Capturing knowledge during learning events: why it is important

February 12, 2015 by Kaja Jurtela

In my first blog post I wrote that “the workshop provides opportunity for building on, resolving, sharing existing experiences and transforming this into meaningful learning”. To ensure that we address topics that reflect the capacity development needs of participants, we have to find ways to identify these needs. One way of doing so is a practice that we call “capturing knowledge”.

We feel that capturing knowledge during learning events is so important that it can become one of the next good practices in learning. As we want to do it systematically, I will now explain what we can achieve by that.

1. We do not want to complicate our lives even more

Probably you have heard this several times on numerous occasions but we really do believe that capturing discussions during learning events can add value, and we do not do this to complicate your and our lives even more. Take, for example, how we did this at our recent learning events on Managing Spending and Keeping Budget on Track, Environmental Auditing, and how colleagues from the ODI used different tools to capture all the discussions at the Doing Development Differently event. They recorded all speeches and by doing so they actually identified where the good practices in doing development exist and what drives good practice. We can even propose a statement: if knowledge and experiences are not captured, it is difficult to know it exists!

2. We want to identify where knowledge exists and facilitate knowledge exchange

If we want to facilitate knowledge exchange, we have to identify where this knowledge exists, or in other words, who can provide knowledge and experience in a certain area. We cannot expect people to know by heart what they are good at. We have to make efforts to identify what is it that people know and that they can share with others, and we have to do it systematically. So, we do not want the workshops to be one-off learning events but an opportunity for identification of knowledge that can simultaneously or later be exchanged with other practitioners. This opportunity might be easily overlooked and thus needs special attention.

3. It can be way more interactive

We agree on openness and free exchange of views at the CEF learning events. We can serve as knowledge conveners and provide elements for knowledge exchange to happen. With social media tools we have the opportunity to create a story everyone will remember and can participate in.

4. Next time we want to offer you much more!

This part I like the most. With the help of materials – videos, tweets, images, etc. – produced at one learning event, we can offer you much more at the next learning event. We can use a great lecture or speech delivered at one event also at another one to design a so-called blended learning event.

CEF channel on Youtube

CEF channel on Youtube

Having all this is mind, I think that it is worth making an extra effort to capture knowledge during learning events. However, at the same time we should not forget to listen to people and try to understand what is it that they do and encourage them to share this with others. This way we can become real knowledge brokers


Note: The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the CEF.