Monday, 2 July 2007

e-collaboration and the ICCO learning networks: Report from a knowledge sharing session at ICCO, 28 June 2007

On 28 June, some 20 ICCO Alliance staff joined a session to be updated on different learning activities in the Alliance.

The first part of the session shared the results of an e-conference on capacity assessment and development (CAD) that was held in the first quarter of 2007. Joitske Hulsebosch and Simon Koolwijk outlined the objectives, process followed, tools used (dgroups and skype) and lessons learned. The presentation provides more details. Read the full report.

The second part of the session was a presentation by Peter Ballantyne on 'Knowledge Sharing Approaches and Tools for Learning in the ICCO Alliance.' This outlined the status of the project to develop an approach and tools to support learning through more effective information management and exchange. The presentation provides more details.

Do's and don'ts of e-conferencing – based on the CAD experience
  • Combine face-to-face, dgroup, skype and other platforms as tools in involving and stimulating people to learn.

  • Avail a budget and time for a moderator / facilitator who will keep the group active. An e-conference requires committed facilitation.

  • Focus on a specific theme which is a priority to the users. When the theme is important enough, participants are willing to cross different hurdles to get accustomed to e-collaboration.

  • A homogenous group facilitates communication and participation.

  • Start with a smaller learning group or community of practice; 10 - 25 participants is optimal, but design for expansion.

  • Thoroughly prepare the e-conference.

  • Obtain regular feedback from participants to make the technologies and the learning processes work.
  • A Dgroup alone does not always work for e-collaboration

  • Do not develop a learning environment without facilitation

  • Do not overload people with too many mails without helping them to deal with it. (possible solutions are daily digests, online reading (not receiving mails) or separate discussion threads to which people can subscribe)

  • Do not think that one time facilitation or introduction of e-learning tools is enough. It requires a lot of care, facilitation and attention.

  • Don't design a rigid program whereby all participants need to participate in all steps; design for flexibility in participation.

Issues arising from the awareness session

  1. Develop a learning alliance toolkit. When to start and how to start?
  2. Train people in knowledge sharing methods (Wiki, blogs, bookmarking, dgroups, etc).
  3. Tp make e-collaboration work, a mind shift is needed in the Alliance.
  4. What are the structural solutions to become a learning organisation? Does management create conditions/ support communities of practice sufficiently?
  5. How do people learn? Info management is just one aspect. What works for partners? What are partners requirements?
  6. There need to be “private” or closed spaces as well as the open forums.
  7. What level and kind of facilitation is needed to support the learning networks?
  8. The dream is to find a solution to all the meetings?
  9. To be effective, the electronic and web-based tools require clear organisational focuses.
Both presentations are available on the learning support web site (

Download the report.

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