Knowledge Management for Educational Information Systems


  • Christopher A. Thorn Wisconsin Center for Education Research



Case Studies, Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, Information Management, Management Information Systems, Student Records, Urban Education


This article explores the application of Knowledge Management (KM) techniques to educational information systems—particularly in support of systemic reform efforts. The first section defines knowledge and its relationship to information and data. There is also a discussion of various goals that might be pursued by organizations using KM techniques. The second section explores some of the fundamental design elements of an educational KM system. These include questions surrounding the unit of analysis, distributed computer resources, and organizational characteristics of successful KM efforts. Section three outlines the benefits that organizations expect to gain by investing in KM. Section four is a case history of the introduction of a district-level data system and the parallel efforts to support the aggregation and reporting of high-stakes educational outcomes for 8th grade students in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) district. Finally, there are some preliminary conclusions about the capacity of an urban district in a complex policy environment to respond to the knowledge management needs of a decentralized system.


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Author Biography

Christopher A. Thorn, Wisconsin Center for Education Research

Christopher Thorn is a researcher and Director of Technical Services at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a principal investigator on several projects focused on developing open source tools and collaborative online environments for analysis of video data. He is also engaged in research on information system design for school improvement. Chris is chair-elect of the AERA Technology and Telecommunication Committee. Chris completed his Doctor of Sociology (sociology of technology & decision making) at the University of Bielefeld, Germany. His earlier work was focused on R&D collaboration between unlikely partners.




How to Cite

Thorn, C. A. (2001). Knowledge Management for Educational Information Systems. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 9, 47.