Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The LaaN Perspective

The Learning as a Network (LaaN) view is built upon four premises:

- Knowledge and learning are two sides of the same coin.

- Knowledge and learning are fundamentally social in nature.

- Knowledge is in the network, or even more knowledge is the network.

- Learning is a matter of knowledge networking across knowledge ecologies.

The LaaN perspective views learning as the networking of knowledge nodes. A distinction that is often cited in the literature is made between explicit and tacit knowledge. Explicit knowledge (or information) is systematic knowledge that is easily codified in formal language and objective. In contrast, tacit knowledge is hard to formalize, difficult to communicate and subjective (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995). Consequently, we have two types of knowledge nodes:

- Explicit knowledge nodes are different explicit knowledge assets available in a variety of forms such as texts, images, sounds, videos and captured in distributed information repositories such as blogs, wikis, pod/vodcasts etc.

- Tacit knowledge nodes are people performing in diverse, frequently overlapping social domains.

Learning is the networking of explicit/tacit knowledge nodes. What we are trying to do all the time is either to pull together explicit knowledge from more than one source, reflect, detect patterns, remix and assemble it to form a new explicit knowledge asset or to expand our personal social networks by connecting to different social domains to create and share tacit knowledge in a collaborative way, through participation, dialogue, discussion, observation, and imitation.

Within a LaaN perspective, everyone is treated as a knowledge networker, one who has the ability to:

- Create, harness, nurture, maintain, and extend her personal knowledge network.

- Identify connections, recognize patterns, and make sense between different knowledge nodes.

- Locate the knowledge node(s) that can help achieving better results.

- Cross boundaries, connect and collaborate.

- Navigate and learn across multiple knowledge networks.


Daan Assen said...

Interesting view, but knowledge and learning as two sides of the same coin seems weird. Knowledge is the subject and learning is the process. That will be a strange coin ;-) if you ask me.

Mohamed Amine Chatti said...


thanks for your comments.
You can see more about my thoughts on why/how learning and knowledge can be viewed as two sides of the same coin here.
What is your opinion on the same?

Mohamed Amine Chatti

Justin said...


Nice perspective.
I wanted to complement your view by specifying that social computing offers nice tools to "explicit" implicit knowledge.
Because they are not so formalised, or structured, and because they allow participation, they are very useful to replace / complement coffee machines, emails (individualistic silos) and meetings. They provide a media to sustain conversations and by doing so they actually formalise / explicit conversations. This is KM on the go. At the same time social computing help knowledge sharing and knowledge management.

Now, the end of your post makes me think of Knowledge Networks, a solution developed by PersonAll, a new start-up.