In this post I reflect on the social learning skills of the team in which I work. This is the second part of the social learning skills review I completed as part of the Social Learning Practitioner Program.
I lead a small core team of capability consultants and instructional designers who create and support implementation of learning programs and resources across our Business Unit. We work closely with Capability Managers in a range of geographical areas who represent the managers and learners who are our internal customers. They also drive local use of programs, and are key change agents. We refer to this extended team as our ‘Capability Community’.
We use Sharepoint 2010 as our Enterprise Social Network (ESN). We have a public community site which is used primarily to publish learning materials and reference documents for meetings or joint projects. These documents are rarely developed collaboratively. Our community meets fortnightly via teleconference, supported by online document/screen sharing using Microsoft Lync. Outside of this meeting we use email to communicate as a group rather than Sharepoint. Community members support each other to solve performance problems and share resources when asked; however this is done primarily in response to a specific request from an individual rather than sharing resources and experience as an ongoing part of how we work.
I have attempted to introduce some use of Sharepoint’s collaboration and social features, with limited take up. Working together socially supported by our ESN is different to how our community members currently work together or with other teams that they participate in, and I have not been explicit with the group about the change in behaviour that I am trying to encourage and why. Also, use of external online and social media tools to support personal learning by individual team members is limited, hence community members do not have this experience to adapt or model.
Our interaction in our fortnightly one hour catchups has matured from status reporting and project decisions two years ago to now starting each meeting with verbal updates of what each person has been working on and engage in more discussion of our experiences on common activities. This has helped the team to identify more opportunity to share resources and draw out/upon each others experience. I think the group is well positioned to take the next step and try narrating our work online.
Our ESN will be upgraded to Sharepoint 2013 next month, along with relocation of our department files from a series of folders in Windows Explorer segregated by geography to Sharepoint team sites set up by function . The new team site structure creates significant opportunity for people doing similar work across the organisation to better connect and share, and we can set up our online space in a way that better supports collaboration and social learning.
Our community met face to face last week for two days to refresh our capability development strategy – our first face to face session in well over a year. We committed to improve our knowledge sharing practices and trial use of Sharepoint to support continuous learning in our Community, providing a role model for other groups and building experience that will help us to support development of other communities in our business unit.
Please leave your observations on this ‘case study’ or tips on how this team could become more ‘social’ in how we work in Comments below. I’ll do an update post later in the year to create a case study.