Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal (KM&EL), Vol 7, No 2 (2015)

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Knowledge scaffolding visualizations: A guiding framework

Elitsa Alexander, Sabrina Bresciani, Martin J. Eppler


In this paper we provide a guiding framework for understanding and selecting visual representations in the knowledge management (KM) practice. We build on an interdisciplinary analogy between two connotations of the notion of “scaffolding”: physical scaffolding from an architectural-engineering perspective and scaffolding of the “everyday knowing in practice” from a KM perspective. We classify visual structures for knowledge communication in teams into four types of scaffolds: grounded (corresponding e.g., to perspectives diagrams or dynamic facilitation diagrams), suspended (e.g., negotiation sketches, argument maps), panel (e.g., roadmaps or timelines) and reinforcing (e.g., concept diagrams). The article concludes with a set of recommendations in the form of questions to ask whenever practitioners are choosing visualizations for specific KM needs. Our recommendations aim at providing a framework at a broad-brush level to aid choosing a suitable visualization template depending on the type of KM endeavour.

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Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal (KM&EL)
ISSN 2073-7904


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Laboratory for Knowledge Management & E-Learning

Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong