Using Informal Learning Instances to identify tacit knowledge (in hospitality workers)

Through a constructivist Grounded Theory approach, supervisors and front-line staff from two different resorts in the northern province of La Union (Philippines) were interviewed. The primary purpose was to help them look back over their hospitality career and identify key informal learning instances that assisted in their career growth. The data was synthesized through three tacit knowledge grids that gave rise to five major informal learning categories: Job skills, Career skills, Communication skills, Customer skills & Interpersonal skills.

Here is an intriguing 10-minute Youtube graphical representation of the Project.

Links to a one-page PDF overview (including citations) of the key findings from each grid:

KEY FINDINGS: Cognitive vs Technical: GRID 1:  KEY FINDINGS-tech-cog

KEY FINDINGS: Group vs Individual: GRID 2:  KEY FINDINGS – ind-group

KEY FINDINGS: Universal vs Context: GRID 3:  KEY FINDINGS – contxt – uni

Please add your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.



PS:  If your interested in subsequent developments to identify/codify tacit knowledge, please feel free to contact me at


You might think I am crazy … but I am keenly interested to work with an organization / institution in crisis.


Yes, you read that right.   Put simply, I am looking to help alleviate any organizational / educational nightmares your group may be experiencing. 

I am an Education Management Professional, Canadian, with an M.Ed from Australia who has just completed a social enterprise project in the Philippines.  I am now however, looking abroad for a seemingly insurmountable challenge.

Is your group:


  • Struggling with institutional chaos?
  • Concerned a major project is going off the rails?
  • Realizing the business model is unrealistic?
  • Dealing with a wayward school, dysfunctional staff or an unfocused curriculum?
  • Searching for someone to help you with a shift in organizational behaviour or corporate culture?
  • Facing diversity issues?
  • Needing someone who is solutions focused and is not afraid to ask the hard questions or take responsibility for the hard decisions?

Then please reach out:

A few achievements from the past 25 years:

  • As a Dean, started a private college in Vancouver from scratch. (Yes it is still running strong).
  • Facilitated the curriculum development for six TVET colleges in KSA.
  • Created an online content to assess 20,000+ Filipinos for BPO jobs.
  • Worked in 5 countries and conducted Biz Dev trips to an additional 10.
  • Created 10 welfare-to-work programs (BPO, Stagecraft, chef training, career prep, etc.) in a few different countries.
  • Taught (Biz, OB, Hospitality, ESL) to students from over 25 countries.
  • Created thousand plus hours of curriculum (old school, blended & online learning) and assessments for institutions in 10 countries.
  • Completely revamped a Canadian Young Offender program into a more holistic approach.
  • Conducted numerous corporate training staff development gigs throughout South Korea (Samsung, Hyundai, etc.).
  • Honoured to have worked with (and for) peoples from all faiths, cultures and gender orientations.
  • Equally at home in the boardroom, the classroom, the shop floor or the areas of town most people don’t like to go.


I am certainly no superman, and even after all these years still have a few rough edges – but am somewhat fearless and have a strong desire to take on a monumental task.

If seriously interested:


A Philosophy of Learning (& Education)

Learning is an action verb!  Education is a noun.

For decades I used to believe that education (not educators) and learning were so interconnected that I assumed they were two sides of the same coin. However, over the past 10 years I have come to realize (through Masters research, working in a number of different countries, and a deep dive into tacit knowledge research) that learning and education need to be as conceptually separate as the church & state discussion. (more)

I see learning as ubiquitous in human activity.  The only thing that changes is the context or setting.  This has huge implications about one’s epistemology and ontology. How we as individuals define (whether implicit or explicit) learning will influence assumptions we make about how others ‘make-sense’ of content in any situation.  (More)

From both a research and instructional design (ID) mindset, I have come to greatly appreciate a cluster approach. For researchers, it provides yet another option for deconstruction of learning phenomena. Within ID, it allows for a flexible design of how, when and where content/activity is delivered, as well as being able to build in time for individual purposes and processes.

If life-long-learning is nonlinear, then should not a certain amount of content delivery also be nonlinear? This greatly changes (and frees up) course/program design and provides the educator with much more flexibility. This also changes the role of the educator!  A realignment of our role from content expert to ‘content curator’ also puts content itself into a new perspective. (More)

Just as Schon made the distinction between reflection-on-practice and reflection-in-practice, I will make a distinction between ‘context-of-curriculum’ and ‘context-in- curriculum’. ‘Context of’ refers to the “why” we deliver content we do, and ‘context in’ deals more with the “what” – specifics of certain content. (More)

International Students

For those focusing on International students I ask, how familiar are you with your international students’ pain points? How well are your international students adapting to the tacit expectations of your learning and assessment processes? If you are actively targeting international students, you need to get a handle on your CIP (Culturally Inclusive Pedagogy)!  (More)

The ROI of CIP is pretty obvious:
-Greater retention rates
-Increased completion rates
-Increased student success rates
Any or all three can lead to increased financial growth, more word-of-mouth referrals, better marketing stories, and a potential for more institutional partnerships.


Any evaluation of a program, course, person (teacher, instructor, etc.) or student should be focused on the achievement of authentic measurable and observable outcomes of the student.  This holds true for any setting, whether academic, vocational training or corporate contracts.