-based portals to deliver integrated services previously addressed in a much disaggregated fashion.

2) E-Business as a tool

The trend toward portals as the technology tool of choice for knowledge leads to another trend: the convergence of knowledge management and e-business. One reason for this trend is that the Web-based technologies that support e business are now being applied to support KM (and vice versa).

A more powerful reason is that both disciplines are about creating conversations, sharing knowledge, and building communities. Knowledge management has been about breaking down barriers within the organization, and e-business has been about breaking down barriers between the organization and its customers.

3) Electronic enabled methods for effective pedagogy and time management

With the progression in use of Electronic Based methods this teaching cum training has become easier. A few techniques can be utilized to make learning more participative, goal-oriented, interesting and driving towards making innovative bent of mind.

a) Utility of
Technologies – Today the use of course management portals such as  PDAs, wireless technology and web services are being used to create virtual communities  it helps in making the learning more interactive and consistent .

b) Use of digital education & distance learning Use of problem based learning and case study approach has been a leading candidate for integrating technology tools for scholarship and research. A strong community of practice is critical for building collaboration between faculty in universities that may be separated by space, but connected using networks that can be leveraged to extend programs, and provide faculty partnerships and foster student scholarship.

c) Use of portals in providing better education – The basic purpose of  Educational  Portals are to give an additional benefit of learning for academics and  administrative resources .In this with the help of a  personal interface any institutional internal  interface gets connected with campus  resources .Although for the success of this  well updated institutional directories , single sign-on procedures, aggregation, organization, and delivery of information from multiple sources are needed , and it is made available to faculty , staff and students .. 

d) Other useful tool to reduce administrative time includes use of course management tool   such as Electronic performance support system (EPSS) , l\earning content management system ( LCMS) , Learning management system (LMS) that includes features such as automatic registration of students within the course environment, web input of course materials, calendaring, online quizzes, grade book, course statistics, digital drop box, discussion groups, chat etc. The user interface is web-based, easy to use and benefits students and instructors by offering course development and delivery, content management and learning information capabilities as well as administrative environment in an easy-to-navigate seamless environment


1) Application and Benefits of KM for the Curriculum Development Process

* Enhanced quality of curriculum and programs by identifying and leveraging best practices and monitoring outcomes.
* Improved speed of curriculum revision and updating.
* Enhanced faculty development efforts, especially for new faculty.
* Improved administrative services related to teaching and learning with technology..

2) Application and Benefits of KM for Student and Alumni Services

* Improved services for students.
* Improved service capability of faculty and staff.
* Improved services for alumni and other external constituents.
* Improved effectiveness and efficiency of advising efforts (to integrate fragmented efforts currently undertaken by faculty, academic support staff, student services staff, and student affairs staff.


Thus, it is very evident that Knowledge which is  a never ending process  if properly identified , designed , managed and implemented in a effective and planned way results into quick attainment of results , better resource utilization and  better detainment of intellectual capital .Education whose basic underlying purpose is to make people aware of concepts , skills and  competencies  when KM strategy is properly applies it helps in   enhancing the in build competitiveness  and transforming the  budding managers into effective leaders .


[1] Pooya Rasooli ,"Knowledfe Management in call centres" .

[2] Malhotra Yogesh ,"Integrating KM technologies in organization business process : getting real time enterprise to deliver real business performance ".

[3] Hackett B. , Beyond Knowledge Management: New Ways to Work (New York: The Conference Board, March 2000).

[4] T. M. Koulopoulos and C. Frappaolo, Smart Things to Know about Knowledge Management (Dover, NH: Capstone US, 1999); M. Polanyi, The Tacit Dimension (London: Routledge & K. Paul, 1967

[5] T. M. Koulopoulos and C. Frappaolo, Smart Things to Know about Knowledge Management (Dover, NH: Capstone US, 1999); M. Polanyi, The Tacit Dimension (London: Routledge & K. Paul, 1967

Vijit Chaturvedi
Asst. Professor
Lingaya's University

Source: E-mail May 2, 2010


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