Learning As An Integrative Role For Knowledge Creation Education Essay

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Knowledge management plays an important role to increase company performance. Although widely recognized importance of knowledge, there is relatively little understanding about an integrative role of learning in knowledge creation. In this paper, we propose to integrate learning in the knowledge creation process which has not been fully articulated before in the previous study. The aim of the paper is to examine the connection between learning and knowledge creation in an attempt to promote knowledge creation. Further, this paper will contribute to propose the conceptual connection between learning and knowledge creation as a basis for future research. Hence, employers can understand their concepts in an attempt to create a new knowledge for organizations and employee's benefits.


In knowledge-based economy, knowledge management becomes a very important concept to ensured business running smoothly and successfully. Participation in knowledge creation and utilization provided rewards to firms and ensured that they are able to manage the knowledge to increase company performance. Knowledge management will help an organization to organize resources efficiently to achieve business target and objective (Anand and Singh, 2011). Further, knowledge management enables organizations to create, identify and renew company's knowledge and deliver the innovative products and services to the customer (Fink and Ploder, 2009; Tan and Aizzat, 2010). An organization with knowledge management oriented which integrated knowledge and learning among their workers tend to achieve higher KM capabilities (Ju, Li and Lee, 2006).

The socially constructed group of knowledge management views knowledge as basically linked with the social and learning process (McAdam and McCreedy, 2000). Knowledge creation is not limited to the scientific inputs, but also through interactions among individuals and their environment (social interchange). Previous studied indicated that personal experiences are key elements of knowledge creation in the organization (McAdam and Reid, 2000). The changing of individual behavior through interactions among individual or experience with environment described the learning process, and learning can be defined in terms of the knowledge creation process (Smith and Prieto, 2008). Learning will transform information into knowledge and belief and most of the knowledge is learned directly as a result of experience (Jarvis, 2006).

Learning process have a strong link with knowledge management (Smith and Prieto, 2008) and learning from previous experience is a significant source of guidance to knowledge creation. Because of that, this article seeks to understand the potential of learning in the knowledge construction process. This article will examine the current understanding of the learning theory and practice which significant to apply in the knowledge creation process. This article will begin with aim and objective and followed with a detail review of the theory and definitions of learning and KM. Next, the discussion about and integrative framework between learning and KM and finally, the conclusions are made in order to provide a suggestion for further investigation in KM field.

Aims and objective

Because of the benefits claims and the importance of KM, this paper will make discussion about the KM models, specifically in knowledge construction. It is because knowledge creation or captured are key elements or issues in knowledge management (McAdam and Reid (2000) and Hsu (2006)). In an attempt to explore and understand the knowledge construction models, this paper will investigate the learning models in an attempt to promote knowledge construction. The aim of this article is to examine the current understanding regarding knowledge construction models followed by the learning model in order to promote the knowledge creation process. Hence, employers can understand their concepts to develop and implement KM for organizations and employee's benefits.


Knowledge concept

Knowledge was created in social interactions among individuals and organizations. Information becomes knowledge when an individual interpreted it and given a context because without context, that's information does not mean anything. There are many definitions for knowledge in regard to both practitioners and academics. Nonaka et al. (2000) define knowledge as a dynamic human process of justifying personal belief, context-specific, relational and humanistic. However, Firestone and McElroy (2004) define knowledge as "a tested, evaluated and surviving structure of information that may help the living system that developed it to adapt." There are three types of knowledge: tacit knowledge, implicit knowledge and explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is knowledge that cannot be expressed which the knowledge elicitation is through observation of behavior (Anand and Singh, 2011). Tacit knowledge is highly personal and hard to formalize because it is an analogue process that requires a kind of 'simultaneous processing' (Nanoka et al., 2000). However, implicit knowledge is knowledge that can be expressed through querying and discussion with a skilled people (Anand and Singh, 2011). Then, explicit knowledge is the knowledge that has been expressed and captured in the form of text, tables, diagrams, product specifications and so on (Anand and Singh, 2011). It can be processed, transmitted and easily stored relatively (Nonaka et al., 2000).

Knowledge Management Concept

Previous research on KM indicates many definitions among researchers and practitioners. For instance, Firestone and McElroy (2004) define KM as "the set of processes that seeks to change the organization's present pattern of knowledge processing to enhance both it and its outcomes." Debowski (2006) defined KM "as the process of identifying, capturing, organizing and disseminating the intellectual assets to the organization's performance." Further, Fink and Ploder (2000) define KM as "a process of systematically manage and leveraged knowledge in an organization." Anand and Singh (2011) define KM as "the explicit and systematic management of vital knowledge and its associated processes of creating, gathering, organizing, diffusion, use and exploitation." From these definitions, its illustrate KM has a set of things involving various activities (Haslinda and Sarinah, 2009) and showed a wide spectrum of viewpoint (McAdam and McCreedy, 1999).

There are many terms of KM process that used by different researchers. However, all the terms relatively give same meaning to the KM process (Wong and Aspinwall, 2004). Fink and Ploder (2009) founded four key knowledge processes were most relevant to implement in SMEs; knowledge identification, knowledge acquisition, knowledge distribution, and knowledge preservation. Further Anand and Singh (2011) divided KM process to the four main processes: knowledge capture and creation, knowledge organization and retention, knowledge dissemination, and knowledge utilization.

Learning Concept

The learning process describes the changing of individual behavior based on interactional experience with environment. However, there are no single perspectives to show us a complete picture of human learning processes. Base on Jarvis (2004), the learning processes appear in interaction between people, and between individuals and experience. It can occur at any places such as at the workplace, community, and so on. Learning will transform information into knowledge and belief (Jarvis, 2006). Mezirow (1990) defined learning as a process to make meaning of an experience through subsequent understanding, appreciation, and action. The process of learning occurs when "an individual encounters an alternative perspective and prior habits of mind are called into question" (Cranton, 2006) and make individual's thinks about themselves and changes their world consciousness (Corley, 2008).

Learning Theories

Behaviorism learning theory

Behaviorism learning theories come from Pavlov and have been greatly influenced by BF Skinners in the past 40 years. Behaviorism studies a number of stimuli and response of the human being and animals (Jarvis, 2006) and concentrates on observable behavior (Joyce and Weil, 1996). The changing of people's behaviors and learning occurs when they involve in stimuli and response from their environments (Ormrod, 1995). Jarvis (2006) justified that permanent change in behavior as a result of experience. However, Ormrod (1995) clarified that the person's thoughts and beliefs cannot be studied except the behavior that occurs in environmental context.

Social/Cognitive learning theory

Social learning theory also called social cognitive learning theory. Bandura was developed social learning theory, which defined as socially and culturally reproductive and the ideas of reflection upon experience, cognition and emotion (Jarvis, 2006). This theory discovered one critical assumption which people can learn from observing other's behaviors and separate learning from behavior (Ormrod, 1995). Furthermore, the learning is an internal mental process which may or not be reflected in behavior change because the learning is a function of a cognitive process to direct themselves to their goals.

Constructive learning theory

Constructivists learning have become increasingly influential and represent a paradigm shift in theory of learning. Constructivism learning is the product of many thinkers such as Dewey, Piaget, and Gardner because their theories about learning, children, and the brain lead to a number of implications for teaching and learning. Constructivism learning theory is defined as a construction of new knowledge is based on a learner's experience (Koohang et. al, 2009). The constructivism proposes that knowledge is derived from a meaning-making which the learners are responsible to build their own knowledge and understanding through interpretations of their experiences.

This paper will focus to constructivists learning because of the suitability of this theory to adapt in adult learning for knowledge creation process. There are many types of learning from the constructivist perspective. However, this paper will focus to self-direct learning, experiential learning and transformative learning because these models had suitability to integrate with the knowledge creation process. These models used experiences and give independence for leaner to engage and facilitate a learning process.

Transformational Learning (TL)

Transformative learning is one of an adult learning method from the constructivist perspective. The transformative learning theory has been developed by Jack Mezirow in the late 1970s for adult learning based on theory that adults make meaning of their lives. "Make meaning means to make sense of an experience and when we make an interpretation to guide decision making, then making meaning become learning" (Mezirow, 1990). The learning becomes transformative when an individual responds to an alternative thinking of usual habit of mind through reconsidering and revising their belief systems (Cranton, 2006). TL explains the construction of new knowledge through revised interpretations of an experience (Taylor, 2008). Daily experiences in manager's job routine are rich with sources of learning (Daudelin, 1996). Further, TL is relevant to use for dynamic knowledge creation because it could lead to new knowledge (Jakubik, 2011) and become as a contingent role to facilitate learning and creating knowledge.

Personal transformation process as suggested by Mezirow's is useful to know how people learn and create knowledge. His comprised to 10 phases of the personal transformation process included; experience a significant problem, undergoing self-examination, conducting a crutial assessment of assumptions and feeling a sense of detachment from traditional social expectations, relating discontent to other's experiences, exploring options for new ways of action, building competence and self-confidence in new roles, planning a course of action, acquiring knowledge and skills to execute new action, trying new roles and assessing back and reintegrating new perspective with society (Cranton, 2006). Critical reflection is a central or key concept in transformative learning (Cranton, 1996, Karalis, 2010), and self-directed learning as a foundation of TL (Cranton, 1996).

Critical reflection

Reflection is "the process of stepping back from an experience to ponder, carefully and persistently" (Daudelin, 1996) and reflection is one of the learning processes. Reflection is a natural and familiar process because in organization, we analyzed and reflected our experiences and learning in reports, performance review, and problem solving processes (Daudelin, 1996). However, in personal lives, our reflections happen through discussion with friends, parents, spouse and counselors. TL need for critical reflection because it is related to the evaluation of experience and the transformation of perspective and frames of reference (Karalis, 2010). In addition, the most significant learning experiences in adult-hood involve critical reflection (Mezirow, 1990).

However, not all critical reflections lead to transformation because "to be transformative, reflection has to involve and lead to some fundamental change in perspective" (Cranton, 1996). Transformative happened when an individual engaging an experience from outside and turns it inside the mind to make connections with other experiences and created reflection through personal biases (Daudelin, 1996). Reflection is a key part of experiential learning because of learning from experience need us to examine and analyses that experience (Fry, Ketteridge, and Marshall, 2009). "Our natural human interest in emancipation drives us to reflect on the way we see ourselves, our history, our knowledge, and our social roles" (Cranton, 1996).

Self-directed learning (SDL)

Self-directed learning means the learner take initiative to what occurs which they will select, manage, and assess their own learning activities at any time, any places and any means according to their needs and goals (Corley, 2008). The learner's characteristics will be changed with learning situation. Cranton (1996) described self-direct learning as occurring when the learner; chooses to learn, consciously changes behavior, values, or knowledge, makes choices to how to apply, what to read, what to do and free to speak, listen, interact, and consult. So, they will take decisions about the contents, methods, resources, and evaluation of the learning according to their learning preferences.

Experiential learning

Further, experiential learning is one of the learning concepts in constructive learning. Experiential learning is defined as the process of transformation an experience to create a new knowledge (Jarvis, 2004). Experiential learning is a continuous process to amend our knowledge, ideas, beliefs and practice through our experiences (Fry, Ketteridge, and Marshall, 2009). Kolb developed experiential learning model called 'experiential learning cycle' to conceptualize experiential learning with four elements namely concrete experience, observation and reflection, formulation of abstract concept and testing implications of concept. Kolb's model believes that when the learner actively experiencing, they will be consciously reflects back on their experience from different perspective and trying to conceptualize and integrate the new ideas into logical theories and finally, the learner trying to use it in new situations.

Construction of Knowledge

The process of knowledge creation was through interactions among individual or groups in their environment. The knowledge creation process is "continuous and transcends the boundary between self and others" (Nonaka et al., 2000). Nonaka et al. (2000) provides a dynamic model of knowledge creation which they are proposed three elements for the knowledge creation consisting of SECI, ba, and knowledge asset which all these elements must interact together to form the knowledge spiral to create a new knowledge. They believe that the knowledge creation process was through the interaction between explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge which called 'knowledge conversion'. This model believes that knowledge needs a context or platform (ba) for knowledge creation which it does can happen whether through face to face or through virtual media such as e-mails, memos and mental space. Furthermore, this model needed ba as a platform for created and utilized knowledge, but it does not tie to a specific time and space for knowledge creation process.

Nevertheless, Cook and Brown (1999) argue that one form of knowledge cannot be converted into the other for knowledge conversion in SECI process. In fact, the creation of new knowledge unbound to interaction between tacit and explicit knowledge continuously but also through our interaction with others and our environment (Cook and Brown, 1999). Meanwhile, Jakubic (2011) said Nonaka's model cannot quite manage to open up and show the dynamic character, social and human dimension of knowledge creation. Moreover, this model does not have a balanced approach in the construction of knowledge which it's not shown the social interchange and learning to recognize and construct new knowledge. Instead of studied indicated that learning from previous experiences are key elements of knowledge creation and knowledge basically linked with the social and learning process.

Hence, Mc Adam and Mc Creedy (1999) showed a balanced approach in the construction of knowledge which it is not limited to the scientific inputs but also including social inputs to recognize and construct new knowledge. Scientific inputs need to factual and rational input for knowledge creation. However, a social input is not restricted to the facts but based on sense making with environment. After knowledge construction, the new knowledge will disseminate to everybody in organization through explicit program and social interchange such as communication media, workshop, forums, conferences and seminar. Further, they believe the using of knowledge as economic use in regard to organizational output and contribute to improved business performance. This model included learning as a scientific paradigm to recognize and construct a new knowledge. However, they do not show and explain the function of learning and how learning can be used to promoting knowledge creation. Further, this model cannot quite manage to open up and show the dynamic character, social and human dimension of knowledge creation (Jakubic, 2011).

In addition, Jakubik (2011) proposed the new frameworks for dynamic knowledge creation with three building concepts; learning, knowing and becoming. This framework has several similarities with Nonaka's knowledge creation theory because the interactions happen in a specific time and specific context (social, material, virtual, mental space and place) in the knowledge ecosystem. It's same with ba concept (Nonaka et al., 2000) which needed a context or platform for knowledge creation. The personal goals, objectives and thoughts will energize, motivate, and direct individual to entering and engaging in a specific context. His believed that knowledge was created through an engagement process by exploring, experiencing, acting and interacting individually or collectively. Through thinking and sense making of experiences and exploration, an individual becomes too knowing. This model showed the dynamic character, social and human dimension of knowledge creation. Instead, they do not tell us how learning takes place as guidance for knowledge creation.

Towards an integrative framework

In this section, the linking between learning and knowledge creation will be discussed. An organization may use learning to foster a knowledge creation process because there are mutual interactions between learning process and KM (Smith and Prieto, 2008). However, learning and knowledge creation process is difficult to differentiate because they are analytical distinct and appear simultaneously (Nilsen, 2010). Previous research indicated several essential principles for adult learning such as internal motivated and self-directed, experienced, goal oriented, relevancy oriented, practical and like to be respected. These principles are suitable to adapt with the constructive learning concept like TL to promote a new knowledge creation.

Further, we map out a significant link between learning and knowledge creation (Figure 1) based on foregoing discussion. We try to extent the thinking by drawing and summarizing some key concept from learning and knowledge creation literature. Further, we extend to analyze the role of learning in promoting the knowledge creation in organization.





Knowledge Management (KM) process

Learning process

Knowledge creation process



Scientific input

Social input


Figure 1: The Learning and knowledge creation process

The core of the model is about learning as a role factor in knowledge creation. The bidirectional arrows to and from learning process indicate that there is mutual interaction between learning and knowledge management. Learning and knowledge creation is dynamically related because there are no knowledge creations without engaging and experiencing in learning. So, we agree with Jakubik (2011) that learning and knowledge creation is interrelated and learning have a strong link with knowledge management (Smith and Prieto, 2008). We illustrate the construction of knowledge is not limited to the scientific inputs but also including social inputs to recognize and construct knowledge. It is regard to Cook and Brown (1999) said the creation of new knowledge is through interaction with others and environment. Further, according to McAdam and Reid (2000), the construction of knowledge included scientific and social paradigm. Scientific inputs need to factual and rational input for knowledge creation. However, a social input is not restricted to the facts but based on sense making with environment.

In this model, we showed learning and knowledge as overlapping fields in research. We place the knowledge creation process in overlap's section between learning and knowledge because learning act as the source of knowledge creation. We have mentioned in the literature that learning will transform information into knowledge (Jarvis, 2006) and become a significant source of guidance to knowledge creation. The learning processes could happen through social interaction between peoples, customers and their experiences at any place such in the workplace, community and so on. Daily job routines and experiences would be a good source of learning for knowledge creation. Learning occurred when individual engaging and experiencing to make meaning from their experiences. According to Mezirow (1990), make meaning mean to make sense of an experience to become learning and there are no knowledge creations without engagement process (Jakubik, 2011). Meanwhile, the reflection process will take place for evaluation and interpretation of an experience to transform new perspective and revising an individual belief system to create a new knowledge. According to Cranton (2006) learning become transformative when an individual revised or reflected their belief systems.

Conclusions and suggestions for future research

Knowledge management has become important due to the organization's efficiency and survival in knowledge-based economy. Through KM, organizations are enabled to create, identify and renew the company's knowledge and deploying the resources effectively in organizations. Knowledge basically linked with the social and learning process. Thus, knowledge was created in social interactions among individuals and organizations. While learning will transform information into knowledge indeed of knowledge is learned directly from an experience. Learning from previous experience is a significant source of guidance to knowledge creation. The firm that's integrated knowledge and learning in their resources tend to achieve higher capabilities to success.

This paper provides the integration of learning in the knowledge creation process by providing interrelated concepts between learning and knowledge creation. The lack of explicit connection between learning and knowledge creation that we note in literature, encountering ideas to the created other concept. We have reviewed previous research in other to understand how learning and knowledge creation can be integrated into a more meaningful conceptual model for academia and organizations. Finally, we propose the present framework as an instrument to facilitate the knowledge creation process. Main contribution in this paper is developing a model to demonstrate potential interrelationship between learning and knowledge creation. Further, we have identified learning process as a common theme underlying knowledge creation and lead to promoting new knowledge.

There are some practical implications from our analysis, and the model proposed. First, is the need to understand the complex relationship between learning and knowledge creation, and the role of learning to always contribute in knowledge creation. Second, is the need to adopt a holistic approach to incorporate both learning and knowledge creation in other to create knowledge successfully. Third, there is a need to understand the critical importance of learning process because they will contribute to appropriate knowledge in organization. Relatively few studies have provided empirical insights regarding an interrelation between learning and knowledge creation. This indicates an important direction for future research in the proposed integrative model.