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Points from the introductions

One of the challenges with communities of practice is that there is no “one solution” that “fits all”. Dynamics in every group are quite different and each one needs a unique approach. Active participation is indeed an issue as many really appreciate receiving the information, but only a little part contribute.  (Alice Van der Elstrateten)


One of the greatest challenges/issues with online collaboration, especially communities of practice, is when there is a mismatch between what is expected from a community and what community members actually want. Communities and other learning activities sometimes are designed before some type of KM assessment or diagnostic activity is completed. The expectations can become part of M&E for KM activities. Large communities with many posts may be useful for one community but not another. One community might benefit from a few strong voices, while others are sustained overtime from "lurkers." Making sure that online collaboration is fit and monitored for purpose is important. 

What works? There must be a varied menu of engagement approaches to meet community members needs. This can include recognizing members, informal community huddles, guest facilitators, routine outreach, etc.  Understanding and being responsive to the varied learning needs can make online collaboration fun, doable in our busy schedules, and practical in an information saturated working environment. (Luis Ortiz)


In experiments comparing online and face to face  (f2f) seminars among my students that there was more critical thinking in asynchronous online learning than in synchronous f2f seminars - except for new ideas which spark on hearing someone else saying something different. But anything that requires thought before writing works better when people have more time to think. (David Newman)

What has worked well? Huge acceptance of technical webinars offered to our stakeholders. And some successful examples of virtual workshop designs with cool, simple interactive tools and adjusted agendas. (Simone Staiger)


The main issues I experience when collaborating and interacting online recently have been:

  • maintaining focus and physical comfort when participating in synchronous audio / video workshops over 1 hour in  length
  • lack of desktop space on my monitor to refer to multiple website windows I have been asked to refer to during synchronous audio / video workshops
  • managing multiple profiles, passwords and credentials for the various new software platforms I have been invited to use
  • how much easier it is to sustain interaction through a regular synchronous discussion within a community of practice (one hour, same day, each week, audio plus chat interaction)
  • the value for a community of practice of having a rough note produced of audio discussions by having a dedicated notetaker (non-participant)
  • the challenge of persuading people that this kind of email discussion is not just going to jam up their inbox like regular email does (lack of good case studies)

(Carl Jackson)




Points from the agenda-setting




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