"Knowledge accidents" and learning management from Lotus

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Lotus are one of the more recognised names in the IT market. Like many big companies providing IT solutions for business, they offer a range of software for learning online.

Their learning management and delivery software Lotus LearningSpace is in use at Staffordshire University and Napier University in the UK - at Napier it's been used to help create a network of 70 Internet centres in Scotland, and at Staffordshire, to increase accesibility for part-time and disabled students.

Another key area for Lotus is knowledge management. This is discussed in more detail in a recent article for US government magazine Federal Computer Week (which is less daunting than it sounds!).

In the article, Lotus Development CEO Al Zollar says that knowledge management is simply to do with as applying technology to "knowledge accidents".

According to Zollar, "Knowledge accidents happen when people run into each other at places like this or at the water cooler, exchange information, and realise an opportunity for collaboration and a synergy between the projects they’re working on. We need to make knowledge accidents happen on purpose, regularly and, most importantly, with intent."

Zollar emphasised the fact that having an effective knowledge management system can help ease the problem of skills shortages, by pinpointing talents available and allowing them to be managed more effectively.

Lotus has developed its own knowledge management software called Raven, due to be released at the end of this year.

The new system will allow for instant messaging to others on a network and will use profiling and discovery engines to collect personnel data, including work experience and documents written by employees. This is all stored in a database and refined to produce expert profiles.

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