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Sietar Europe webinars ‘Tacit knowledge, culture and informal learning’

In February 2015 I conducted two webinars for Sietar Europe on ‘Tacit knowledge, culture and informal learning’. Watch the recording above.

Tacit knowledge can be defined as implicit, non-conscious and unacknowledged knowledge. It is silently acquired through practice, socialization and habits. Routines are a form of this non-conscious knowledge, as are cultural values and norms. Tacit knowledge was formulated by philosopher Polyani. “We know more than what we can tell” is the crucial insight of his theory.

How to enhance and use tacit knowledge?

The way we acquire tacit knowledge is in interaction, like in peer-to-peer relationships. Most (intercultural) training trajectories can be classified as formal learning environments. One could easily argue that getting familiar with the implicit and non-conscious layers of (different) cultures or the depths of intercultural competences can only be learnt in informal learning environments. One could even argue that online communities are an important way where experienced professionals can exchange among peers and learn while reading, writing and sharing.

The art of combining formal and informal learning

If we underwrite the importance of tacit knowledge for the fine-tuning of personal intercultural development, how then should we design our training programs? That was the main question that wanted to explore during the webinars. In my opinion the art of intercultural training trajectories anno 2015 should be the optimal blend between informal and formal learning in order to add on to tacit knowledge.

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The East West event organized by Sietar Russia and Sietar Europe that I just participated in was a rather unusual congress. Why? To start with, it was located in three places: the old Russian part of Helsinki, the cruise ship Anastasia and the ‘actual’ congress location in Saint Petersburg. Moreover, we encountered various intercultural surprises on the way. Read the article that Pari Namazie and I wrote here.

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