Wednesday 5 October 2011

To teach is to know

Heidi teaching There is an old saying, that the best way to really know a topic is to teach it.

If you are an expert in an activity or process, you probably have in your head a set of working practices and assumptions and heuristics about how best to perform the activity or process, but it is not until you have to explain these to someone else that you have to sift through them, decide what’s really important, and actually make sense of it all.

At Knoco, we use this principle all the time in Knowledge Management.

  • Rather than asking people to write down lessons, we discuss it as a team, and decide the lessons we want to teach others based on what we have learned.
  • When those lessons are captured, we hold a knowledge handover to allow the next level of teaching, and to get the next level of detail.
  • Rather than asking retiring experts to write down their best practices, we ask them to teach a younger employee, and ask that younger employee to do the documentation.

Without that teaching step, it can be hard to get to the real, detailed and valuable knowledge

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