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A part of Instructional Design that few people think about but effects everyone in some way shape or form is Knowledge Management.  How do we share ideas, how do we ensure that our knowledge, skills, expertise are being shared throughout an organization?  My own personal exploration into knowledge management highlighted an aspect of my life that I hadn’t even thought about until the question was posed, how does someone with Attention Deficit Disorder manage knowledge?

This question generated a personal needs analysis to find out what kind of knowledge management system is used and if it was adequate to meet the needs of a person with ADD.  In the process of my analysis, I came to the conclusion that I really didn’t have an established personal knowledge management (PKM) system that was useful or effective.  I simply did what I’ve always done, cobbled together whatever notes I was able to remember or copy down in a hope that I captured everything.  While this has been moderately successful on some level throughout my life, my analysis told me that I could do better.

That drove me to find a better system, a way that a mind that runs a million miles a minute in ten different directions can reasonably capture and organize information when it appears rather than trying to remember later what I was thinking about.

Thankfully in today’s age of interconnected technologies, I was able to develop and implement a system that I feel is better suited to take advantage of technology and augment the way my ADD mind works to maximize the amount of data and knowledge that I can capture and organize.

Chaotic Designs Podcast – ADD and PKM

The video linked above is a podcast discussing the PKM system that I developed and some of the thoughts and reasons that went into the design of the system.

I believe that this project really forced me to do a lot of soul searching on a personal side and also on a professional side.  Not only thinking about how to develop a PKM system, but how to create and share the PKM system with others really tested the edges of my Instructional Design skill set.

I think in regards to how  this project has helped me grow as an instructional designer, I’ve developed some better professional foundations into applying research and theory as well as developed better data collection and analysis skills.  The fun part of this project was that developing a PKM system actually allowed me to better utilize my research and analysis as it developed.  I also developed a better understanding of how to implement PKM systems in regards to my own development which makes me uniquely aware of how much growth I have to accomplish both as an individual and as a professional trying to understand the ID world.  And finally my choice of developing this project in the form of a video podcast forced me to be able to evaluate and implement better forms of communication.

I also grew as a developer and designer when it comes to planning and analysis.  The needs assessment I did in order to better understand that process gave me better insight into how a needs analysis can create new problems to be solved as well as how that needs analysis may highlight a new target audience that was not originally identified.  In analyzing knowledge management models and systems I never would have imagined focusing my attention on people with ADD and how their PKM system may differ from other people.  The fact that my analysis and my need pointed me in that direction allowed me to grow as a designer because it forced me to look outside my comfort zone and look at myself for a change.  Planning an analysis on a PKM system also forced me to look at new, existing and emerging technologies.  Thinking about a PKM system verses a normal ID program, created a new road of knowledge management systems that I never would have considered before this.  Now I realize there is wealth of knowledge and applications out there that can be useful to many people.  I also understand some of the benefits of producing video for eLearning programs which opens a lot of doors for better development of my breadth of knowledge in Instructional Design programs and systems.

Knowledge management is something most people don’t understand and most organizations don’t do well.  Based on the outcome of this project, I feel it’s good both from an personal and professional point of view to have a general understanding of many of the limitations that a poor knowledge management system creates for an organization.  It’s also good as an Instructional Designer to understand how a good system can help a person or an organization, it creates opportunities to provide people or organizations a view at what they could be doing vs what they are doing with their knowledge.