2Know Magazine: Sharing KM Knowledge
2Know: Sharing KM Knowledge
August 2016 - Magazine No. 203
August 2016 - Magazine No. 203

The use of collaborative tools has become over the years a central tool for work groups in organizations. Hereby is an initial review of both free and paid collaboration tools which can assist in communication between teammates and shared project management.

Google Hangouts


A free and popular software, part of the Google + service package (which means a Gmail username is required) which allows group/one-on-one conversations. It also allows video chats (up to 9 people simultaneously) or Wi-Fi based audio conversations, texting and sharing pictures. Yes, Hangouts is synchronized between devices automatically, which means you can start a Hangout on a PC and continue it on another device such as a Smartphone. Furthermore, messages are saved so that their history can be reviewed. Hangout's big advantage is that it is free, though this can also be perceived as a disadvantage since all communication is based on an external network (i.e. the internet), which raises many issues regarding data security.



An internet-based service which enables chats and instant messaging for individuals as well as groups with video chat and file-sending (via cloud file storage) features. Furthermore, it allows users to integrate pictures and other types of media into messages, sharing screens and (similarly to Hangouts) allows searching through messaging history. This service is suitable for both Mac, Windows and portable devices such as tablets and Smartphones. Also, it can run within an organizational firewall.

It cost 2$ per user.



Slack is a cloud-based collaboration tool that includes chat rooms (channels) organized according to subject, as well as instant messaging and private groups. All content shared through Slack can be searched, including conversation and users. It can be operated via both Smartphone and computer. It also features notifications regarding updates and messages received through the different channels the user has joined.

Its trial version is free, and it costs 6.67$ per user.

For a comparison between Slack and HipChat, click on the link below:




Podio, created by Citirx, is a platform which besides enabling chats also enables managing projects with a number of crewmates. The platform enables users to choose from a variety of applications those applications which suit their needs, thus "tailoring" the unique environment which they need in order to manage the project. Some examples of applications which can be integrated in the work environment include chat rooms, a calendar, task-list divided according to participants, budget management, etc.



Azendoo is web-based software which enables project management. The software's chat system resembles Facebook which enables to receive private messages and notifications. Furthermore, one can leave responses to specific tasks based on the group's project. This software integrates with cloud file storage systems such as DropBox. The software has a trial version.

For a comparison to Slack, click here.


Microsoft offers several collaboration tools, one of them being SharePoint which can be used both in a cloud environment and an organizational one. SharePoint allows sharing files as well as managing versions of documents and the project's different tasks. Furthermore, it can be used together with other collaboration tools such as Yammer which enables sharing and consulting between groups and individuals or Microsoft Lync which enables chats as well as screen sharing between groups or individuals.


In conclusion, there is a variety of tools which offer different collaborative services. Each organization should choose the tool which most suits their needs in order to make sure that the chosen tool indeed serves the organization best.







Mind maps are charts which summarize, organize and present a large amount of information in visual form while integrating keywords, symbols and pictures on a single page. The form of representation is hierarchical, with the central visual component being a star which branches out to other levels of the hierarchy of information items declining from center outwards. These branches place the keywords together with suitable symbols. The map allows us to summarize long texts into a small number of keywords supported by enticing graphics.

Mind maps are constructed accordance to neurological principles. The human brain reviews the world from principle to detail; while shipping, we will first notice the vegetable isle, only then will we notice the tomatoes or cucumbers. Likewise, when driving we will first notice the car on our left and only then will become aware that said car is a Hyundai. This is a trait developed through evolution: our ability to recognize a threat or food in first glance, only later paying attention to details. Another important neurological trait: our brain remembers new things only if they are somehow connected to previous knowledge. This relation enables the brain to understand new things, thus remembering them.

 Our brain also aspires to work as less as possible, which is why organizing information/knowledge in a manner which fits our neurological structures will always be more efficient: the data will be understood by the brain faster, will be learned better as well as remembered better. Furthermore, the individual attaining this new knowledge will be able to more easily manipulate the knowledge process it into new knowledge, integrate it into other material, and prepare a presentation/summary/report etc.

A concise history of mind maps

During the second half of the twentieth century Novak, an American professor, developed the "term map"- a simple way to organize knowledge by visually charting central terms and connecting one term to another using lines that represent the type of relationship they share: this "belongs" to this, the other is a result of another term etc. Thus, instead of dealing with an abundant text one can focus on the central terms and their relation.

Term maps have become a useful tool for many organizations: schools, universities, business organizations etc.

During the 70s, British professor Tony Boson takes the whole paradigm one meaningful step further and develops the "mind map" which is essentially a term map with some added features which make it a highly more effective tool for both learning and knowledge management.


A mind map is a term map which as one includes only the text's keywords yet also makes substantial use of colors, symbols and pictures and uses the connecting lines freely. A mind map is less formal and strict regarding its rules, which is why it is considered more user-friendly and is popular among students beginning from elementary school.

How does one write a mind map?

First of all, it is important to understand that anyone can do this. A mind map is constructed according to rules which define the way in which writing and icons are placed on the page and the relation between the two. The process combines creativity and logical thinking and is easier and more fun than a regular document's writing process.

The first step is to specify the subject using a central picture or symbol, meant to centre attention. We then build the hierarchical lines and above them write the main terms and some of the less-central terms (to a desirable extent). The next stage involves coloring in order to highlight and differentiate (color is a powerful memory anchor) and adding icons/pictures in order to animate the terms (thus leading to even better chances of remembering them). That's it. Your mind map is now complete. Remember, there is no point to write the entire text on the map; only the main terms are required (when we learn something new, we don't remember details anyway, only the main concepts and terms). Note: there is no need to "know how to draw". These are very simple and basic drawings, meant only to animate terms. Anyone can draw a "house" or "face" or "tree".

A mind map is read from the central picture outwards, descending through the branches clockwise. We thus review both the main terms and the text's overall structure. Hereby is a computerized mind map explaining how to construct a mind map.



Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MindMapGuidlines.svg

The central picture represents memory. The map uses pictures, beginning with the central picture, as well as symbols and codes. The map also requires using colors and the lines must flow (no sharp angles). It is customary to draw mind maps on a blank page spread horizontally. The map should be aesthetically appealing. Keywords are associative (which is another feature which assists the reader in remembering the map). The lines branch out with their titles spread out across the entire line. Keywords should be written in an easily readable font.

Applications of mind maps

A mind map is a friendly and efficient way to summarize a learned subject, prepare a presentation/class/lecture and chart its main points, present an index or simply present the entire body of knowledge on a certain subject (e.g. a budget) effectively, efficiently and comfortably using an easily operated method which is accessible, concise and way clearer and friendlier than 'heavy' text documents.

 Sometimes, the mind map remains the document presented to the target audience: students, business associates, etc. Organizing the knowledge and understanding it will be done using the map. After constructing the map and organizing the knowledge, we can move it to a regular text document or Excel chart (when, for example, building a budget) or a Powerpoint presentation.

There are several free programs that allow constructing computerized mind maps, yet many still prefer to construct their mind maps manually.





In my previous pieces on the field of video, I described the combination between video and Knowledge Management (to read the full article, click here), suggested tips for writing a script for a video (for the full article, click here) tips for filming a video (for the full article, click here), platforms for video management in organizations (for the full article, click here) and discussed the importance of leveraging video as a strategic intra-organizational communication channel (for the full article, click here).

This article will discuss the various ways to use video as a learning channel in the organization's work environment.

Consuming online video (via the internet) is currently an extremely popular media. The increase in online streaming has led organizations and companies to reconsider tutorials, learning and performance support and shift to video-based learning. However, video has been an accessible medium for decades, and companies have been using it for learning purposes. In fact, one of the first uses of video for worker-tutorial purposes was produced by Chevrolet in 1941 (a sales instruction video). The video allows us to view the learning methods implemented 70 years ago.

Only a few years ago, the field of video was accessible to professionals only (photographer, producers and video editors) and organizations that wished to produce video clips had to pay large amounts of money, nowadays video clips can be easily produced; any amateur can teach themselves in a matter of hours, using the Smartphone we have in our back pocket.

Every large organization has its Learning and Development department (in short, L&D) responsible for developing and training workers. Regarding video and learning, the idea is to produce better, more interactive videos using advanced tools while not focusing mainly on "video tutorials" while ignoring the great flexibility the medium offers. An inefficient use of video can not only waste workers' time and merely not effect performances, yet it can determine a harmful precedent of using video throughout the organization.

Some organizations' L&D departments have already began implementing video in many ways. The organizational directional environment is seeing video playing different roles, from standardization processes to product demos to promoting learning training by experts on the subject.

Before producing clips as part of the organization's learning strategy, it is important to consider the various options that can be used to communicate new ideas. Hereby are some ways to use video to support learning in a work environment and performance:

  1. Direct/tutor: let's begin with the video tutorial with which we are all familiar. This method is aimed at helping the viewer acquire knowledge by instructing them how to do something- the right way. Tutorials can be used in various ways and are especially efficient for new workers or workers that require additional direction as part of their training process. They can include conveying some useful tips, screenshots of a specific process (stage by stage) or using scenarios.
  2. Share knowledge: video is a powerful tool and as such can allow workers share their personal knowledge with the entire organization informally. While we can request workers to write articles or share ideas or stories via the organizational portal or the organization's social network, many workers find writing somewhat difficult. Video serves as a simple method for workers to share their ideas and insights. It can be much quicker than writing. Anyway, is it better to tell someone how you do what you do at work than write it all down?

A certain organization's L&D team implemented this idea through the concept of a "video cell". Every week, workers were invited to answer a series of short questions, documented on video. The workers answers were added (unedited) to a playlist in the organizational Wiki and provided colleagues with various ideas for solutions for one problem. The L&D team quickly accumulated a catalogue of content that can be shared in various ways. This approach also verified the organization's knowledge sharing strategy including the will to expand this approach and enable workers to record and upload their videos from their desktops.

  1. Introducing the company to new workers: training new workers can be very interesting when incorporating video. Video can serve as an apt alternative for those boring presentations by another worker (usually monotonously). Instead, you can create a video in which the CEO welcomes the new workers to the company, give them a "tour" of the company's branches around the globe, present the company's products and even intuitively introduce the company procedures. The new worker will benefit from this video much more than a presentation in which these procedures would be simply read out.
  2. Developing 'soft' skills: correctly developing soft skills can contribute to improving worker performance which in turn assists in positive interpersonal relationships and enables workers to cooperate efficiently. By using video segments, we can demonstrate body language and facial expressions that play a great role in efficient communication. This sort of training can suit frontal customer service centers (such as banks, communication companies, etc.)
  3. Provide workers with instruction wherever, whenever: workers in the customer service department are usually the face of the company. Many managers recruit constantly and cannot always provide with apt training. Furthermore, training requirements can vary. This calls for a uniform solution: creating videos for the training process. The training videos can be available from anywhere, everywhere via tablet or smartphone.
  4. Initiating a discussion: using video is more than producing clips. Nowadays, anyone with a smartphone can live-stream via free applications such as Facebook or YouTube. If we know that learning is naturally social, why don't organizations use video more often to get workers to share their ideas and opinions? A collective conversation is a great learning opportunity.


A certain organization's L&D department was searching for ways to overcome functional gaps and assist workers to share not only knowledge but generate some connection between the organization's different departments. They decided to turn to a live-streaming solution. They used Adobe Connect and successfully broadcasted a "live talk show" that offers the participants discussion panels from throughout the entire organization. Each panel took only 15 minutes, and was available in the organizational Wiki. This approach provided workers that didn't usually actively share their insights or the challenges they encounter when working in the different departments. The discussions continued after the camera was shut via the organization's social network.


In conclusion, it can be said that a video can serve as an important learning tool for organization workers. The technological barrier has been long broken, we can all now utilize this medium. It's time to think outside of the box and try putting the organization's traditional learning methods aside- all we need is a little bit of creativity and basic filming + editing abilities to produce useful videos for our organization.


Thanks to websites like YouTube, uploading videos of a varying quality have become regular. An organization that wishes to incorporate video as a learning channel for workers, should preferably start with a short video tutorial/instruction, review the workers' feedback and only then proceed to wider implementation in any method described above or in any way they see fit.

Just start and see what will develop…





Written by Rom Knowledgeware
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