Six weeks ago I put out a call for expressions of interest in a Future Ready Learning Community. I did this by posting the video below on LinkedIn and Twitter. In this video I share my aspiration to help address the challenges of ensuring that the learning profession remains relevant, closing the skills gap for learning professionals and teams, and furthering modern learning practices in organisations. I am considering starting a community of practice to help meet these goals. I asked for expressions of interest from people interested in being actively involved and helping to co-design the community.
There was a lot more interest than I had anticipated. I have a list of over 50 people from a range of countries and at different stages of their careers in the learning profession. This tells me that my aspirations have struck a chord at some level. The group diversity is an opportunity to discover more about the people who share these aspirations and define the value proposition of the community. This level of interest led me to rethink how to approach design and the level of effort required on my part to do it well.
The problems and opportunities I introduced in the video are important. Whatever I do to address them I’d like to do it well, particularly as I’ve invited other people to contribute. I had planned to commence community design in September with a survey and focus groups. I now realise that I’m not ready to give this project the focus that it requires.
I’ve identified three pre-requisites to starting design work:
1. Complete work on several existing ‘big rock’ projects I have underway in my business,
2. Recruit and on-board a Virtual Assistant to improve my capacity, and
3. Deepen my Human-Centred Design (HCD) skills and/or sourcing these skills.
I’ve thought a lot about how to approach community design. This weekend I reviewed some materials on design thinking. One resource I looked at was the Coal Services Innovators Toolkit. Shawna Murray provided this as a resource to accompany her Learning Uncut podcast episode on supporting work with human-centred design. I commend this resource to anyone interested in using HCD. As I looked through it I realised that I may have moved too quickly down the design path. I was getting ready to design a particular solution (i.e. a community of practice) without doing enough research to understand the problems it addresses, who it’s for and other ways of addressing the problem(s). I really enjoy social learning, especially being communities of practice. This could be biasing my view of the best solution. Truly an aha! moment for me.
In regard to deepening or sourcing HCD skills I am seeking a mentor to advise me on options. I have someone in mind. I anticipate working with my mentor to plan my design approach in October / November. At this point I shall update everyone who expressed an interest in the community regarding my plan.
I anticipate being in a position to kick off the design phase for this big rock in March 2020. Thank you to everyone who has expressed interest. Be assured I am highly motivated to proceed with this project and will keep you updated periodically.
If anyone else is interested in being part of the co-design process please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to express interest and I shall include you in updates.