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Learning and Skills in the Knowledge Economy


  • Ken Ducatel


Knowledge and learning are widely regarded as defining features of the modern economy. They are a focus of intense interest amongst policy makers as well as academics. Important recent attempts have been made to try to elucidate the interactions between the different forms of knowledge: especially codified knowledge (mainly know-what and know-why) and tacit knowledge (know-how and know-who). This paper extends this approach by arguing that the key vectors of innovation and growth lie in the dynamic interactions between codified and tacit knowledge. This basic insight reinforces the idea that effective learning takes place through a combination of experiential learning (mainly tacit) and formal learning (mainly codified), which places a large question mark over current systems of education and training which still tend to separate these phases of learning. The paper also questions approaches to teaching and learning which continue to regard ‘skills’ as attributes of individuals. In fact, most skills are rather specific to the social environments in which they are acquired and applied. This explains a considerable amount of the difficult of recruiting or transferring ‘qualified personnel’. In policy terms, this raises significant challenges to both employers and educators to embed learning routines into the work environment and to validate experiential learning in the workplace by accrediting these practical skills in ways which will generalise them and give them a longer term value in the labour market.

Suggested Citation

  • Ken Ducatel, 1998. "Learning and Skills in the Knowledge Economy," DRUID Working Papers 98-2, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:98-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Allan Næs Gjerding, 1996. "Organisational Innovation in the Danish Private Business Sector," DRUID Working Papers 96-16, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yoguel, Gabriel, 2000. "Creating capabilities in local environments and production networks," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), August.
    2. John Bradley Shaw & Douglas Hamilton, 1999. "Strategy 2010: Planning Economic Development in Northern Ireland," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(9), pages 885-890.
    3. Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, Banji & Lal, Kaushalesh, 2004. "Learning New Technologies by SMEs in Developing Countries," UNU-INTECH Discussion Paper Series 09, United Nations University - INTECH.
    4. Heijke, J.A.M. & Meng, C.M. & Ramaekers, G.W.M., 2002. "An investigation into the role of human capital competences and their pay-off," ROA Research Memorandum 3E, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).

    More about this item


    Information; tacit knowledge; innovation;

    JEL classification:

    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness


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