Knowledge building through academic development


  • Kemlall Ramsaroop Ramdass UNISA



In order to counter-act obsolescence, an important aspect of organisational well-being in turbulent times, is the collective responsibility and capability of all workers to co-create organisational knowing -- in other words, what constitutes quality in the open distance learning (ODL) context. This implies a culture of innovation in an environment that is continuously changing. In this context where social change is the norm the organisation cannot depend on existing practices. Rather, it requires the ability to re-invent the collective understanding of the organisation; this is known as contextual knowledge building. Knowledge building is the creation of ideas and the improvement of ideas that have a life out in the world where they are subject to social processes of evaluation, revision and application. Within such an organisational culture, learning refers to ongoing reflective work which brings innovation closer to the central work of the organisation. This, in turn, leads to a shared community in which an individual contributes to the shared intellectual property of the organisation as a whole. Therefore, learning is necessitated by this process and integral to it. The resulting community knowledge is a form of new information that other community members can all build on together. There is continual movement beyond current understanding and best practice toward “lifelong innovativeness”. Thus, capacity development and knowledge building involve everyone in the institution, not only the academic staff. The paper reflects the importance of academic development in a continuously changing environment through a reflective case study analysis.