Knowledge Management and Sharing

“Connection, not collection: That’s the essence of knowledge management.”

Tom Stewart, The Wealth of Knowledge

Knowledge management (KM) is the way organisations create, capture, exchange, share and use knowledge to achieve their organisational objectives. The KM/KS Expert Group was established in 2006 to support the learn4dev network with activities concerning knowledge management.


Donors face several Knowledge Management (KM) and Knowledge Sharing (KS) challenges. This expert group facilitates cooperation and sharing good practices to respond to these challenges.

KM/KS challenges donors face

  1. Consolidate knowledge, make it accessible and use it to inform policies and development cooperation, build institutional memory
  2. Develop expertise in key cooperation areas
  3. Identify and share good practice, encourage innovation and learning from mistakes , help identify specialists
  4. Enable cross-learning among practitioners, overcome working in a silo, learn from others
  5. Adapt to the changing needs
  6. Consolidate multiple knowledge repositories and knowledge sharing tools and communities of practice around a common space


Objectives of the KM/KS Expert Group

  • Exchange knowledge, resources and experiences on knowledge management to support the development of members of the network
  • Identify and share good practices on capitalisation of experiences and uptake of lessons learned to encourage organisational change and learning
  • Research and promote innovation in learning methods, informal learning, online learning and knowledge sharing tools, keeping the members of the network up to date
  • Identify, develop and share KM&S good practices, products and tools and provide support/contribute to other expert groups of the network when relevant

Areas of work

The KM/KS EG will work on the following areas:

  • Sharing knowledge on capitalization of experiences and uptake of lessons learned
  • Exchange of knowledge and experience on informal learning methods
  • Sharing knowledge and keeping other Expert Groups and Core Group up to date as regards new developments in learning, new learning methods and tools
  • Advice on issues related to knowledge sharing and e-learning support to other EGs
  • Methodological advice and exchange of guidelines on quality of learning
  • Support to the management of the Learn4dev website and Capacity4Dev group

Learning offer

  1. Joint Learning Events: These programmes are trainings or workshops that are developed and co-organised by the network. Joint Learning Programmes benefit from active participation, commitment and contributions from participants and the institutions involved. Notably, we designed the ‘Train the Trainers’ initiative on becoming a reflective practitioner in international development cooperation.
  1. Methodological materials: we published KM related documents that can be consulted via the section resources, such as the guide on “Methodological guide on design, implementation and evaluation of Joint Learning Events“; “Guidelines for e-learning” or “Knowledge Management Technologies“.
  1. Open courses: We made available e-learning courses on knowledge management and knowledge sharing developed together with other donors. The online course aims at providing the necessary tools and methodologies to develop the knowledge capacities of any organization or community.

“Success story”

Other past projects

The group created a methodological guide on design, implementation and evaluation of Joint learning events. It is a guide that outlines successful practices and innovative approaches to having an impact through joint learning events. The guide has been built in a modular way, highlighting tips, tools, checklists, key considerations and readings to help users to easily find the content most relevant for them.

Another project was the drafting of guidelines on the development, administration and management of e-learning across joint-donors; they were developed with the aim of facilitating the sharing of e-learning courses and expertise while ensuring joint quality compliance.

We also promote knowledge sharing on Capacity4dev, the online knowledge sharing and collaboration platform set-up by the European Commission Directorate General EuropeAid. Offering the advanced information management tools needed, it helps development practitioners from across the world, including commission staff, partner countries, other donors, academics and civil society representatives etc., to exchange information and share ideas and experience online.

What were the outcomes?

Relying on the wealth of knowledge, experience and tools embedded within the Learn4dev network, has been the main asset for the group to succeed in the creation of methodological guidelines. These guidelines have been very useful to all expert groups in the preparation of joint programs.

The e-learning modules on KM and KS developed with other donors are the reference e-learning material for development organisations and they are very well used in EuropAid by its staff. They are also public available for all practitioners in the IMARK site.

The Capacity4dev sharing platform has become a success for the whole development community with more than 12000 members coming from all over the world, 23000 posts and 325 groups.

Upcoming events: Expert group objectives and activities planned for 2015-2016

Development of a learning module on experience capitalization: the module is currently under development by the FAO with the collaboration of partners organizations. It will be made of 12 lessons, and include 3 components: an e-learning course, a manual with learners’ notes and a PowerPoint presentation of the lessons for trainers. Its objective is to build capacities of organisations and their members to learn lessons, adopt, adapt or scale up experiences. At the end of the year, the online module will be available in English. FAO also plans to adapt this module into Spanish, French, and Arabic. If you would like to contribute to the development of the learning module you can contact the FAO Knowledge Outreach Team.

Development of a module on visualization techniques for learning: the objective is to research, develop and organise descriptions of visual techniques that will enable trainers to mainstream visual learning in their sessions. The selected techniques will be available at ITCILO website.