Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 8, No. 2 (2011)

Reciprocal and complementary knowledge conversion in a work integrated learning collaboration

Ashley Holmes, School of Creative and Performing Arts, CQUniversity Australia


Avoiding participation in debate on Daniel Pink’s left brain/right brain assertions especially in relation to what Pink appears to believe are paradigmatic sociocultural shifts (an account that this author finds grounds for argument but does not wish to take them up in this forum), this paper instead focuses on the importance of story and synthesis in knowledge creation and transfer. This is a reflective discussion paper that uses a well-known theory to analyse the processes of knowledge conversion (Nonaka and von Krogh 2009) in the case of a team-based work integrated learning project involving an educational institution (the contractor) and an industry partner (the client). Advanced level undergraduate student teams on behalf of the contractor were involved in the development of interactive multimedia plant maintenance training manuals for the client. A synthesis of media modalities afforded by the interactive multimedia artefacts helped overcome a knowledge conversion risk identified in the client’s workplace. The opportunity for students to authentically apply skills that had hitherto been developed only in the context of learning outcomes and course assessment, helped overcome educational risks identified as gaps between graduate and employer expectations. The client and contractor scenarios are characterised as reciprocal and complementary examples of knowledge transfer: one, converting knowledge held by experienced professionals from the tacit to the explicit; and the other, introducing an experiential or tacit dimension to a mostly explicit formal learning framework A review of literature is conducted in search of evidence regarding efficacy of knowledge conversion using video and digital media with the conclusion that this is a field ripe for original research.

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