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Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Café's: A Case Study in Higher Education
ECKM 2022 : 23rd European Conference on Knowledge Management
Swansea University Authors: Desireé Cranfield , Sue Evans, Ellen Spender
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Higher Education Institutions are knowledge intensive institutions. Academics are considered knowledge workers within a knowledge society, with a remit to create and transfer knowledge to their students, as well as to distribute and share the knowledge created from research undertaken. These forms o...
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Higher Education Institutions are knowledge intensive institutions. Academics are considered knowledge workers within a knowledge society, with a remit to create and transfer knowledge to their students, as well as to distribute and share the knowledge created from research undertaken. These forms of knowledge sharing within Higher Education Institutions happen as part of the role of an educator and an academic. Knowledge sharing between academics is not as commonplace as sharing explicit knowledge. The academic culture within Higher Education can be quite hierarchical, competitive, and individualistic, where the focus for career advancement is on research and publishing, although a renewed focus on teaching quality, is also a performance measurement tool. For new and relatively new staff, the academic context can be perceived as highly individualised, and self‐directed. Most newcomers to academia initially operate not being aware of the complexity of its rules of interaction. There are several barriers to knowledge sharing at a personal level within this context. Given these challenges, it is important for new academics, as well as seasoned academics in the United Kingdom context, to understand the value of sharing practices through informal conversations, which inspired this project. As a funded project titled, “Improving student engagement and satisfaction by sharing best practices”, the project had a three-fold set of objectives: 1). To undertake initial research to understand knowledge sharing practices at Higher Education institutions, 2). To provide opportunities for knowledge sharing via the implementation of three Knowledge Cafés, and 3). To disseminate research and lessons learnt around the sharing of teaching best practices. This case study presents one of the three arms of the project, which is the implementation of the Knowledge Cafés within a Higher Education Institution, at Swansea University. The impact of the radical shift from a face-to-face environment to a virtual space, the perception of the personal value of the Knowledge Cafés, and how it was experienced by the Desireé J Cranfield et al30participants, is explored. The idea of the knowledge café progressed and further developed into special sessions being delivered at two international conferences: 1) The 14th Annual International Conference of Education, Research, and Innovation 2021 (virtual), and 2) The 14th Annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (face-to-face, Spain). Initial surveys conducted of the Knowledge Cafés suggests that these opportunities to informally have conversations around teaching best practice and their experience of online teaching was valued, and its benefits understood. Several determinants for the success of knowledge sharing, within this context, are revealed.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences