Knowledge – Knowledge Management and Educational Entrepreneurship

Introduction

Curiosity is basic human instinct. It is natural gift for every human being. On account of curiosity, people want to know ins and outs of everything. Acquisition of knowledge is thus basic demand of human nature. Knowledge is acquired through education, observation, and experience; however it is preserved, improved, and transferred through reflection, application, and teaching. A person cannot work or grow without knowledge. Knowledge is utilized at all levels of life, both individual as well as collective, invoked on all occasions of life, both simple as well as complex, used on all spatial settings of life, both natural as well as artificial, and applied on all temporal moments of life, both temporary as well as permanent. It plays vital role in survival, growth and development of a person or a nation. It gives productivity to individuals, quality to institutions, and majesty to nations. Knowledge is unavoidable for workers / professionals and inevitable for leaders / entrepreneurs. It gives efficiency to followers, effectiveness to managers, and greatness to leaders.

Knowledge is the understanding of factual, procedural and conceptual aspects of information that a person acquires through education, observation and experience. It enhances the understanding level of mankind. It unearths the realties of time-space phenomena and gives definite clues to life and lifeless objects of cosmic economy. For example, Divine System of Growth, Body-Mind Duality, Mind-Soul Phenomena, Natural Forces, Social Linkages, Economic Links, Political Relations, and History Forces are outcome of learning efforts. In short, knowledge gives vivid picture of cosmic realties, both tangible as well as intangible.

Knowledge is formal as well as informal. The Informal knowledge is subjective and non-coordinated. It can be learned or taught by anyone. On the other hand, the formal knowledge is objective and coordinated. Formal knowledge is learned or taught through educational institutions, so that these institutions are vital for society and individuals. They create knowledge, give new dimensions to exiting knowledge, improve knowledge profile of an individual, enhance knowledge repertoire of society, transfer knowledge among students, and organize knowledge-seekers / knowledge-givers. The productivity and quality of educational institutions is vital for superior individuals and elegant society. The quality and productivity of educational institutions depends on efficient-effective approach towards knowledge management. Knowledge Management means to unearth, create, acquire, transfer, and utilize the knowledge in order to produce superior individuals / quality institutions / majestic nations.

Bases of Human Knowledge

The very bases of human knowledge are human senses, instinctual thrust towards new information or curiosity, and reflective ability of human mind. The prominent senses are sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. The related sense organs are eye, ear, nose, tongue, and the whole skin. A person gets information through sense organs, reflects on it, and finally shapes some propositions on acquired information. A set of propositions is called knowledge. Knowledge is thus shaped through experience and reflection. Intellect is used to interpret sense experiences. Intellect is naturally bestowed mind power to analyze or synthesize information. Reflection is an activity of intellect. In addition, necessities of life provide bases to knowledge driven activities.

Types of Knowledge

Knowledge is defined as the information, understanding, and skills that one gets through education, observation, and experience. Knowledge can be classified into following groups:

  • Natural Sciences: – Natural sciences deals with inanimate objects of universe. The major branches are physics, chemistry, and astronomy.
  • Biological Sciences: – Biological Sciences deals with animate objects of universe. The major branches are zoology, botany, and psychology.
  • Social Sciences: – Social Sciences deals with collective life and relationships between individual and society. They reveal, too, temporal perspective of interactive linkages. The major branches are sociology, political science, economics, and history.
  • Professional Sciences: – Professional Sciences deals with professions of individuals necessary for human survival. Professions improve quality of life of people. The major branches are medicine, engineering, and commerce.

Aspects of Knowledge

A peace of knowledge can be broken into three categories or has three aspects – Declarative, Procedural & Conceptual.

  1. Declarative Knowledge: – It is knowledge about something, e.g., structure of body, structure of computer, format of earth, and parts of speech. It deals with WHAT type of questions.
  2. Procedural Knowledge: – It is knowledge about the procedures and sequences. It narrates and explains procedures & sequences of any compiled information or data, that is, it deals with HOW & WHEN type of questions. For example, HOW computer is manufactured or used, WHEN computer is ready to use or sale.
  3. Conceptual Knowledge: – It is knowledge of concepts working behind the declarative and procedural knowledge. It is abstract aspect of knowledge. In conceptual knowledge, the relationship among concepts is also discussed. It deals with WHY type of questions. For example, the mathematical concepts and their relationship with each other that provide basis to the working of computer hardware or software.

Learning – Language Duality

Language is inevitably linked with learning phenomena, existence of one leads creation of other. A person must give some name and meaning to a piece of information or some event. During pre-linguistic era, symbols were used to understand/explain and to learn/teach something. Learning-Language duality, thus, is inherent ability and attribute of human mind. Human thought process adopts generally mother tongue to conceptualize things. It is noteworthy that a person can adopt multiple languages for thought process. The multi-lingual ability of thinking is developed overtime. Initially, mother tongue is soft option for knowledge development. At higher level, an objective or balanced approach can be applied for other languages. A lop-sided or subjective approach towards learning-language duality is harmful for individuals and nations.

Knowledge Development & Knowledge Experience

Knowledge is continuously evolving asset of mankind, its growth and development is materialized in leaps and bounds. Countless individuals are busy in its continual progress. Knowledge development is comprehensive process; it deals with subjective as well as objective sources of data / information. Our inner and outer senses are constantly receiving data from inner, outer, and divine sources. The inner source of knowledge is pre-conscious, the outer sources of knowledge are animate & inanimate objects of universe, and the divine source of knowledge is Divine Conscious. The inner source of knowledge is subjective as well as objective, the outer source of knowledge is purely objective, and the divine source of knowledge is subjective. Man gives a name/meaning to these data and it becomes information. A piece of information is converted into some coherent schemata; coherent schemata give shape to knowledge. A systematic knowledge adopts a practical shape during interactive life, consequently, the pearls of wisdom are created or materialized, ready to use. A knowledge traveler starts from identification of something new or novel, interpretation is secondary during knowledge journey, classification is third phase on learning curvature, and finally execution/application is made to internalize/marginalize the new findings with previous findings. During internalization a piece of information becomes part of knowledge, while during marginalization a false finding is discarded. The knowledge experience, thus, has five phases – Identification, Interpretation, Classification, Execution/Application, and Internalization / Marginalization.

Knowledge Management

The effective utilization of knowledge or knowledge management is solution to many problems of present day life, both simple as well as complex. The real understanding of bases, types, and aspects of knowledge enables us to manage knowledge for the betterment of humanity. It is fruitful for all kinds of individuals working in various types of institutions. It is supportive for better and meaningful social relations, helpful for optimal and sustainable resource usage, inevitable for good governance, vital for psycho-spiritual satisfaction, and essential for physical health.

Knowledge management is dominantly activity of institutions. Institutions are outcome of an idea. The very bases of idea are necessity of people and curiosity of intellectuals. An innovative leader grasps the situation and shapes institution. So that institutional development and knowledge management are dynamically linked with each other. A better approach towards knowledge management enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of organizations, while an improved/innovative organizational practice develops/constructs knowledge assets. An innovatively evolved knowledge is, thus, essential asset of institutional world. Overtime, knowledge management for better organizational behavior has attained a scientific and systematic shape. Management is the ability to create, organize and utilize resources in an optimal manner, i.e., with efficiency – doing things right & effectiveness – doing the right things. Whereas, the knowledge management is to reveal, create, acquire, transfer, and utilize the knowledge for excellent outcome. Informational efficiency is essential cornerstone of knowledge management. An arrangement of data into a meaningful shape is called information. An efficient acquisition and effective distribution of information give comparative-competitive advantage to institutions. Moreover, it is supportive to innovations and makes an institution precisely responsive towards changes. During crises it provides better clues for re-organization or re-engineering.

At institutional level, innovational outcome is the most evolved stage of knowledge management. The first stage is collection of accurate data, the second is collection of meaningful information based on data, the third is imparting right information to the right people at the right time, the fourth is to take right decisions on available information, and finally to take right actions in order to shape innovations/innovative activities.

Knowledge Management & Educational Entrepreneurship

Life has two levels, individual as well as collective. The collective level is manifested through multiple ways such as tribes & clans, institutions & organizations, and state & intrastate blocks. Organizational level of life is complex phenomena of modern society. Organizations are multiple in numbers, multilayered in structure, and multidimensional in operations. We may classify the existing institutional phenomena into two broad categories – profit oriented institutions and welfare oriented institutions. The profit oriented institutions provide, primarily, sustenance and leads, lastly, towards better quality of life with more financial resources to their workers / initiators / stakeholders. The welfare based institutions provide some utility to individuals or community at large. Institutions, either profit oriented or welfare oriented, need multiple resources for initiation or operation such as natural resources, financial resources and human resources. The optimal usage of resources is based, significantly, on effective utilization of knowledge or knowledge management, without proper knowledge management these institutions cannot be run efficiently, effectively, and indefinitely.

Institutions and entrepreneur are dynamically linked with each other, so that, an entrepreneurial effort, too, has two aspects – economic and social. A profit oriented institution is initiated / operated by economic entrepreneur and welfare oriented institution is initiated / operated by social entrepreneur. Profit is outcome of multiple performance indicators and success factors. A scientific knowledge about the linkages among multiple factors leads towards better managerial practices. A wise utilization of already accumulated information brings normal profit, while a wise utilization of some innovative piece of information brings windfall profit. At welfare level, a social work is actualized by means of social linkages; a proper understanding and usage of social linkages enhance the social effectiveness of institutions. Effective usage of Knowledge is, thus, valuable for both, economic entrepreneur and social entrepreneur.

Educational institutions are dominantly welfare driven and partially profit driven. A unique approach towards knowledge management is required in order to attain maximum benefits from learning activity. Interestingly, the whole activity of educational institution revolves around knowledge. There is a group of knowledge-seekers or students, knowledge-givers or teachers, and knowledge-workers or managers. Knowledge management is inevitable for all groups. Learning strategies are required by students to absorb knowledge, teaching methods are used by teaching faculty to transfer knowledge, and managerial practices are applied by non-teaching faculty to disseminate knowledge, efficiently and effectively. In addition, the entrepreneurial activity of educational institutions is dominantly wisdom driven effort. Educational Entrepreneur differentiates and realizes economic as well as social goals on account of wisdom. Wisdom is based on knowledge, thus, knowledge is indispensable for educational entrepreneur.

Concluding Remarks – Current Scenario with Possible Caveats

Human Civilization has absorbed the ins and outs of information era. People now have immense information on every thing. We are now inhabitant of knowledge world. Societies/nations are recognized by their knowledge assets / knowledge workers. Flow of information or knowledge is swift, easy, and economical. Internet has become essential aspect of present day life. A person can acquire knowledge through clicking keyboard or dragging mouse. A great body of information is available with negligible cost. Virtual institutions are working on dissemination of knowledge. People share or publish knowledge with no cost through social media of internet. Virtual world has established varied platforms for knowledge development. The developmental journey based on information and knowledge will continue forever. People and societies will choose pearls of wisdom from Knowledge Ocean in order to realize prosperous and magnificent life.

Existing Scenario of modern civilization is promising however permanent care would be required to avoid vicious circle based on possible illusion of perfect knowledge. The situation may lead to knowledge traveler towards micro truths from knowledge development activities consequently a person may loose wider / hidden understanding of knowledge ocean. It has happened in 19th century. Scientists have become perfectionist towards their findings. They were painting only statistical picture of everything. In early decades of 20th century, Einstein, Jung, Gestalts, Keynes, Iqbal, Bergson, and Bertrand Russell broke the myth of perfectionism or micro truths. An exactly opposite situation may arise due to bulk of information. The information is mind boggling; a person may loose concentration consequently one can oversight potential / hidden realities of knowledge tree. The ultimate outcome of mental divergence is information without knowledge or knowledge without wisdom or wisdom without ultimate truth. Moreover, the easy acquisition/publication can make someone forgetful from deep insight of knowledge; consequently, the society would have information or knowledge without wisdom. The real assets of a society are wise people, enlightened with ultimate truths, rather than informative people, ignorant towards ultimate truths.

21st Century Workplace Education

I have been in the corporate environment for many years and always wondered why do we have a training department? I always thought it should be the Education department. Education is not only in academia. In this century, it is no longer learning in school first and then goes to work, it is a life-long learning. Education goes together with work. There is a continuous evolution of changes taking place and employees at all levels need to be current with what’s going on in the industry and in their line of work. Only then they can come up with creative ideas, think differently, share and make positive contribution. In which case, Education & Development department makes much more sense to me.

With mechanization, modernization and technological developments, businesses need fewer people who are trained to do things a specific way and more people who are educated to find new ways of doing things. All people should be able to think and come up with different ways of doing things and offer their thoughts because everyone is an intelligent human being, not just the so called executives. Thinking organizations are constantly alert for new ideas and new methods, keeping in mind the cultural diversity. People across the globe think differently. It is an added advantage to the organization to have diversity from as many angles as possible – experience, education, age, culture, ethnicity and gender leading to a wide variety of different perspectives for better customer focused results.

“You don’t train people; you train dogs, snakes, elephants and fish; you educate people.”- Stanley Marcus

What’s the difference? The word education comes from the Latin ‘educo’, which means to change from within. Training provides an external skill. Education changes the inner person. Training deals only with the doing level. Education teaches people how to think. 1-12 month infants are trained and after a year they too learn to think. This is critical even in schools, to teach the kids to think critically, analytically, logically, conclusively and inferentially.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. – Chinese proverb. When you give him a fish you train him and when you teach him to fish you’re educating him.

Let me give you an example: I received a letter from a company that said they do not have my current address. Well, but I received the letter at the current address. When I called and talked to this young woman she had been trained to act. She had been conditioned to recite her memorized lines. She has rehearsed it to perfection. But she had not been educated in customer interaction.

She said, ‘Please fill in the form and send us your correct address’. I said, “if you don’t have the correct address how did I get this letter from you to the correct address?’ She has not been taught to listen to the customer, to think about what the customer is expressing. She is a robot. Often times we try to standardize everything including interactions!! I have seen in corporate environment where people are given scripts to greet, answer the questions and solve problems. What is happening in corporate world? Getting brainless robots? How can they provide service to customers? Can they have a decent conversation on customer needs? The last question she asked me was ‘Is there anything else I can do for you?” I am sure many of you who read this article have heard this question.

Education deals with the feeling level, the way we respond to stimuli. First we think about it, then we begin to feel it, then we choose our behavior and act based on that feeling.

Training attempts to add on the qualities needed for success. Education builds them in. Training is required to teach a specific skill or to learn a specific procedure. But it is ridiculous to develop a process for human interaction… Corporations believe in a myth to develop a process for everything including smiling, greeting and thanking. You’re in a sealed box and they keep saying ‘think outside the box’. It’s vital and crucial for corporations to invest in ways that let people grow by knowing to think for themselves.

* Training focuses on teaching people yesterday’s skills.
* Education focuses on teaching them to develop tomorrow’s skills.

“You can’t have a better tomorrow if you’re thinking about yesterday.” – Charles Kettering

We continue to spend our time in the past, teaching people what to do instead of focusing on how they think, feel and behave; far too much time is spent on getting a job done and conforming instead of producing outstanding results and being creative. We have the powerful creative, highly imaginative brain that we hardly use.

In my corporate experience for several years, I have seen even high level executives who are short sighted and focus on saving their jobs. It is rare to find people who think of “What kind of company do we want to be in 20 years and what kind of employees will it take to get us there? What can we do to educate them?” People seem to be self centered than being loyal even though their resume says so. Only when people start thinking those questions, we can plan educational development programs to develop competent employees for 21st century.

To bring about such changes corporations need behavioral agents, not trainers who are plentiful, easy to find and not particularly expensive. Behavioral facilitators who nurture lasting qualities that won’t become obsolete that quickly are not commonly available. Even if the qualities they taught did become obsolete, people are now educated to think and they will be able to adapt to change. And come up with ways to deal with the changes.

If yours is a thinking organization, you should be able to:

  1. Talk directly to people in other departments and divisions, to customers and suppliers.
  2. Form teams across departmental lines and employees at all levels, to execute new projects or to solve common problems.
  3. Ask front line employees for their opinions and rewarded for ideas that work on a regular basis.
  4. Treat mistakes and failures as learning experiences and not as black marks against people who then get fired.
  5. Thinking organizations are made up of people who are educated in such skills as goal-setting, problem-solving and decision-making, communication and conflict management, negotiation, total quality management (TQM), time management and teamwork.

Career in Early Childhood Education

The need for child-care professionals and educators has never been greater than it is today. While teachers continue to retire, school enrollment is always on the increase creating a perpetual need for top-quality educators. Parents too are recognizing that a solid foundation in early childhood learning is connected to their children’s future success and educational growth. The need of the hour is for trained educators to provide high-quality education to the younger generation. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there is a favorable growth expected in the field of early childhood education over the next decade.

Before you embark on a career in early childhood education, a healthy dose of soul searching is recommended. A career in early childhood education is not to be taken lightly. It may involve a whole lot of play and fun, but there is a serious responsibility attached to the molding of minds and shaping the lives of little children. If you are thinking of an early childhood education degree, you need to ask yourself if you truly love children and have an aptitude to continually impart patient loving care. There can be no middle ground here. You will be spending the better part of your day with them so you will need a great deal of patience and love to truly succeed. In addition to this, you need to be creative with excellent communication skills. It will open up multiple opportunities for you.

Early childhood educators deal with children from infancy to eight years of age. As a teacher to these youngsters, you will be training and developing their physical, emotional and intellectual skills in a variety of challenging ways. There will be a whole lot of creative expression and hands-on activities involved such as games, artwork, story time, music, role-playing in order to nurture the child’s imagination and learning.

An Associate degree in Early Childhood Education is an effective stepping-stone leading to a wider scope in the field of education. Normally, this is an extensive program that will lead to a broad range of career options and advancement after graduation. Approximately, two years are required to complete an AOS degree in Early Childhood Education. This degree provides all the necessary training you would require for teaching young children. It includes functional knowledge and understanding of early childhood education through the completion of courses covering curriculum, child development, child center administration, health and safety, and related fields. A general knowledge of science, social science and language arts is generally part of the curriculum as well.

There are a number of career options available to graduates with an Early Childhood Education degree. You can be an elementary school teacher, pre-school teacher, a school counselor or administrator. This will also prepare you to work in areas such as education policy or advocacy. As an educator you can find employment in nursery or elementary schools, as specialists for children with disabilities or learning disorders, as program supervisors and directors in schools and as family childcare home providers.

Equipped with a childhood education degree, you will be ready to invest your life in the future generation. You’ll find educating children, molding and shaping their lives, challenging them for the life ahead, an extremely rewarding experience!