Every month, I receive a half-a-dozen or so emails from people asking me all sorts of questions about knowledge management.
If I have the time and feel sufficiently knowledgeable in the area of their question then I do my best to reply but whether I can reply at length or not I always point them to the Gurteen Knowledge Community forum on LinkedIn.
Let me give you an example. Anita Malik recently emailed me to ask whether I thought the number of Communities of Practice in an organisation should be limited or unlimited.
I shared with her my view on the topic that they should not be too tightly controlled but I was well aware that many other people had different perspectives and experiences who could answer her question and help her far more than i ever could and so I pointed her to the forum
where you can see the lengthy discussion that emerged.
Clearly, Anita got far more out of this discussion than any answer I could ever have givne but the value is far, far greater.
By posing the question publically everyone who took part in that discussion got to learn and of course also those who on only read the thread benefited too.
And this discussion is now there as a record. If anyone asks me the same question again - then I can point them to the discussion and so can others.
This open or public form of learning is very powerful indeed and I believe over time will have a transformative impact on the world.
I have touched on the idea in the past in this article Raising all the ships on the sea
and this recent post of mine Education as a public act about David Weinberger and his thoughts on the subject.
We need to make our education public.