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Does digital learning negatively impact knowledge management?

Knowledge Management in times of digital learning

A recent paper published by Strunga (2015) is based on the premise that participation in virtual communities can provide students with many advantages such as permanent access to information, high educational performance and increased creativity but only if they are integrated into a comprehensive knowledge management model.

For organizations, this suggests that communities of practices cannot operate only a physical terrain. They need to shift towards a more digital realm in order to collaborate, co-create and connect with members. As companies continue grow and turn borderless, a wise decision is to provide workers with online tools where they can search for information, collect advise from other members and even carry out their work completely online. Strunga´s affirmation suggests that leveraging virtual communities will help achieve greater levels of efficiency in terms of learning so it seems that companies around the globe are taking a wise and natural decision when they opt to develop virtual learning spaces.

Norman and Furnes (2015) carried out a field study in order to compare metacognitive accuracy for text reading across media.  They included different variables in order to determine whether digital learning was any different to learning on traditional media (books, text) taking into consideration aspects such as memory recognition.  Their study concluded that no systematic differences are found, as opposed to other studies conducted by Ackerman and Goldsmith (2011) and Ackerman and Lauterman (2012).

Although previous research has demonstrated that the experience of reading digital material is not equivalent to reading textbooks and that gen y still prefers print-text (Woody, Daniel, and Baker, 2010) it is my point of view that it does not affect overall learning performance and I find that the research conducted by Norman and Furnes can help us to comprehend the effects of online learning.

For Knowledge Management this means that we can depend on IT solutions as long as they are integrated with an efficient knowledge management model, a conclusion which is sustained by Strunga´s findings.  Although recent publications have suggested that knowledge management models are not achieving expected results (for example- forget knowledge and start improving your knowledge capability) no in depth corroboration or studies have been undertaken in order to understand how knowledge management is being deployed or if its been confused with information management or information management systems.  Also, there is no evidence  that  an approved Knowledge Management assessment tool has been used. Thus conclusions are based on the assumption that companies thoroughly understand what knowledge management means.

Technology will continue to influence the way we learn and for Knowledge Management this means that we must continue to explore the multiple possibilities that digital learning can provide us. it also needs to remain in sufficient command of the strategy so that it can align objectives to the desired outcomes.  It is recommended that organizations value the progress being made by incorporating learning technologies considering past participation and metacognitive results.


ACKERMAN, R. & GOLDSMITH, M. (2011). Metacognitive regulation of text learning: On screen versus paper. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 17 (1), 18-32.

ACKERMAN, R. & LAUTERMAN, T. (2012). Taking reading comprehensions exams on screen or paper? A metacognitive analysis of learning texts under time pressure. Computers in Human Behavior, 28 (5), 1816-1828.

STRUNGA, A. (2015). The Integration of virtual learning communities into universities knowledge management models. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 197, 2430-2434.

NORMAN, E & FURNES, B. (2015). The relationship between metacognitive experiences and learning: is there a difference between digital and non-digital study media?.  Computers in Human Behavior, 54, 301-309.

WOODY, W. D, DANIEL, D. B., & BAKER, C. A. (2010). E-books or textbooks: students prefer textbooks. Computers Education, 55 (3), 945948.

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