Activity-based Knowledge Management Tool Design for Educators
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Traditionally, knowledge management tool design has fit into the repository paradigm: a database of stored information that can be queried by an individual seeking information. These tools often rely on two distinct user groups: those who produce the knowledge and those who seek it. The disparity between these two groups - one group benefiting from the other group's work - is a leading cause of a knowledge management tool's failure. Additionally, knowledge management tools fail because the work processes of target users are not fully understood and therefore not addressed in the tool design. Developing knowledge management tools for educators presents additional obstacles in this already hazardous environment. The traditional impediments found in the development of knowledge management systems, such as trust and incentive concerns, are present along with additional concerns faced by educators such as strict time and resource constraints. And like teaching, educators have different impressions of how knowledge management practices should be done. Therefore, any knowledge management tool for educators must address these obstacles in order to be effective. This research describes the development of an activity-centric knowledge management tool. Activity-centric knowledge management tools avoid the repository paradigm by focusing on the processes in which work is done rather than the storing of information that results from such work. This approach to knowledge management in an educational environment allows teachers to focus on the work involved in teaching rather than knowledge management itself which typically involves added tasks such as entering information into a database. First, I describe current knowledge management practices of teachers by reviewing literature from education and knowledge management as well as interviews and surveys of teachers regarding how they incorporate knowledge management into their teaching practices. Next, I examine the development of the Survey Data Visualization Tool, an activity-based knowledge management tool. Finally, I analyze the use of the Survey Data Visualization Tool by a group of teachers.
- Masters Theses