Lesson Quality in Knowledge management
Lesson quality is a crucial component of lesson learning. Poor quality lessons just lead to Garbage-In, Garbage out.
I came across an interesting article recently entitled “Enhancing Quality of Lessons Learned” by Lo and Fong. The authors look at lessons learned and how effective they are as a mechanism for transferring knowledge, and come out with the following areas where particular attention needs to paid when recording lessons. These are
- The Meta-Knowledge – the way in which the lesson is tagged and labelled (including the organisational unit affected, the applicability, and the importance of the lesson)
- Taking into account the needs of the users/learners
- Comprehensibility and clarity of the lesson (selecting words that are unambiguous, and free of jargon)
- The validity of the reasoning behind the lesson – the “Why” behind the lesson.
The authors point particularly to the last issue, and say the following
“Since curiosity is a good motivator for learning, knowing the reasons why past practices succeeded or failed is essential for encouraging users to gain and share knowledge that contributes to organizational learning. It is argued that Lessons Learned should provide the rationales behind the lessons, fostering users’ reflection and extension of the application of lessons to other situations”.
This comes back to a point I made last week about capturing the the Why.
It also makes the point that lesson quality is important if the lesson-learned component of KM is to work well. We have worked with several organisations who include quality control steps in their lesson learned program, and for several years conducted a monthly lessons quality audit for one organisation. For others we have provided lesson quality audit as part of an overall Lesson Learning audit service.