Finally: The Link Between WOL & PKM

I’ve have been obsessed with this topic for a while now – in fact it’s been at least a year since I started noodling on it according to a “back of the napkin”sketch I did thinking about how I could piece the two together.

I started this because I thought both concepts would be helpful to employees in my organization to help them navigate the social age and keep up with the pace of change but I didn’t know which to try to implement first or how to explain what the differences where in each approach.

I did a bunch of research.

I thought out loud to myself.

I asked my network what they thought.

We discussed.

I had a few light bulb moments:

“You can practice anything without labeling it. Whether you know it’s PKM or WoL is not the real point is it?” Nigel Young

“Working out loud is for groups. PKM is for individuals. Learning is individual. Most work is collaborative – Harold Jarche

So what have I concluded after all this time?

WOL helps you target sharing in the PKM framework and also helps you to build relationships along the way to help you learn/figure things out.

Essentially PKM is the fuel for my WOL fire ; )

Michele Ockers, helped me to see the above when she commented on a prior post of mine:

You can use the information that you’ve made sense of to help build / deepen relationships. It’s a virtuous cycle. By practicing PKM and WOL you generate greater capacity to make a contribution to others through purposeful sharing and therefore increase the value generated for you and others versus doing either one alone.

Where do they intersect then?

Everywhere.  This is a graphic to show how I think John Stepper’s 5 Element’s of WOL and Harold Jarche’s Personal Knowledge Management framework intertwine:

PKM WOL Intersections.png
The Intersections of PKM & WOL

This framework has given me away to reconcile how each of these methods support each other and explain the importance of learning both to survive in the social age.  As with everything, I am sure it will evolve over time : )

Well then, what one do I think you should learn first?

I honestly don’t think it matters. Both WOL & PKM are practices, which means that they are personal and they evolve over time.  I can however offer my thoughts, based on my experience, of how I would get started in the following scenarios:

If you have not heard of either concepts, my recommendation would be:

Start by reading John Stepper’s book & participating in a WOL Circle. It will tell you how to “touch the treadmill” and ease your way in. Then move to Harold Jarche’s Personal Knowledge Mastery Course. This will help to manage the information coming at you and will provide you a way to find, curate, and create unique contributions to deepen your relationships and achieve your goals.

If you have participated in a WOL circle or read John’s book but have not heard of PKM, my recommendation would be:

Take Harold’s course/ learn more about PKM. It will not only help you make better contributions and build deeper relationships but it will also set you up to manage your general professional development.

If you have taken PKM but not participated in a WOL circle my recommendation would be:

Participate in a WOL circle as it will show you how to achieve a goal by creating and nurturing relationships. It will also help you to orient your PKM activities.

In Summary

Thanks to everyone who has helped me to noodle on this for the past year.  It’s going to be interesting to see how this evolves over the next one ; )

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.  Would love to know if this helps you to see how both methodologies support each other and what you would do to improve it.

5 thoughts on “Finally: The Link Between WOL & PKM

Add yours

  1. Fantastic post Kate and I like how you create the link between PKM and WOL. Like you, I did Harold’s course, read John Stepper’s book and then realised that I’ve been doing it all along for the last 10 or so years while I had a blog and 15 years before that with journalling. The model and the circles allow a structure for those who may not know how, when or even why to start. Once they do, the penny drops!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Helen. Appreciate the support. In the end I always have to remind myself that all of this is a personal practice so it’s different for everyone and will evolve over time. Still trying to let go of trying to control everything and make it perfect ; )


  2. Hi Kate
    This post has piqued my interest. I’m in my first WOL circle and am currently getting more familiar with contributing outside my organisation. I’ve read some of Harold’s work now and I think I can apply some of the seek sense and share framework. The visual really helps me put the two together. Thank you for taking the time to create it.


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