Re: Emergent Learning LO2079
Thu, 13 Jul 95 15:17:33 GMT

Replying to LO2051 --

Here are some thoughts on the database and tacit knowledge discussion.

I'm not necessarily commenting on any one response. You see, I'm afraid I
talk in stories...

Hypotethical situation:

Let's say that I assume that the "knowledge" of the fleece
inspector in checking for "quality" cannot itself be put into a database.
Let's say that I also suspect that even if it could, it might come across
as jibberish, since it is so highly personalized and context sensitive.
So, anyway, I get the fleece inspectors together and get them to *start
verbalizing their experiences,* and try to *individualize techniques* that
they all might have in common, and *encourage the sharing of knowledge as
a tradition* in order to further develop their individual tacit knowledge
base. Maybe the knowledge remains so highly tacit because they just never
bothered, or needed, to get together and talk about it. So they start
discussing: "This is what I look for when I feel the fleece." "This is
what I'm thinking about when I smell the lanolin."...

I want to create a database. Let's say not to *store* tacit
knowledge, but to *encourage the learning* of an individual's unique tacit
knowledge through *storing and sharing accounts* of technique and
experience. Reframing the role of the database. The database is there
encourage each individual to develop their own emergent learning. I'm
assuming that there is a high degree of tacit knowledge in developing
personal mastery and expertise. Something you can only learn by doing
yourself, but made alot easier if someone who has been there before helps
you out.

To make my life easier, I'll choose an example where there is a
very strong tradition of sharing oral and written accounts of technique
and experience. The game of golf.

Golf professionals and golf magazines reap huge sums of money
explaining to people techniques and experiences that the readers can only
learn by practicing and experiencing themselves. People buy and read the
magazines because, through reading about someone else's experience,
they'll have a better idea about what club to use the next time they find
themselves on a 300 yard downhill bunker shot into the trees on a left
dog-leg with a fast green and the wind against them. I doubt that there's
a soul alive who has ever played the game, who has never uttered the
question "what club did you use?"

So, the PGA and Golfer's Digest get together and come out with a
Notes-type database. The main selling point is Tips from the Pros, which
you can view by the name of the pro, golf course, golf hole, hazard type,
weather condition, club type, stance, body position, grip placement, ball
type, ad absurdum, in various combinations. Then, you can chose, for
example, iron/sand wedge/in the rain, and have a suggestion in front of
you from twelve different pros. Twelve different pros explaining the best
tee placement on the nineth at Pebble Beach. A film clip of Arnold Palmer
chipping out of a bunker, including the sound of the thwack as he hits the

The whole thing is customizable locally - local golf pros' tips
and comments on local courses, course descriptions - including photos,
greens fees, and tee times. Since this thing is for use in a corporate
setting, there's a whole a section for employee input and experiences.
The CEO explains how he managed an eagle on the fourth this past Saturday.
John in Marketing suggests that it's best to play the tenth at Glenville
short of the water in order to avoid the trap on left of the green.
Someone else comments that lack of rain has caused burning on the greens
at Sunnydale. Singles can find partners or a threesome for next
Thursday's tournament. Susan in Sales has posted that her electric golf
cart is up for sale. All clients and suppliers who have dial up access to
the company server, engage in inter-company competitions, set up directly
through the program. You've also got the official PGA golf rules, by
individual category, just in case. And, of course, there's a text search,
if you'd rather.

So, I guess, ya, the point is that this database is doing nothing
*with* this information. However, it's acting as a pretty good *conduit*
for encouraging individual learning and experience. Those who participate
have a better chance of being better informed, better golfers, and might
even meet a few new people and have a good time along the way. Maybe
they'll even find the time to get some work done and feel better about
their company too. I find this potential dynamic exciting.

By the way, this is not a marketing promotion. I don't sell this
stuff. However, if this thing ever hits the market, will someone please
tell them where to send my royalty check????

	Jackie Mullen