Organizations and its workers are often viewed as being synergetic in nature, for when one grows, the others grows. On the other hand, if one or the other fails to grow, then it most certainly means failure for both in today's competitive environment. Two factors are starting to play a critical aspect in this relationship -- elearning and knowledge management.
Both are closely related. While knowledge management attempts to ensure that the survival of the organization is guaranteed by attempting to capture the workers' knowledge; elearning attempts to ensure that the workers can quickly retrieve previous captured knowledge, in addition to helping them development and grow as individuals.
A lot of organizations will waste money on knowledge management and/or elearning. Why? There is a lot of knowledge and skills to be found in most organizations. So much, that even the best knowledge management systems will fail to capture even a small percentage of it. And the knowledge and skills that they do go after and capture is a guessing game -- "will it help us to grow or will a new paradigm emerge that changes the present knowledge structure?" Knowledge management is not just about capturing the knowledge within its ranks, its about capturing the correct knowledge and skills that will grow the organization during present and future paradigm shifts. And perhaps more importantly, it is about helping people to connect.
eLearning faces similar consequences. A lot of elearning is just conventional training delivered through electronic means. In fact, it could be taught in a classroom learning environment with little consequences and often better results. But the two types of learning that will help the individual grow the most, and in turn, the organization, is just-in-time learning solutions and developmental learning as discussed in Communities of Practice.
Although eLearning is NOT knowledge management, they are both going to grow into somewhat similar concepts (eLearning's Straight Shooter). A lot of what knowledge represents involves oral and dynamic experiences, so it is never written down. This has dire consequences. For example, people leave organizations, and with them they take years of knowledge and skills. The day a person says she is leaving the organization, her job should immediately change from performing duties and tasks to capturing what she knows so that the organization and her successor knows what she is doing and how do it. Even better, the organization should capture the skills and knowledge before a person even considers leaving. This would be the convergence of elearning and knowledge management.
We always hear that technology drives the economy, but what drives technology? Why knowledge of course. But new technologies can also turn around and drive knowledge (such as the printing press, computer, internet, and of course elearning). Learning concepts such as programmed learning and elearning are enablers of both knowledge and technology: the way we work in teams and through networks that provide communication structures for harvesting knowledge.
For more information, see Knowledge.