Cumulative Action: How NOT to reinvent wheels

Posted
December 1, 2017
Article Source
PLE Learning Exchange Ontario

From a blog post on PLE Learning Exchange by guest author Benjamin Miller: "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." – Isaac Newton

By providing legal education and information, we invite the public to hop on our shoulders to get a better view of their legal problems. But whose shoulders are we standing on?

The problem: Institutional memory is fragile

Too often, creators of legal information re-invent the wheel with new materials, workshops, or teaching techniques, when there is already perfectly good stuff out there or even within their own organization. Why does this keep happening?

Institutional memory is "a collective set of facts, concepts, experiences and knowledge held by a group of people." The scholar Deborah Gibbons has defined institutional memory as "the stored knowledge within the organization." And just like individuals, institutions can easily forget what they've learned.

So you may know about some great resources or teaching techniques, but if it's all in your head, as soon as you go, it all leaves with you. Even worse, if you don't communicate what you know to your team while you are still there, your colleagues might re-invent a wheel you just created!

Read more: Cumulative Action: How NOT to reinvent wheels