Brace yourself, research on accent bias is coming

In the current issue of Human Resource Management Review (27/3) Marcello Russo, Gazi Islam and Burak Koyuncu bring our attention to a phenomenon I have written about earlier– how language, and more specifically non-native accents could affect our thoughts, feelings and actions in the workplace. Moving towards a diverse workplace often involves bringing people with diverse linguistic backgrounds together. With English as lingua franca this is not problem at all or is it?

accent bias

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Using learning myths to dig into research

This sally has a double-function. Firstly, I want to bring your attention to common learning myths and secondly, how you can use these myths to start diving into the world of research. Earlier, I wrote about evidence-based and research-based HR work and how far we have come already. I still remember how hard it was for me (especially in the beginning) to embrace research papers. They were boring and I did not understand the lengthy parts about statistics which some of them entailed. Today, I am happy that I gave it a try. Because academia contributes a lot to the field of HR. There are great reviews on all kinds of areas within HR and also researcher challenges common beliefs and reveal myths. Learning more about how to read academic research give you the critical competence to be part of the discussion when other HR professionals call their practices research-based. Learning and development is an area where many professionals claim this. Unfortunately a lot of learning myths have nourished a questionable way of learning practice at school and in the workplace. It’s time to dig deeper into this.


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The tool you use might be of minor importance for flourishing online collaboration and knowledge sharing

Researches found that group members who identify with a group and believe that knowledge acquisition is important, might compensate for technical flaws in the tool used for knowledge management and social collaborations. What are the implications at work from a study which brings back the social context to online collaboration and moves beyond the importance of good user experience for technology supporting it?


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Applying peer-feedback at work


OK. Fine for me!

Best, Tom

Does this look familiar to you? After hours of work you put into a text or a presentation you receive five words of feedback. In the numerous online courses I participated in, peer feedback was a central part of collaborative learning. I believe that the main ideas of peer feedback can be applied at work, too.

We all know that when time is short, it’s easy to send out a simple e-mail like the one above. But on the long run, both feedback giver and feedback taker benefit more from elaborated feedback. As someone giving feedback, you have to force yourself to read and understand the work you received. And as a feedback taker, everything is better than a simple „OK“. In peer-feedback processes in online courses there are sometimes very elaborated questions you have to answer and criteria you have to rate. Here are four simple but effective questions you could answer the next time somebody asks you for feedback:


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Digital Storytelling

A reflection on a course review

I found this draft when writing my latest post about E-Learning development with Adobe Captivate. It must be roughly three years old. For the published version, I kept it the way it was. All my original thoughts are highlighted as quotes, wheras my reflections are written in the usual paragraph style.

Two weeks ago I signed in for the Coursera course „Powerful Tools for Teaching and Learning: Digital Storytelling“ (University of Houston System). Usually, that would not be worth a blog post. I have signed up for so many courses, started with the first week, thought that it did not really covered the topic I wanted to know more about and then just followed the course irregularly or came back to the course pages after it has ended already.

Still today, I enroll for a lot of online and distance courses. But I have become better in deciding before enrolling if I have the resouces to complete the course. A great learning and I would say my individual completion rates have increased.

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Looking beyond the tacit vs. explicit dichotomy to improve information technology support for knowledge management

Everybody talks knowledge sharing in corporations. I never really understood what knowledge management (KM) departments were up to. So I decided to take a course in knowledge management to learn more from both a theoretical and a practical perspective. One result was the below assignment which I modified for this blog post. It summarises my thoughts about the tacit/explicit knowledge debate and about how technology can foster knowledge and information exchange in the workplace.

The main points

  • By arguing that tacit knowledge is hard to write down but most valuable, KM departments are keen to extract knowledge from individuals in an organization. To do this, a lot of tools, methods and standards force them to literally write down all they know. I argue, that this is not the best way to share knowledge. Technological support based on this tacit/explicit dichotomy does not make knowledge sharing more effective. It only reinforces the idea of writing down knowledge in a digital environment.
  • From my perspective, knowledge is socially-constructed. Rather than beeing either tacit or explicit, knowledge becomes information as soon as it is seperated from the original knowledge-holder and the context. While this definition holds true for others in the field, I believe that the implications for KM technology support are often overlooked.
  • IT support for knowledge exchange should focus on connecting knowledgable people, enrich information by context and offer various formats for sharing information. Concrete examples could be suggestions for colleagues who have worked on similar projects, case studies (instead of „lessons learned“) and a variety of formats such as video, blog posts or forums.


Tacit vs explicit knowledge?

The difficulty with the tacit vs explicit knowledge dichotomy is that it does not highlight the relevant aspects of knowledge which are crucial in an organizational context. According to this dichotomy, tacit knowledge is difficult to write down or extract. Yet, the crucial difference does not exist between tacit and explicit knowledge but rather between knowledge and information. Explicit knowledge becomes information, tacit knowledge becomes knowledge. Without comprehending the context in which knowledge has been generated in, a receiver of the information will not be able to enhance her knowledge. Instead of placing extensive efforts on how to extract every single bit and bite of knowledge, the tasks of technology in knowledge management (KM) should be to create social connections between people and build on existing sources of information in an organization to link knowledge supply and demand. This text outlines, how moving beyond tacit-explicit-knowledge can shape more precise requirements for IT tools in knowledge management.

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