IFeL blog

Structure, Dialogue and Autonomy

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Online Interaction Continuum

Interaction Continuum

Interaction Continuum

The Interaction Continuum is a spectrum of ways of interacting defined between Divergent and Convergent interaction.

Interaction here includes communication, but is NOT LIMITED TO communication.

The higher the amount of online interactions, the more this continuum becomes relevant.

Divergent interaction happens when tasks and work are DIVIDED among people and information is exchanged in an exclusive, selective way between people, thus separating them into subgroups. Typical example: E-Mail interactions.

Convergent interaction happens, when tasks and work are SHARED among people and information is exchanged in an inclusive, open way between people, thus uniting them into one community. Typical example: E-Platform interactions.

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Basic Knowledge Sharing Model

In the context of our mission of promoting collaboration at FFHS, my team has developed a variation of the SECI model of knowledge conversion (Nonaka & Takeuchi 1995) in which we focus on the foundations of knowledge sharing and which, for this reason, is called “Basic Knowledge Sharing Model”.

Both  models  are  based  on  the  distinction  of  two  kinds  or  dimensions  of knowledge: a)  explicit  knowledge,  b)  tacit  knowledge.  Explicit  knowledge  is  knowledge that one could easily express or which is already expressed (by spoken  words, written in documents or by other means that make it perceivable). But this is  not the whole knowledge base. As Polanyi wrote: “one can know more than one can tell” (Polanyi 1966, p. 8) and this “more” is a second kind or dimension of knowledge called “tacit” knowledge, the knowledge that one cannot easily express and that has not  been  expressed  (because  we  are  not  able  to  do  it,  because  it  would  take  too much time, etc. ); notice that this is the larger part – maybe 80% or even more – of our knowledge base:  in fact, we are much faster in thinking and doing than in speaking and writing! Compare for example riding a bicycle with a spoken or written description of how to ride it.  Metaphorically we could also say that explicit knowledge is only the shadow of tacit knowledge.

Figure 1 Knowledge conversion v3Figure 1.  Basic Knowledge Sharing Model – IECS

Differently from the SECI model, in our knowledge sharing model we begin by explicitly considering two individuals, each with her knowledge base, and look at how knowledge conversions proceed first within the two persons and then between them. As a consequence we start within the individual (Fig. 1):

  1. by considering first the knowledge conversion from explicit to tacit, called “internalization” (1. to learn, to understand);
  2. then we consider as second the reverse knowledge conversion, from tacit to explicit, called “externalization”  (2.  to document).
  3. In a third  step  we  look at  the  knowledge conversion from explicit to explicit called “combination”, which in our case is seen as communication  in  the  sense  of  an  exchange  of  information  (3.  communicate) between two individuals;
  4. finally we come to the crucial, fourth step called “socialization” in which tacit knowledge is shared between the two individuals by means of interactions (4. apply, live).

Thus the sequence of our model is 1. Internalization >>> 2. Externalization >>>  3.  Combination  >>>  4.  Socialization,  or  abbreviated  IECS  by  using  the  initials  of  these steps, like in SECI.

Regarding socialization and collaboration it is important to notice that in these interactions tacit knowledge “is commonly and easily conveyed by narrative, although narrative exemplifies rather than exhaustively describes such knowledge” (Linde 2001). Other practical ways to share tacit knowledge are listed by Von Krogh et al. (2000:83): direct observation and narration, imitation, experimentation and comparison, joint execution. They also mention conversations as an enabler of  tacit  knowledge  sharing  (2000:125ff)  and  suggest  that  tacit  knowledge  can  be seen as the clay that participants of knowledge-creating conversations work with and form eventually arriving at new concepts (Von Krogh et al.: 135).



Bettoni, M., Bernhard, W., Bittel, N. & Mirata, V. (in press) Sharing Tacit Knowledge in Meetings: The OSG Approach. Paper presented at the 20th Knowledge Management Forum, Milan, 28 October 2015. In press: kappaemme 26, Speciale KM 2015, Pavia: Jekpot.

Linde, C. (2001) Narrative and Social Tacit Knowledge. Journal of Knowledge Management, Special Issue on Tacit Knowledge Exchange and Active Learning, 5 (2)

Nonaka, I. & Takeuchi, H. (1995) The knowledge creating company: how Japanese companies create the dynamics of innovation, New York: Oxford University Press.

Polanyi, M. (1966) The Tacit Dimension, Gloucester (Mass.): Peter Smith

Von Krogh, G., Ichijo, K. & Nonaka, I. (2000) Enabling Knowledge Creation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Arbeitsräume: Die «Körpersprache» des Unternehmens

Wie die Gestaltung der Büro-Räume zum erfolgreichen Instrument für die Rekrutierung von Millenials wird.

Neue Erwartungen der Millennials stellen neue Anforderungen an die Arbeitswelt, auch an die Räumlichkeiten, in denen sie arbeiten möchten. Leider begreifen weiterhin wenige Unternehmen, dass die gezielte Gestaltung der eigenen Innenbereiche ein wichtiger Faktor bei der Gewinnung zukünftiger Arbeitskräfte ist. Denn der Raum, in dem man arbeitet, stellt die unverwechselbare «Körpersprache» eines Unternehmens dar. Er spiegelt, bewusst oder unbewusst, seine Kultur, Werte und Unternehmenshaltung und kann die vorhandenen Bedürfnisse der jungen Talente unterstützen.

Wie können also Räume die Anforderungen der Millennials unterstützen und dadurch zur Gewinnung der jungen Talente beitragen? Das erfahren Sie hier: http://www.hrtoday.ch/article/arbeitsr-ume-die-k-rpersprache-des-unternehmens


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Stay far, learn close

Marktplatzstand an der 7. Swiss eLearning Conference (www.selc.ch) – 12. April 2016 in Zürich

Geografische Distanz kann das Lernen behindern, aber ein geeignetes Verständnis der Möglichkeiten virtueller Kollaboration  kann die für ein effektives Lernen notwendige emotionale und praktische Nähe wiederherstellen. Auf der  Grundlage eines wissensbasierten Verständnisses von e-Collaboration haben wir Modelle und Instrumente entwickelt sowie Erfahrungen gesammelt, welche das neue soziale, gemeinschaftliche Lernen auch auf Distanz fördern können. Wir geben Einblick in diesbezgl. Projekte und Ansätze, wie z.B.

  1. eSF Our E-Collaboration System (English)
  2. Community of Practice (English)
  3. Storytelling (Deutsch)
  4. Gamebooks (Deutsch)
  5. TOOCs (Deuttsch)
  6. Solution Finder Model (English)
  7. Open Science Gallery (English)
  8. Virtual & Interactive Sessions (Deutsch)
  9. QUBE – 3D E-Learning System (English)
  10. ECIC – Electronic Collaborative Idea Cultivation (English)


Marktplatz der SeLC 2016 – Im Vordergrund der Tisch des IFeL Team E.Collaboration (Marco Bettoni, Willi Bernhard, Nicole Bittel und Victoria Mirata)





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E-Collaboration: A knoweldge-oriented model

Our experience with the practice of E-Collaboration suggests that knowledge processes play an essential, relevant role in it. This is in line with the considerations of other authors who claim that knowledge processes serve as the basis of any form of cooperation (Endress & Wehner, 1996; Vollmer & Wehner, 2007), that knowledge should be considered as one of the key elements of E-Collaboration (Kock, 2005) or that the construction of shared knowledge constitutes one of its key processes (Dillenbourg & Fischer, 2007).
Unfortunately we do not see knowledge mentioned in most definitions of E-Collaboration and are lacking models of E-Collaboration with adequate emphasis on knowledge processes. This is why within our team (IFeL Team E-Collaboration) we have developed this approach and have made it available as a chapter of a book released end of 2015 at IGI.


  • Bettoni, M.,  Bittel, N., Bernhard W. & Mirata, V. (2016) eSF – An E-Collaboration System for Knowledge Workers. In: A. Kok & H. Lee (eds.) Cultural, Behavioral, and Social Considerations in Electronic Collaboration. Hershey (USA), IGI Global, Chapter 8, 157-172.


  • The aim of our chapter is to contribute to a better understanding of E-Collaboration, especially its intimate connection with knowledge and knowledge processes. We begin by presenting a knowledge-oriented understanding of E-Collaboration and an architecture of an E-Collaboration system (people, processes and technology) based on that understanding; then we describe the eSF system (an implementation of this architecture within our team), our experiences with it and what we have learned about the success factors of E-Collaboration.

You can access it at: http://www.igi-global.com/book/cultural-behavioral-social-considerations-electronic/134811


Dillenbourg, P. & Fischer, F. (2007). Basics of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning. Zeitschrift für Berufs- und Wirtschaftspädagogik. 21, 111-130.
Endress, E., & Wehner, T. (Eds.). (1996). Zwischenbetriebliche Kooperation. Die Gestaltung von Lieferbedingungen. Weinheim: Psychologie Verlags Union.
Kock, N. (2005). What is E-Collaboration? International Journal of e-Collaboration, 1(1), i–vii.
Vollmer, A., & Wehner, T. (2007). Innovation und wissensorientierte Kooperation. Profile, 13, 31–36.

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Storytellingworkshops für den Hochschulunterricht


Geht es Ihnen auch so? Wenn Sie sich wie ich mit dem Storytelling im Hochschulkontext beschäftigen, dann ist das Resultat nicht selten frustrierend. Denn obwohl Storytelling mittlerweile in zahlreichen Gebieten unseres Lebens und Arbeitens zum guten Ton gehört, findet man im tertiären Bildungsbereich nur wenig Brauchbares dazu. Somit wird eine grosse Chance verpasst, das Lernen effektiver, reichhaltiger und motivierter zu machen. Wir möchten das ändern und organisieren 5 virtuelle Workshops zum Thema.

Die Storytelling Revolution

Immerhin spricht Kirnan von einer Storytelling Revolution. In Primarschulen schon lange etabliert und aus der Kindheit nicht weg zu denken, haben Geschichten auf ihrem Siegeszug auch vor der Businesswelt nicht halt gemacht. Journalismus wird heute in allererster Linie mit Geschichten gemacht. Ebenso ist das Marketing einer Firma nur so gut, wie die Story, die dahinter steht.

Storytelling will gelernt sein

Aber der richtige Einsatz von Geschichten will gelernt sein. Und so bieten verschiedene Hochschulen Aus- und Weiterbildungsgänge an, in denen man lernt, wie man ein guter Geschichtenschreiber wird oder seine Story wettbewerbstauglich an den Mann und die Frau bringt.
Allerdings scheinen die Hochschuldozierenden selbst von dieser Story-Revolution kaum berührt zu werden. Zumindest finden sich nur wenige Initiativen im World Wide Web, in denen Storytelling in der Hochschuldidaktik zum Einsatz kommt.

Schluss mit Frust!

Grund genug, dies zu ändern. Wir haben deshalb 5 namhafte Storytellingexperten im deutschsprachigen Raum eingeladen, um Ihnen zu zeigen, dass mit der richtigen Herangehensweise narrative Methoden auch im Hochschulunterricht ihre Berechtigung haben. In Form von 5 virtuellen Workshops können Sie selbst ausprobieren, was alles möglich ist.




Etwas für Sie?

Suchen Sie nach Möglichkeiten, Ihre Studierenden beim Reflektieren oder Anwenden des Gelernten zu unterstützen? Fragen Sie sich auch, wie Sie an das stille Wissen in den Köpfen Ihrer Studierenden kommen? Oder möchten Sie die Zusammenarbeit unter den Lernenden fördern? Jeder dieser online Workshops behandelt einen anderen Aspekt von Storytelling im Hochschulunterricht.

Wir freuen uns!

Wenn Sie neugierig geworden sind, hier geht’s zur Webseite: www.ffhs.ch/vis  

Viel Spass beim Stöbern! 🙂
Nicole Bittel
Forschungsfeldleiterin IFeL

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If your workplace is as an experience.

How does a work environment look like, when your workplace is as an experience, and your company is a community?

Two weeks before my summer holidays in California, I came across with an article of Jeanne Meister in FORBES about an extraordinary workplace that Airbnb is building for and with their employees. She calls it the “workplace as an experience”. It means that all the elements of work—the physical, the emotional, the intellectual, the virtual, and the aspirational—are carefully orchestrated to inspire employees and keep them engaged and happy.

Not to miss the opportunity to experience that special workplace myself, I wrote an email to  Brain Chesky, the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb,  for asking him to give me a tour of their premises. Two weeks later I found myself in front of a white building on 888 Brannan Street, the headquarters of Airbnb in San Francisco. Jason and Casey (photo), a workplace environment team, were waiting for me to give me an excited tour around their workplace and to share with me the feeling of #BelongAnywhere . The visit of the Airbnb workplace was definetly a memorable experience  and one of highlights of my summer holiday in S.F.

In the article of Jeanne MeisterAirbnb Chief Human Resource Officer Becomes Chief Employee Experience Officer” you will learn,

  • How Airbnb is building a “workplace as an experience” with their employees,
  • How the employees are engaged in the workplace,
  • How the corporate culture can be brought to life through workplace environments.

And what does “a workplace as an experience” mean for you? Please, comment or share some thoughts on this topic here!