Tieing it Together: PKM & WOL

I came across Shannon Tipton 30 day brainstorming challenge through my current WOL Circle and decided it would be fun to play along as I am continuously trying to improve my practice of #WOL, asking for help and writing shorter posts:


So here it goes for Day 1.

My ah-ha moment: Sometimes I over complicating things.

I am trying to figure out how to describe/explain to my organization the difference/connection b/w Harold Jarche’s personal knowledge mastery and John’s Stepper’s way of working out loud.

I did this research to see what was out there on the two topics, made an overly complicated mind map (which I will not share becasue it doesn’t even make sense to me) to come up with the following.

Maybe the connection is as simple as this:

  • PKM is a way to manage your learning
  • WOL is to way you go about building the network you need to support your learning as well as a way to ensure you are adding value to the network.

Anyone else have thoughts on this subject?  Would love to hear them in comments or on twitter.

p.s.  My 30 day challenge goal (plus or minus a few days) is to #wol on this topic and the project it’s related to in small posts.






16 thoughts on “Tieing it Together: PKM & WOL

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  1. Another linkage may be that by seeking and sensing you generate greater capacity to make a contribution to others through purposeful sharing. Actually, I think it’s broader than that for you can also be applying WOL as you seek and sense – you can do these things within your network and frame your seeking and sensing as contributions. Bring the WOL mindset to your PKM activities – orient your PKM with your overarching WOL goal. The two are complementary and intertwined activities. By doing both in tandem you increase the value generated for you and others versus doing either one alone.


    1. I like that way of thinking about it – framing your seeking and sensing as contributions & orienting this with your WOL goal. This gives more purpose to your PKM practice and I also think helps make it a little more manageable with a targeted relationship list. Thanks for your thoughts. Not sure why I am struggling so much with this. Really want to bring both concepts into my org so am trying to show/speak intelligently as to why both of these are needed.


  2. This is a cool challenge but not an easy one.

    If have a divergent view on WOL and PKM but know John Stepper WOL and Harold Jarche PKM. My take is that there is enough of void between those two frameworks to have creative ways to create connections. Beside WOL and PKM you have the PLN concept which relates very much to both. To WOL by the relationship management side (contributions gift) , to PKM as sources and audience of Seek and Share.

    So it’s more about connections, parallels than comparing, opposing or even forcing complete micro processes of each to be shared. Together they form a part of explored space of a big image of PKM.

    My 2 cents


    1. like this way of looking at it. thanks for adding your 2 cents. they are always highly valued. i think i like both frameworks so much that i want to figure out how to use them both in my org. I like thinking about it as connections and parallels each supporting each other. May play with that for a while ; )


  3. Bruno’s post raises the question for me “Do they really need to be connected explicitly by us?” This isn’t meant as a discouragement but as a curious “why”? As a colleague of Kate’s I understand and see her systematic brain wanting to reconcile these two practices. This is her contribution towards helping us make sense of how they can be used in tandem because of just how critical they are to how she conducts her own professional development experiences. Its nothing short of brilliant in my mind. But what we if said, try PKM if you are interested in really digging into content, and try WOL if you want to start by engaging others in helping you get directed towards a goal. I guess I do see PKM as a bit more academic and self-propelling, where WOL is using a social space as a way to achieve your goals though curiosity, habit making, and contributions. For me personally, PKM feels more advanced–something that researchers do on an ongoing basis, whereas WOL feels potentially time bound, with a clear beginning, middle and end, given the 12 week format. I certainly agree that there are intertwining’s as Michelle points out, but maybe the how of that could/should be left up to the individual.


    1. That is an interesting way of looking at the two. I hadn’t ever really thought about it that way as I stumbled across both at the same time and dove right in. If I think back to how I used the two I think PKM gave me the framework of how to find info based on a goal/interest, filter it, make sense of it, and know when to share that with others. I used WOL and John’s WOL methodology to specifically target people I wanted to connect with because they could help me learn more but I need a way to build the relationship slowly so that I wasn’t just some random person reaching out. Maybe it’s at some point when you are using the WOL process to achieve a goal that you really need PKM to help you manage/make sense of the information that is coming at you. So much to noodle on. Can’t wait for the #PKMchat (https://kneaver.com/pkmchat/) on this topic August 31st.


  4. Another “why” question. You say on the mind map that “I have PKM as a way to manage learning and WOL as a way to build a PLN.” Why do you say that you are not sure if “this is a good way to think about them”?


    1. I am saying this because I am just wondering if you can build a personal learning network with out some of the PKM methodology. Where I feel a lot of people get stuck in the WOL circles in in seeking, making sense of and figuring out when to share. This is something that PKM gives you. I also feel like it is a way to deepen relationships.


      1. Bingo – makes complete sense! So PKM deepens WOL by giving a framework for how to process what you are discovering and how / when to use it as a contribution. Maybe ppl like John Stepper do this more organically, whereas others need something additional to process stuff and pass it along.

        Liked by 1 person

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