LearnTrends: Personal Knowledge Management

These are my live blogged notes from Harold Jarche’s LearnTrends session on Personal Knowledge Management. My side comments are in italics. Update: The recording of this session (and the rest of LearnTrends) is now available.

Sense-making with PKM

When he moved to consulting and didn’t have an IT department and those resources, he realized he had to do something different.

Idea from Will Richardson: what do you do when you read a blog post and come across an interesting few sentences? What do you do with that system?

PKM is a set of problem-solving skills for work, focused on getting things done but not necessarily task focused

Personal directed learning as well as accidental, serendipitous learning

Too much information

More important advances in the future will be our advances in dealing with information & problem solving, not in computer technology (he was quoting someone–didn’t catch who, and this is only a paraphrase)

  • Big KM = enterprise KM, lots of structure
  • Little KM = processes used by distributed teams
  • Personal KM = ad hoc, DIY, cheap/free

A PKM Method

Not the only method–not something to force people into, just one way. Basically, this is Harold’s way of dealing with the flow of info

Internal processes

  • Sort
  • Categorize
  • Make Explicit
  • Retrieve

External processes

  • Connect
  • Contribute
  • Exchange

Interesting discussion in the chat about whether if you don’t pay for services if you can trust it. I asked if that included open source tools too–basically he trusts libre tools but not gratis ones

Harold uses different tools for different purposes

  • Google Reader to pull everything in. Used to use Bloglines, accumulated lots of saved items but never looked back at them. He forces himself to not have too many interesting things in the “holding pen” at a time.
  • Delicious: what he uses to save things instead of Bloglines
  • WordPress
  • Twitter
  • Ning

Don’t worry about missing something interesting; somebody else will pick it up or you can ask someone in your network about it later. In the network, good things come back around.

Important to have a data backup plan. This is related to the trust issue–I’m more likely to trust services that let me get my data out to back it up somewhere.

Make the data searchable and shareable with others

When you bookmark on delicious, you can also see how others have tagged it

Over time, your practices change. For example, he now makes clearer blog titles so in 3 years he can find info easily, rather than being witty in his titles

If you follow dull people on Twitter, Twitter will be boring. He is collecting his “best of Twitter” in his “Friday Finds” each week. He uses favorites throughout the week and looks for patterns and groups. Makes it explicit by posting to his blog.

Other models for PKM

Different models will resonate with different people

Urs Frei: spiral model

Web Tools for Critical Thinking (Dave Pollard)

  • Observe & Study
  • Participate
  • Challenge & Evaluate
  • Tentative Opinions

People worry about putting ideas out there b/c not polished & edited, but you have to get out and participate.

It doesn’t make sense to work through this on our own–we should be sharing and working through things together

PKM is very much individualized process–we have to figure out how to make sense of things

As citizens, PKM is part of our social responsibility; we should be learning about issues together


How does PKM relate to L&D organizations?

Too much of our training has been “we’ll tell you where to get the info.” We can’t assume that we will know all of that anymore.

Social bookmarks are an easy first step–lots of people can have a purpose for this

Social bookmarking sites are less often blocked by corporate firewalls. However, getting people to use the tools is a bigger challenge than IT lockdown

Need to find ways to give people some personal control within any system. What is effective for one person may not be for another.

Difference between PKM/PLE/PLN: PKM is more work-focused

Jay Cross: we have cast the IT department as the bad guy for too long. IT is focused on an entirely different set of goals from most of us.

Virginia Yonkers observed that Harold’s tools are mostly text–someone asked about multimedia in his PKM. He takes pictures, is starting to do slides, may do YouTube in the future

8 thoughts on “LearnTrends: Personal Knowledge Management”

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  4. @Harold, Thanks! Good to have all your resources in one place.

    @Angela, I think the processes end up evolving over time. If you’re doing it right, it probably isn’t a single, static process. That said, I feel like I need to pull most things into one or two different places. Diigo ends up being the place I collect most stuff if I want to save it, so I know that’s the first place to look for resources later.

    @Randy, glad to help out.

    @Allison, one thing I’ve figured out with live blogging is that if I don’t post it right away, it probably won’t get posted at all. I don’t get back to polish and edit; it just doesn’t happen most of the time. So I have notes in Word documents that sit on my hard drive and aren’t easily searchable and no one but me sees them–not a great system. People are pretty forgiving with live blogging and understand the lack of polish. It’s better just to do it and get it out there.

    If I do have time, it’s nice to do some sort of summary or highlights from a webinar. I’ve done that a few times, and I think it’s effective both for myself and for others. I struggle to make that happen during a conference though, when I attend multiple sessions. It’s OK for a one-off webinar, but not something over several days like this. Maybe at the end of the conference I can do something pulling out a few choice bits from all the presentations I attended.

  5. Thanks for this Christy, good tips on tools and also really sparked off some thoughts on how I can be doing personal km better. As an enterprise km type, I should be really piloting the right tools to use, setting an example and sharing the results! I also appreciate that your post is detailed and effective but not necessarily polished and perfect. I think I spend too much time polishing my internal and external blog posts and will strive to do more sharing (and less preeening). 🙂

  6. KM is something I deal with everyday as an academic librarian and in my personal life. This post is a great start for helping me to tailor a KM system that works for me. I’m always asking myself “save it on the iPhone or the paper planner or an ebookmark site”? I’m still working that out.

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