Next steps for Personal Knowledge Mastery

A summary of my experience with the Personal Knowledge Mastery course from, and my next steps

I’ve reached the end of Harold Jarche’s Personal Knowledge Mastery course, it’s time to review, reflect and set myself some next steps.

This post is largely structured around the last two exercises in the course.

Review questions

What was the most useful concept I learned from this workshop?
The frameworks for linking Seek-Sense-Share to both organisational forms (Team / CoP / Network) and “new” workplace skills.
What was the most surprising concept that has changed my thinking about PKM?
The emphasis on thinking and sense-making rather than tools. This wasn’t a surprise this time around, but it was the first time I followed Harold’s course, and I think it will be for many newcomers, espeically when contrasted with the zillions of blog posts and YouTube videos that label themselves “PKM” but are mostly confined to “how to do stuff with tool X”.
What will be the most challenging aspect of PKM for me?
Sense-making is by far the hardest element of the seek-sense-share triad for me, and in many ways the biggest challenge is my inner critic that would stop me writing anything unless it was deeply researched and fully referenced - and given the reality of my schedule that would mean I didn’t write anything at all.
Where do I hope to be with my PKM practice one year from now?
An increased amount of public sensing and sharing around the core of my professional knowledge (as opposed to my hobbies and hobby-horses), which will require me to become more adept at separating the technical bones from the business contextual flesh. I also plan to have a better-developed professional network, something that has severely suffered through lockdown and the subsequent transition to working from home.

Improving my competencies

In the last course module Harold identifies 4 key workplace skills (from a list of 10 in this paper) which are “at the heart of personal knowledge mastery” and challenges us to use the improvement of these at the core of our continual improvement plan for our own own PKM practice (definitions taken from the source):

ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed
Social intelligence
ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions
New media literacy
ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication
Cognitive load management
ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques

Where do I want to improve? The slick answer would be “Everything EveryWhere All at Once”. A more considered answer would be to say that of the four my priorities are around Sense-making and Social intelligence, so my next step is to develop some guides and metrics around those to steer my practice. For new media literacy and cognitive load management, again I think I have plenty of source material from which I could create some practice guides for myself.

Have I moved on at all in 8 years?

The first time I took this course, I reflected at the halfway point, and identified my key challenges as being the need for:

  • more focus in my PKM practice (which I now try and align by capturing “Open Questions” in my daily logs)
  • better ability to split out the non-confidential parts of my work and use them in public sense-making and sharing - that one is still a significant challenge, but I feel more comfortable in doing so now, and it is helped by rigorous daily note-taking, a practice I didn’t have back then
  • getting slicker at writing in public (hence 100DaysToOffload as a driver to keep doing it)

A hard comparison of what I have written there with what I have written today would suggest not a lot of progress in all of that time, and for many of those intervening years I would say that was correct. The difference now is how confident I feel about internalising these processes, and a sense of “readiness” for this challenge - after all, “if not now, when?”

Would I recommend this course?

If you have any interest at all in improving your own skills and practices as a networked learner, then an unequivocal yes. This is a course that not only makes you think, but if you are prepared to run with it, will teach you some practices which can form the habit of thinking. The content has been refreshed well to keep up with current trends, and the abandonment of Twitter for examples of networked learning on social media in favour of Mastodon is to be applauded.

#100DaysToOffload 29/100

Proactive application of technology to business

My interests include technology, personal knowledge management, social change