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May 07, 2004


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Kathleen Gilroy

We have been using weblogs as the "course management" system for our elearning programs this year and have had considerable success with them. We are getting much more discussion on the weblog than we had on our course discussions system (based on the ACS). I think the reason for this is that people get exposure on the weblog that they did not get on the email discussion list; therefore they are much more motivated to participate. We also have found that the weblog is better at capturing what is going on the leve of peer-to-peer than other tools we have used. In fact I think the distinction between elearning and km disappears when you re-frame them both as peer-to-peer learning and knowledge tools.

Bill Ives

Thanks for your comment and you raise excellent points. I am new to blogs and started this one as an experiment, along with another one of a very different topic. They appear to hold great promise for a number of functions and are certainly easy to use. It seems that blogs, with their extensive search functions, are designed for more exposure and distribution than dialog. While dialog is also enabled, the more public the web blog, the less likely that dialog will occur within the blog. In the case of my experiment, an unscientific sample of two by the same author, dialog has been generated but so far it has occurred more outside the blog than within it. Chat sessions, were dialog is the first priority and broad exposure, an available, but secondary function, because of the more limited search, still seems to get better dialog going within it. But then I could easily be wrong here and it may just be that people are more used to chat than blogs for dialog or I am not yet fully using the medium to its advantage in my blogs. In your examples, it seems using web blog technology for a very focused target audience around a specific task, completing a course, combines the best of both. You are driving up usage because of the exposure features of the blog yet doing it in a traditional discussion group setting which is designed to encourage dialog between group members on a common task. I also support the notion that KM and learning should be considered the same thing on many levels. I just apply the overly simple distinction that learning is what you do to prepare yourself for a task and KM is what you access while doing the task but both direct instruction and knowledge discovery should be able in both situations.

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