Designing platforms for PD: Web 2.0 and knowledge management (Module 3, ISTE-CS 4b)

For Module 3, we were prompted to look into the “digital age best practices” part of ISTE Coaching Standard 4b – design, develop, and implement technology rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment.

I’d like to write a bonus blog for sharing something I want to say about the process I went through during this module, but for now I’ll get straight to the point. What I found during this module were a few terms that help me ask my question using words that help me find information I’m looking for. The new terms are Web 2.0 and knowledge management (KM), and my reformulated question is:

What best practices are associated with using Web 2.0 technologies and knowledge management systems for the purpose of continuing engagement in professional development through virtual communities?
Definitions

Be aware that the term “knowledge management” seems to be a business term and so I expect that the business aspect of this term may not always map directly to education. Nevertheless, the term seems very helpful to me because of the vein of information I can find by using it since there is a lot of overlap between business and education – especially when it comes to collaboration.

I’ve come to the conclusion that, in general, if you want definitions for ideas which are consistently used everywhere, you’ll probably be out of luck. And since I currently want some flexibility in the definitions, I’m going to use Wikipedia to define the terms:

Web 2.0: “A Web 2.0 website may allow users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue as creators of user-generated content in a virtual community, in contrast to the first generation of Web 1.0-era websites where people were limited to the passive viewing of content. Examples of Web 2.0 features include social networking sites and social media sites (e.g., Facebook), blogs, wikis, folksonomies (“tagging” keywords on websites and links), [and] video sharing sites (e.g., YouTube)…” (Web 2.0, n.d.).

Knowledge management: “Knowledge management is the process of creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of an organisation” (Knowledge management, n.d.).

Designing platforms for PD

During Module 1 this quarter (blog here), I read that learning management systems (LMSs) aren’t designed for professional development (PD), and we need platforms which are (Spirrison, 2016). I don’t know how true that statement is, or why Spirrison claims that, but I’ve been puzzling over it ever since and I’ve been wondering:

What makes a platform ideal for PD versus some other purpose (like running a class, for example)?

With that question in mind, a quote from a dissertation I’ve been referencing, titled Constructing Guidelines for Building Communities of Practice for Supporting Faculty Professional Development in Electronic Environments (Bond, 2013), stood out to me: “Early results indicate that both Facebook and Twitter may provide the social structures for building community, but lack infrastructure for knowledge creation and sharing” (p. 20). This sentence suggests to me that there are two big things that a platform designed for supporting PD needs to do: support social structures and support knowledge creation and sharing.

I can rewrite this claim using the new terms -> There are two big things that a platform designed for supporting PD needs to have: well-developed Web 2.0 technologies and KM technologies. I think integration of these two things is what platforms like Microsoft Teams and Slack are trying to do. Frost (2013) says that the mapping of Web 2.0 principles to KM is referred to as “KM 2.0” – another good term which would probably be valuable for me to investigate.

My experience as insight

My own experience as a graduate student suggests that what is lacking from your typical LMS is the social-structures support. I don’t think LMSs are devoid of social-structures support, but I don’t think they strongly support the social side of the equation. I’d have to think more about why, but that’s what I’m inclined to say at the moment. It could be more about the way we tend to use the tool than it is about the features and capabilities of the tool itself, and that could lead us to thoughts about best practices for using LMSs as a Web 2.0 tool, not just a KM tool.

So what I’m left with for this module are not thoughts about best digital age practices, but thoughts that put me in a better position to ask about, and search for, best digital age practices for extending PDs beyond face-to-face time.

 


References

Bond, M. A. (2013). Constructing Guidelines for Building Communities of Practice for Supporting Faculty Professional Development in Electronic Environments (Doctoral dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University).

Frost, A. (2013). Groupware Systems & KM 2.0. Retrieved from http://www.knowledge-management-tools.net/groupware.html

ISTE: International Society for Technology in Education. (2017). ISTE standards for coaches (2011). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-coaches

Knowledge management. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved Feb. 18, 2018,  from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_management

Spirrison, B. (2016). Five reasons continuous learning platforms are the future of PD [blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.gettingsmart.com/2016/12/continuous-learning-platforms-professional-development/

Web 2.0. (n.d.) In Wikipedia. Retrieved Feb. 18, 2018,  from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0

3 thoughts on “Designing platforms for PD: Web 2.0 and knowledge management (Module 3, ISTE-CS 4b)”

  1. I can tell that you are moving down a path to better understand the tools you have been investigating for online PD and PLCs. I tend to agree with your statement, “it could be more about the way we tend to use the tool than it is about the features and capabilities of the tool itself,” but I was also wondering why that might be? Finally, do you think that since 2013 when Bond said that Facebook and Twitter “lack infrastructure for knowledge creation and sharing,” that changes they may have made to their platforms might have better enabled knowledge creation and sharing? I wonder how features and usage have changed from then to now?

    1. Interesting question. My impression, as a FB user, is that FB has not changed much in ways that supports knowledge sharing and creation, with one caveat. I think what it has done is improve communication. I think the addition of gifs, stickers, reactions, and emoji have expanded the way people communicate on FB (at least for some groups of people). Then additionally, being able to upload videos into the comments has enhanced communication for some groups. Lastly, I think it was a good move to add “replies” to comments. So my caveat is that they have improved communication, and I think that inherently improves knowledge sharing and creation, but I don’t think that really captures what it means to have technology which enhances knowledge sharing and creation. And I think this connection between effective communication and KM is why the term “KM 2.0” was coined – because people see how KM and Web 2.0 communication are intertwined and deeply connected. One example for why I think KM is seriously lacking in FB is that the knowledge which people create together and share is quickly lost in an active feed and can be difficult to find again – one contributing factor to this is that the search feature can be incredibly poor; my understanding is that both of these things are also true of Reddit.

  2. As I mentioned before, Schoology is an LMS that is attempting to do what you might be looking for. My lack of experience with Schoology definitely correlates with lack of PD, but it does offer a news feed for collaboration as well as groups, and resource folders for collaboration. I’ve only seen it from a K-5 perspective, but they do offer a Higher Ed platform as well. One thought that keeps coming to mind for me though is continuous PD to support students/educators with how these platforms can assist learning, collaboration, and sharing. Without strong leadership and support, it’s too easy to be overwhelmed by new technology. I continue to look forward to following your journey and am excited to what you discover during each module.

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