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Communities of Practice

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Dave Montague

on 4 December 2015

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Transcript of Communities of Practice

Started at OCASI in 1999 as a web designer

Manager of IT and New Media since 2008

Hired as tech support for the "Extranet" - the first attempt at an online CoP for the sector

Been searching for a viable CoP ever since
About Me (Dave Montague)
Relate lessons learned as we launched several online sector CoPs

Review the reasons why, I think, traditional sector online CoPs aren't
Make a pitch to embrace a
different model for sector CoPs
A Quick Refresher on CoPs
# of posts / replies
# of resources shared
# of users signed up
# of groups created
# of daily log-ins
The Extranet
Sector's first online CoP
Launched in 1998, long before
Facing Reality
Too ambitious
Not enough support
Extranet was
This time will be different!
Launched in 2004 from the ashes of the Extranet
Removed the password requirement
Took out the overly-
ambitious collaboration
How about
a Discussion Forum?
2 years
600 sign ups
81 posts
15 different authors
The traditional CoP model of spontaneous interaction is not going to work in this sector

Facing Reality
less than 1 post per week
Keep it simple, and people will start to connect, right?
Not Dead Yet!
Wiki will live on as a sector archive

Amazed at how much content the sector has created that isn't accessible any more
Wiki had some great involvement at the beginning
Facing Reality
AtWork Wiki
Lowered Expectations
Set up Media Wiki site in 2012
Migrated archived content from the At Work site
Sector CoP
Discussion Forum
30,000 members
62,000 posts
Full-time staff
Big audience
A new staff

A new plan
A new hope
Used in innovative ways
group agenda planning
event promotion
archiving old content
project homepages
Projects, research, CFPs, flyers, videos, etc
Why don't traditional CoPs work in the sector?
Settlement is local
Settlement is immediate
Settlement is about conversations not 'things'
What do settlement workers value?
The PD CoP
Online learning
for settlement workers
6000 students
1500 Certificates in 2014/15
3833 posts last year alone
Why? How?
Workers are willing to work through social and technical barriers for formal PD opportunities
Going forward with a national CoP
The next attempt at a sector CoP has to be built around PD

Instead of spending money on finding 'best practice' documents spend it on courses that teach best practices
In Search of a Viable Model for
Online Communities of Practice in the Settlement Sector

Icons Credit:
The Noun Project
Going strong since 2005

"Groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly" - Etienne Wenger
Typical Short-term
Indicators of CoP Success
Share your

Submit your events, news,
Collaboration Tools
from us or sector leaders

No time

No permission

Not a priority
How had the sector's desire or ability to collobarate online changed in the last 5 years?
Even though everyone sees value in collaboration, we were not making progress in moving the sector online to do it

It was time to move past Sector CoPs and focus on other projects
Will traditional CoPs ever work in the

share information / resources

collaborate / coordinate

network / build group cohesion
"Computerization" of Sector was just beginning
Full transcript