The Knowman project team was present at the last edition of the European Conference on Knowledge Management, in Naples. ECKM is a complex and long-running event that brings together researchers and practitioners from various areas of Knowledge Management, a dynamic place for networking and exchange of ideas.

Considering the practical focus of the Knowman project, aiming to develop an online training platform in the field of KM, offering learning tools in a dynamic format, the Knowman team presented a literature review on Knowledge Pills in Education and Training. The paper developed for the conference has been included in the conference’s proceedings: 

Bolisani, E., Scarso, E., Zieba, M., Durst, S., Zbuchea, A., Lis, A. M., & Kassaneh, T. C. (2022, August). Knowledge pills in Education and Training: A Literature Review. In European Conference on Knowledge Management (Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 89-96).


Object and purpose: Knowledge pills (KPs) are a technique for transferring knowledge through short factual batches of content. In education and vocational training, they can help learners acquire specific pieces of knowledge in a few minutes, through a “microteaching” approach where learners can be involved in active and interactive exercises, quizzes, and games. Thanks to the advancements of multimedia platforms, they can contain a mix of contents, i.e.: lecturer voice, images, videos, or other e-learning applications. This paper explores the state-of-the-art literature on KPs, with a special focus on their actual use as a mechanism to boost effective knowledge transfer and learning processes. The goals are a) to clarify the definition and peculiar characteristics of KPs; b) to classify their main typologies; c) to analyse their implications under a knowledge management perspective, and d) to highlight actual application fields, pros, and possible cons. 

Methodology: This study is based on a  literature review by means of a  search in global citation databases and on a  snowball effect,  with collective participation and sharing among all the authors. The articles found were then selected and carefully analysed. 

Findings: The advantages of KPs can be related to the division of knowledge into small parts, which also fits today’s needs of learners to “study faster” and acquire the specifically required knowledge. In addition, KPs are made of reusable materials and can be more easily updated than traditional supports.  Possible limits are that designing a  KP  can be difficult,  and careful consideration of the actual learning process and the mechanism by which a certain type of knowledge is transferred from a “knower”  to a  “learner”  is required.  

Practical implications:  Findings provide useful insights not only for academics and researchers but also for teachers and trainers dealing with all types of education.