Friday, June 13, 2008

From a meeting to a community of practice: lessons from the ecollaboration community facilitation


Read this document on Scribd: From a meeting to a community of practice



Sibrenne Wagenaar and I co-facilitated the inter-organizational ecollaboration learning community for two years, basically from a meeting to a community of practice. Since there seems to be an interest to better understand what facilitating a learning community from a communities of practic theory means we decided to document our actions, observations and reflections in a wiki. We used those meticulous observations to describe our way of facilitating this learning communities. Maybe because of our own enthousiasm, or because of the detailed documentation, the article has become rather long: 20 pages. It was accepted by the Journal of the International Association of Facilitators and can be found online here, but you have to be a member to access it there. The full citation is:

Wagenaar, S., & Hulsebosch, J. (2008). From 'a meeting' to 'a learning community' Community of Practice theory-informed facilitation of an inter-organizational community of practice: the case of the e-collaboration learning community. Group Facilitation: A Research and Applications Journal, 9, 4-25

Fortunately we are allowed to make it available more widely. Therefore I have uploaded it using Scribd (I first tried Edocr, but that didn't work) and you should be able to access it through this link.

We explain 11 principles that we have tried to put into practice. I think some of these principles are make it clear that facilitating a community of practice is not the same as facilitating a workshop or training, it's a different art. We tried to make it 10 or 7, but couldn't manage to reduce the number!

1. Act as learning facilitator-practitioner
2. Co-facilitate to reduce blind spots
3. Embed learning in actual practices
4. Stimulate self-organisation
5. Facilitate conversations in public and private spaces
6. Use the variety in the community
7. Balance the focus on tangible and intangible products
8. Guide meta-level reflections
9. Distinguish between two layers of practice in the learning community: the level of individual practices, and the level of collaborative practices
10. Manage sponsor relationships
11. Manage the boundaries

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