Creative Education
2013. Vol.4, No.9, 51-55
Published Online Septe mber 201 3 in SciRes (http ://
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Knowledge Management and Action Learning in Blended
Training Activities
Pattama Chandavimol, Onjaree N a ta kuatoong, Pornsook Tantrarungroj
Faculty of Education, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
Received July 2013
The purpose of this study is to propose blended training activities by applying the knowledge manage-
ment techniques and action learning into the training process. The proposed data are from study of the
theory, documents, surveys, problems, and needs in knowledge Management and Action Learning to de-
velop blended training techniques. The questionnaires were answered by 261 respondents who are per-
sonnel development staffs experienced in designing training courses, organizing these courses, and writ-
ing up training projects for government units in Thailand. The process development was brought to dis-
cussion with 5 field experts in distance learning, training, instructional design and curriculum develop-
ment, Educational Technology and Communication, and organization development areas. The data were
analyzed by using basic statistical techniques such as frequency distribution, percentage, descriptive and
open-ended surveys, brought to analyze and categorize the information, then propose the findings. The
key findings show that organizing the blended training process consists of 3 steps: pre-training, training,
end-of-training. In each step, the blended activities, traditional classroom training, online and E-Learning
are used with knowledge management activities and action learning. Then using technology to enhance
learning processes such as blogging, chat, discussion boards, e-mail, E-learning courseware, and learning
management systems.
Keywords: Action Learning; Blended Training; Knowledge Management
Training is regarded as an important element in today’s or-
ganization management because it enhances the efficiency and
capability of the organization. Therefore, in a training context,
personnel development staff needs to be able to explain the
concepts, approach and process of the training, as well as to
develop and improve the training process. Each training pro-
gram requires certain time and budget allocations; therefore,
there is an expectation that such training should give proper re-
turn on those investments and can make the changes that or-
ganization is aiming to.
Successful training depends on the readiness and support of
the organization, training service provider, trainer, trainees in
all processes as described below. (Sukmuang & Ek-un, 2009).
Pre-Training Support. The period that prepares the readi-
ness of the personnel, organizer, and the trainees. The needs
of the training program, the desired capability after the
training are addressed. The meeting between trainer and
trainees can b e organized during this stage.
Training Support. Sufficient and proper supports during the
training should be provided including tools, equipments,
materials as well as other facilitations.
End-of-training Support. This can be in the form of feed-
back, evaluations, remarks, and surveys from the trainees,
trainer, and training organizer.
The training program approach and content need to be
changed as the effect from the economic uncertainty in Thail-
and. (Thieanphut, 2000). This statement is endorsed by Boo-
nyatarokul (2002) who opined that the training methods should
include changing both the methods and the contents of the
training. Especially the employees in the organization in the
current situation will learn less and slower if the training ap-
proach remains the same. (Natakuatoong, 1997). Kusumawalee
(1997) holds a similar view. He believes that the in-class train-
ing with a teacher-centric approach is not enough. The organi-
zation needs to develop an environment in which the employees
can have continuous learning and stimulate the learner-centric
approach, which will lead to the learner applying the new
knowledge in other innovative ways, which is very important.
The information technology digital world has brought in
various new technologies to play a significant role in not only
people’s lives but also in the training mechanisms. E-learning,
web-board class discussion, email, and learning management
systems have become a platform to help people learn. These
new electronic tools can be used to improve the training process.
The classroom-based learning and E-Learning have their own
benefits. In designing a training or education curriculum, the
instructional designer should bring in both methods to com-
plement each other and fill in the deficiencies that each has on
its own, forming a blended learning approach. Finding a perfect
combination of the two methods depends on the characteristics
of the specific training contents, which may be different, and
requires skills on the part of the instructional designer. To give
the maximum benefits to the trai nees, according to Swart ( 2005),
an effective training design needs to correlate with the learning
objective, and can be developed by various training to meet the
organization’s objectives.
Bonk, Graham, Cross, & Moore (2006) concluded that blend-
ed learning is the most efficient method for learning, by blend-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
ing the classroom-based learning and e-Learning. These sys-
tems are designed to solve a variety of teaching-learning prob-
lems. Miner & Hofmann (2009) describe blended learning as
not only combining the delivery, but also consisting of the in-
frastructure and method of teaching the content. The blended
learning focuses on flexibility by applying both the face-to-face
and online learning to address to the different needs of the trai-
nees. This is to ensure each trainee can achieve his/her learning
In the era of education evolution and knowledge-based so-
ciety, learning in the 21st century has changed. 30% of the
new knowledge is the learning from training, whereas 70% is
from work and experience exchange. The US’s Labor Depart-
ment has estimated that more than 70% of knowledge is in-
curred from experience and 30% from the training and educa-
tion. Since knowledge is internal and is difficult to communi-
cate with others in a useful and efficient manner, tools are
needed to convey such knowledge for the organization’s ulti-
mate benef it .
This so-called tacit knowledge held by people will be pro-
cessed by the knowledge management system, starting with
identifying, searching, planning to acquire, developing and
bringing out the knowledge from people. Then, the knowledge
will be stored and classified. The valued knowledge will be re-
corded in a database, transferred and disseminated in fast and
appropriate manner across the organization; with the intention
that knowledge can be used in making decisions, solving prob-
lems, improving the organization and increasing the new know-
ledge of the organization. This cycle of learning will feed back
into itself, repeating the process indefinitely.
The tacit knowledge that was processed by knowledge man-
agement system can be used as a source in learning and devel-
oping the skills. Knowledge should be always stored in know-
ledge repository which can be accessed easily by all employees
in the organization by using modern technologies and innova-
tions to maximize access to such knowledge (Candlin & Wright,
1992). This is the advantage of deploying knowledge base to
the continual training. The trainees can have access to the ex-
perts rapidly and the knowledge from the source is generated by
and transferred from skillful employees in the organization to
others. This creates the knowledge development value chain
and enhances each employee’s own knowledge. The employees
will acquire this learning with practice.
Marquardt (1999) looks at action learning for building know-
ledge management syst ems through 4 perspectives: 1) the source
of knowledge. In action l earning, the learners should think about
the organization’s resources, facilities in sharing the knowledge
and how to develop knowledge, 2) the knowledge development.
Learners should search and develop new methods in solving
problems because the old knowledge may obsolete, 3) the
knowledge storage. The organization should classify which
knowledge should be stored, provide an encoding system, and
protect that knowledge and 4) the knowledge transfer and utili-
zation. During the reflection and feedback period, the know-
ledge becomes clearer and meaningful. Group members gain
knowledge in different fields and develop their talents to be-
come experts in those fields. They will then transfer the know-
ledge, wisdom and experience derived from group problem-
solving to the communities that they belong to.
Action learning is developed from experience and know-
ledge, as well as individual and group skills. Groups use action
learning to understand the difficult problems in the organiza-
tion’s work.
Echols (2010) states that the next issue that needs to be ad-
dressed is how to integrate the key elements in action learning
with practice learning. The 30% of learning that utilizes tradi-
tional teaching methods (i.e. formal learning) needs to be made
as easy to use and flexible as action learning (informal learning).
Formal learning is not led by the learners, so its contents,
learning methods, and objectives need to be selected by experts,
because experts have the highest competencies in these areas.
Action learning, on the other hand, draws on the collective
knowledge and experience of the learners, and requires good
access to online knowledge resources so that they can effec-
tively share their knowledge and experience. Because these two
methods (formal and informal) are fundamentally different,
integrating them in a way that will allow them to complement
each other is one of the biggest challenges.
In designing the training, the practices need to follow the
changes in the organization. The personnel development staffs
must know how to meet those changes (Richey, Fields, & Fox-
on, 2001). To create a successful blended learning, the person-
nel development staffs should think about the training objec-
tives previously set, the duration of learning, and the differenc-
es in learning methods of the learners as the foundation for
designing the training activities. The blended teaching method
on the web can create closer relations between the trainer and
trainees, as they can exchange experience, and understand and
respect their classmates. In addition, the trainees will receive
instant feedback which facilitates each student’s learning.
In organizing useful training for the trainees, the personnel
development staffs must possess the training design capability
as a significant foundation. The researcher, being in the posi-
tion of an educational technology expert, is playing a signifi-
cant role in bringing technologies together to promote the learn-
ing, and the learning methods, and therefore is proposing the
knowledge management and learning from blended training to
improve the training design capability. The researcher proposes
to bring the blended training process, knowledge management
process, and action learning process together to blend with
training activities.
Research Methodology
There are four phases of this study. Phase 1 is to study the
papers, research and literature under the context of blended
training, knowledge management, action learning and compe-
tency in training design. Phase 2 is to explore the situation, pro-
blems, and needs of personnel development staff in regards to
the design of blended training, by applying the knowledge ma-
nagement and action learning principles. Phase 3 is to design
the blended training programs with the knowledge management
principles and action learning to improve the training program
design competency. Finally, phase 4 is to study the opinions of
five field experts in distance learning, training, instructional
design and curriculum development, Educational Technology
and Communication, and organization development areas on
the blended training process.
Population and Sample Size
The population in this research is the personnel development
staff in government units, responsible for training design, ma-
nagement and project development. The population will be
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
limited to those having more than two years of experience in a
training job in these government units.
Instruments and Data Analyses
The researcher has developed a questionnaire as a survey
tool. The tool development process is as follows:
Study the papers, research and literature under the context
of blended training, knowledge management, action learn-
ing and competency in training design, and apply them as a
framework for tool development.
Study and synthesize the contents of blended training by
applying the questionnaires used to survey knowledge ma-
nagement and action learning principles, and put together
the checklist and open-ended questions regarding the past
theory and research.
The researcher analyzed the data to explain the situation
and problems of the blended training programs by using the
knowledge management and action learning principles.
After the data has been analyzed, the designed training pro-
cess is brought to discussion with 5 field experts in distance
learning, training, instructional design and curriculum develop-
ment, Educational Technology and Communication, and orga-
nization development areas.
The key findings related activities and technology in blended
training from the sampling government unit group follow:
93.9% of the staff have access to learning technology, 91.2%
have experience in action learning, 90.4% have a knowledge
management plan, and 89.3% have a training program which is
designed to use flexible and blended training.
The most popular technology that their organizations have
provided to access to training programs are e-mail at 25.6%,
followed by web boards at 19.8%, and Web Portals at 14.5%.
The technologies that the sampling group has provided in low
level were Web Blog or Blog at 10.0%, Chat at 7.6% and Dis-
cussion Board at 7.3%.
The extra activities that can increase work-related knowledge
the most were asking the advice of an expert at 13.5%, then
action learning at 13.2%, training and practice at 12.3%, and
self-directed learning from readings at 11.3%. The finding in-
dicates that learning methods using television-based education,
added readings, homework and exercises is inadequate, with
only 1.3% rating them as the most effective methods.
The technologies that were regarded as tools for learning
were Internet 27%, e-Learning 22 .2% and Data Warehous e 12 .9%.
The most convenient tool for employees in the organization
to search for knowledge was a knowledge-based platform, in-
cluding the organization’s database on the Internet or the com-
pany’s Intranet, at 49.1%.
The activities that promoted the employees’ learning level
were practical workshops at 17.3%, panel discussions at 15.3%
and small group meetings at 14.5%.
The most frequently organized activity to develop knowledge
was the knowledge sharing activity, including close work col-
laboration at 23.5%; followed by action learning at 22.5%, the
blend of group and individual knowledge, which later became
the new knowledge, at 13.1%.
28.9% of trainees reported that the most formatted know-
ledge could be found in the operational processes and flow
charts. 25.8% reported Intranet linking to the knowledge in
forms of documents, and 16.9% reported knowledge portal.
According to the respondents, the most useful way to share
the knowledge earned from knowledge management activities
was mostly in the form of operational manuals at 26.7%, know-
ledge-sharing corner at 16.6% and storing the knowledge in the
organization’s database at 14.3%.
The most effective way to understand the problems was re-
ported as posting the questions at 30.2%, expressing the opi-
nions generated by past experience at 26.8% and group discus-
sion at 25.6%.
The most effective way to address problems to improve the
job was helping to suggest the problem solutions among the
group at 32.1%, learning from each other and selecting the most
practical solutions at 26.8%, discussing in a group and planning
to bring solutions to practice at 20.7%.
The most outstanding behavior found to create reflective
knowledge was group members bringing in and sharing their
past experience at 52.3%.
From these findings, the researcher proposed Technology
enhanced in Blended Training Activities in “Table 1”, and the
knowledge management and action learning in blended learning
activities in “Table 2”.
Blended training is suitable for some training courses. The
trainees need to allocate some time to the training and have a
high level of responsibility.
In identifying problems, the desired knowledge, and practi-
tioner group, the planner needs to analyze the problems and set
up the framework in selecting problems to retrieve the most
useful knowledge.
There should be many blended training activity pilot projects
to lead to the activity development to meet the objectives of
each training course.
Financial assistance was provided by the 90th anniversary of
chulalongkorn university fund (Ratchadaphiseksomphot En-
dowment Fund).
Table 1.
Technology enhanced knowledge management and action learning in
blended training activities.
Group of Technology Tools
Collaboration Technology
Learning m anagement systems
Chat rooms
Web boards
Web blog
Discussion boa r ds
Storage T echnology Data warehouses
Document management systems
Knowledge repositories
Learning Technology
e-Learning courseware
Video Clips
Experts yellow pages
Knowledge maps
Internet search engines
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Table 2.
Knowledge management and action learning in blended training activities.
Steps Activities and Method
Trainee Orientation
1. The organizer
prepares the
(Face to Face)
1.1 The organizer informs the trainees of the training objectives, activities, process, and evaluation criteria.
1.2 Guest lecturer shares the knowledge and the i mportance of involving the new technology into t raining.
1.3 The organizer demons t rates and gives hands-on practice by using communication and collaboration technologies
such as logging in to the relevant we b s i t es, online chat, individual and group web blogs, self-introduction, web board,
announcements, and file-upload.
1.4 Guest lecturer shares the information about knowledge management and action learning.
1.5 The trai nees compl ete an evaluation form of their capabili t y in trainin g design.
1.6 Each trainee submits his/her own current project to the organizer.
2. The trainees identify
problems and desired
knowledge, set up
communiti es of
practice (CoPs).
(Face to Face and
2.1 Each trainee proposes the problems found and describes their work problems to gai n a variety of information, from
face-to-face and online chat channel.
2.2 The trainees summarize and record the problems found at work into their blog.
2.3 The trainees divide the community of practice into 5-person groups, using wor k position and role. Eac h gr oup
has group leader, leader assistant, secretary, and facilitator.
2.4 The trai nees in the community of practice help each other to assess the problems found at work, a nd t hen propose
solutions vi a chat board, and record this information in a group blog.
3. Trainees share the
training, information,
experience and opinions.
(Face to Face and online)
3.1 The trai nees in the community of practice explain the significance and source of t he group’s problems and obs t acles.
3.2 The trai nees in the community of practice propose the current situati on, brainstorm to select the problems that they
thought we re the most important and need rapid re mand to im prove work efficiency.
3.3 The trai nees in the community of practice pose questions about the problem criteria.
3.4 The trai nees in the community of practice propose solutions to solve t he problem s , reflecting on the opinions
gathered from exchanging inform ation via chat and web board.
3.5 The trai nees in the community of practice help to docume nt t he process, b y summariz i ng t he problem s , the
significance, and source of the proble ms, and the solutions used to solve the problems in the group blog.
4. The trainees acquire
new knowledge
4.1 The trainees access to E-Learning
e-Learning: training design and strategy
e-Book: learning psychology of adults, analys i s of t he training needs.
Summari ze the learnin g i n their own blogs
4.2 Each trainee acquires more information on tra ining and media devel opment design from the Internet, and other
knowledge sources provided. Then r ecord the learning in their own blog.
4.3 The facilitator brings together the knowledge from group’s web board, records it, and uploads it to the
facilitator’s own blog, and to group blog.
4.4 The trai nees in the practitione r s ociety discuss, bring their questions, discuss the information that the facilit ator
brought together, propose, brainstorm solutions to solve the problems via chat board, and finally record their findings
in the group blog.
4.5 The trainees meet the online experts in the blended training design via online chat.
4.6 The facilitator leads the community of practice to summarize the solutions, and documents the solutions, and records
them in group blog.
5. The trainees attend
the training in their
knowledge development
groups by sha r ing the
learning and create the
solutions t o solve
problems (Online)
5.1 The facilitator and leader of the community of pr actice of each group share the knowledge, and disc uss plans to
select the potential problems. The group writes up the training project via group chat board and record in the group blog.
5.2 The online expert suggests the guidelines for t r aining projects via chat board and online cha t .
5.3 The trai nees in the community of practice help improve the project and record in gr oup blog.
5.4 The organizer summarizes the activity results, including:
The subm i ss i on of assignments before the deadli ne
The time of attending online courses
The time of recording knowledge i n personal and group blogs
The frequency in expre ss ing the opinions and online debate
5.5 Group leader in each community of practice report the project progress via email and group blog. The trainees
in each community of practice introduce other groups via their group blogs.
5.6 The trai nees in the community of practice help make improvements based on the sugges tions from other groups and
update the informat ion o n t heir group blogs.
6. The trainees apply
the knowle dge to their
(Action Learning
and online)
6.1 The trainees apply the group project to test on their real work.
6.2 The trai nees record the informa t i on found from t he trial into their own blog.
6.3 The facilitator of each community of practice leads the exchanges of opinions, evaluations, and suggest ions after
the trial, and then sum marizes the findings on group blog.
7. The trainees store
own and gro up
knowledge i nto the
system and utilize
the information.
7.1 The organizer suggests the me t hod to manage, store, and utilize the documents in e -book online form a t.
7.2 The trai nees store their own and community of practice knowledge int o the system in the form of knowledge maps
on the web si t e.
7.3 The trainees utilize the knowledge on the web sites for further study.
7.4 The trai nees record the new knowledge from personal and community of practice int o their blog, dividing it into 3
categori es:
Knowledge from training
Knowledge from sharing informa t i on
Knowledge from eLearning
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
End of training
8. The trainees in the
community of practice
propose the project.
(Face to Face)
8.1 The trai nees in each community of practice propose the group projec t and give scores to their own group and the
other groups. Other judges give scores.
8.2 The organizer summarizes the project, and makes comparisons of before and after the training.
8.3 The organizer summarizes the activities.
The assignments that were submit t ed before their deadline
The time in attending the online classes
The time in recording the knowledge into personal and group blogs.
The frequency of expres sing opinions and online debate.
8.4 The management presents the certificates to the trainees and gives the awards to outstanding community
of practice members.
8.5 Each community of practice bri ngs the proposal which is amended along with the suggestions by the experts
and stores it into the system.
8.6 The facilitator of each group invi t es the group members and leader to view their blog and projec t s f rom the training.
8.7 The trainees complete the capability survey in training design after the blended training.
8.8 The trai nees compl ete a survey about the blended training method by using the knowledge management and action
learning approaches.
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