Originally published July 27, 2015

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I am frequently asked about the value of knowledge management (KM) certification. I don’t recommend KM certification, but some of the associated training can be helpful.

When I worked at Washington University School of Medicine’s Biomedical Computer Laboratory, we taught a course called “Introduction to Programming the Laboratory Computer” which was aimed at doctors and other medical professionals. In two days, they were supposed to learn how to program a computer using assembly language. This was not a realistic goal, and most of them could not write a computer program after such minimal instruction and experience.

My colleague, Janet Johnson, and I created a spoof of this course, which we called “Survey of Medical Techniques.” In two days, the course was supposed to teach the entire field of medicine to computer scientists, which seemed just as unlikely as teaching assembly language programming to physicians.

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The field of knowledge management spans over 100 KM specialties. It is too broad to be certified in as a whole. Doctors get board certified in a specialty, not in the broad field of medicine. Taking a one-week class in KM and then being anointed CKM is not meaningful, and is generally not respected by experienced KM consultants and thought leaders.

Certification makes sense for narrow specialties within specific products and disciplines, such as:

It doesn’t make much sense for KM, but three organizations have offered KM certification, only one of which is still active:

This is a topic on which strong opinions have been expressed. I recommend reading one or more of these threads and articles:

  1. Part 1…Yet?
  2. Part 2: How Will You Know It’s Real?

Alternatives to KM certification include:

Are you certified in knowledge management? Do you know of other accreditation related to KM? What do you think about the value of KM certification?

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