Academic Digital Event

Knowledge Management #iblc10

University of Plymouth

Knew there was much useful knowledge across the instution but wasn’t really being shared – always being wariness about this, but now starting to realise are sharing & building upon expertise…

Decided to see if it could be done through an online system. Difficult to do if no not one central hub – needs an overview. Set up a system called “KEN” (Knowledge Exchange Network) – was initial debate about whether people could belong to communities that they don’t necessarily have a natural interest/passion for.

Each community had a community leader, to get people involved in the debates really had to start with controversial questions – needed strong community leadership to make it won’t – they WON’T just evolve!

What is a community of practiceb

  • Share an interest in a topic – understood the issues & agree on common approaches.
  • Interact & build professional relationships – help each other solve problems, etc.
  • What kept the glue together was passion for the subject and passion fro teaching & learning. Evolves & ends organically. if there’s no drive it doesn’t work.

Why CoPs?

Changing the way that knowledge is managed – rather than being top down, communities take a peer-drive approach by connecting people, knowledge, conversations! The concept of community binds them together – they felt if senior managers pushed it/involved – would have felt HAD to participate, rather than out of interest.

  • Connect individuals with peers
  • Promote collaboration
  • Promote information exchange
  • Promote the sharing of best practices.

Within KEN:

  • Knowledge objects
  • Contribution types
  • Recommend that knowledge is linked to discussions
  • Sharing information
  • Ranking & Metrics
  • Cross community links

Needed somewhere for project management tools

  • Fluid, active accesible …
  • Initial staff training (envisaged function/process, but also wanted a collaborative agreement on how were going to manage the tool); wanted a ‘Virtual Panic Button’ – immediate sharing of ideas. Automatic emailing for new materials…
  • Have access to 350 users to ask opinions of to feed into further developments.


  • Saved time & travel
  • Stored & saved centrally
  • ?

Have Learnt

  • Repository, had to keep eye on file size, etc. Will be a University repository – which will supersede it.
  • Ongoing patchy work & development space = patchy, significant burden on the Community leader.
  • Specific initiatives & projects – highly focused mission critical use.
  • Given lots of help to the department – materials, technological implementation, training & support, links to theory, leadership/numbers.
  • Will be embedded further and continue to use as a Project Management tool.
  • The system – clearly available hierarchically – including areas for Biography – personalise so get to know each other (includes links to all the groups that belong to).
  • Have an area to bring together all the Skills information for the Universities. Higher Education Study Skills Toolbox. Able to use KENm to discuss what was on there… the students wanted something ‘funky’, and they wanted it signposted by a level of study. Various levels of information linked to key outcomes desiered for study skills. Students remember the software/like it, and have an option to add another resource – can be used regardless of subject being studied.


  • Huge amount of information in KEN, how find it? Search facility & tagging
  • Is it easier to be a community leader if there’s a project to tag it around?
  • There’s no student community, but information comes through admissions & marketing focus groups.
  • Tomoyoo is the software behind KEN
  • Students liked to feel that the skills site was built for them, visually strong!