Monday, 10 November 2008

'A box in a box': learning to learn

With a "box in a box" Arja Aarnoudse of PSO, visualised the idea behind the meeting on learning and knowledge management that took place at Oxfam Novib, on 7 November 2008. The aim of the meeting was to reflect on our learning processes and learn from each other to improve our learning interventions.

The fourteen participants of various Dutch development organisations expressed a commitment to achieve results as a learning group. 'Learning by doing' will be the approach of the organisations; all participants agreed to apply the learning in their organisation and to provide feedback on the learning in the next meeting. The group agreed to meet approximately three times per year.

Participants brought along succesful experiences on learning within their organisation and some burning questions. Among others, these questions included "how to involve partners" and "how to connect learning islands". A shared concern was also identified in the need for "ownership" in the learning processes. A matching exercise, where burning questions were linked with possible answers was used to select a topic for a more in depth analysis. Four participants presented a case; Pieter de Baan (SNV), Irma van Leeuwen (ICCO), Rheinard Skinner (Bernard van Leer foundation) and José Utrera (Cordaid).

Irma van Leeuwen presented the ICCO experience on 'action reflection groups'. These are subgroups in which ICCO staff reflects on various topics relevant to their day-to-day work. Objective of this initiative is to improve effectiveness and program quality. Groups worked on a well defined question, towards a concrete product, within a limited time frame.

Two people volunteered to be active listeners to the case presentation. René Schoenmaker, one of these active listeners asked whether ICCO was satisfied with the results achieved by these learning groups. According to Irma, some changes were indeed visible. Next week an evaluation will take place and the decision will be made whether or not to continue with the active promotion of action reflection groups within ICCO.

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By Stephanie Zwier

1 comment:

Judith, IICD said...

Thanks for this Stephanie and Irma. Will add the link to the wiki page on our intranet where I wrote an update for my colleagues.