Friday, January 19, 2007

Seven sites in seven days 8-14 Jan 07

Some silence has ensued, mostly because I've had my head in strategy and tactics for online community development. One of the slides I produced (with a small modification suggested by my friend and colleague Tom Franklin) appears above. Because of this community focus, I'm devoting almost all of this week's seven sites to Communities of Practice (CoP) material.

  1. CPsquare is the CoP for CoP facilitators, theorists, and practitioners. One of the useful pages is "The reification of our practice: our resource base", with links to various articles on practice. Some of the remaining links on this page come from this resource base.

  2. Weaving Together Online and Face-To-Face Learning: A Design From A Communities Of Practice Perspective describes heuristics (here meaning common experiences) of particpants in mixed mode online and F2F learning communities / CoPs.

    The abstract reads "Weaving together online and face-to-face learning improves the quality of working in both media. Based on the observations of nine different experiments that went through a similar process of weaving together these two media we share our observations of outcomes and an evolving design framework from a community of practice perspective. Arguing that weaving participation using different media in succession is different from blended or hybrid learning, we suggest that careful design of an online ramp-up can make a face-to-face event more potent, and the subsequent online collaboration more productive. Key elements of this design process are inclusion, interaction, and social structure designed for the negotiation of meaning. We offer heuristics that help trace the threads from first online contact to the development of productive relationships at later phases in an emerging community of practice."

  3. Continuing the on-lin off-line theme, phase change occurs in the transition between on-line and off-line meetings by CoP members. One group of CoP practitioners made notes of various kinds (text, including a poem, drawings, images) on the phase change they experienced, and the growth that is enabled by the phase change. Chapter 3 deals with the synergistic effect of phase change.

  4. The Foundations of Community of Practice Workshop Final Handbook (from 2004). A participant course handbook for the training supplied by Etienne Wenger and CPsquare colleagues. A good start for anyone thinking of doing some CoP training themselves.

  5. I like the how to guide provided by Teasing "readers" of an online forum to communicate.

  6. Anyone interested in cross cultural CoPs might turn to Cultural Crossings: Using Stories to Inform Your Learning Journey. As a taster, the authors provide ten strategies useful (or, perhaps, essential) for building cross-cultural CoPs. They are:
    • Common goals and commitment
    • Communication protocols
    • Learning about self
    • Importance of emotions
    • Cultural brokers
    • Feedback
    • Resolving conflicts and misunderstandings
    • Surfacing and owning assumptions
    • Respect and openness
    • Importance of trust
    The authors recommend that "Successfully applying these strategies ... will help people build trust, which is the bedrock of deep, sustained relationships."

  7. So I've dried up on the CoP bookmarks. "That's only six links" you say. True, so how about a quick link to Applied Empathy: A Design Framework for Meeting Human Needs and Desires. Sounds good, huh? And it generally is an interesting take on a Maslow-like hierarchy of needs (Participation /Engagement /Productivity /Happiness /Well-Being) that might be fulfilled in product design. I can't say that I fully mesh with the vacuum cleaner as exemplar in a hierarchy of fulfilled needs, which makes me think that, as applied, the hierarchy is not a hierarchy per se, but rather a list of categories where a product may be ranked as to how it contributes to particular categories. If we were dealing with a hierarchy, I think that there may be rather different products that hit my well-being spot. How about a fully functioning National Health Service that runs with BUPA-like efficiency? Ahh, dream on...
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