DIKW Methodology



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The Internet gives marketers a multitude of frameworks, guidelines, and models to follow. But which ones make the most sense for what you have to offer? Online courses, journal articles, and annual conferences are a large aspect of association and medical societies marketing campaigns. All of these items fit well into the DIKW framework, so if you haven’t heard of the DIKW Methodology (or pyramid, hierarchy, etc.), here’s your crash course.

DIKW Methodology


The general idea is to explain the functional relationship between Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom. If we start with “Data”, we may have a lot of facts and observations, but they are likely unorganized and difficult to make any sense of. Only after we really think about the “Data” and what it means does it turn into “Information”. We’ve now made connections between the data points and know which ones are important. “Information” gives “Data” meaning, but if you only provide nurses and doctors with more “Information”, what will they actually take away? We need to take that “Information” and turn it into “Knowledge”. To get to Knowledge, we start to connect those information points and see associations between them. Some may connect well, with a logical sequence, whereas others don’t at all. “Knowledge” is very instructive, and can be a good baseline for learning. However, where you can make a difference as an association, is to offer learning opportunities that categorize as “Wisdom”. To turn “Knowledge” courses/materials into “Wisdom” you are providing a path to impact your learner’s practice. For associations and medical societies, that can mean providing actual practice interventions which are actionable for your member today. It’s not uncommon for associations and medical societies to already have a lot of opportunity to provide “Wisdom” utilizing their current courses and materials; the true task is identifying where your current offerings fall (DIK or W?) and how you can enhance those offerings. The goal doesn’t always have to be to get to “Wisdom.” Some courses and materials may be better served as providing “Information” or “Knowledge”. For example, an exam prep course by itself is likely going to categorize as “Information” or “Knowledge.” However, after the learner completes the actual exam, a follow-up framework for how to apply the learning to practice could be considered as providing “Wisdom”.

What courses are you providing that are impacting your member’s practice? Evaluate your offerings first to think about the impact they have on your learners. Are you simply providing data? Does your offering have good information but doesn’t have a clear connection to your learner’s work? Have you heard from your members that your courses provide good instruction but they just aren’t sure how to apply this knowledge? Ask yourself these questions when evaluating your course offerings to help you think through what your current offerings provide to your members.


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