Saturday, March 19, 2011

En_Nu_Online; Inspiring book providing tips about online facilitation!

According to a wide based research of the American government around 80 % of learning is informal. People learn most when they do 'learning on the job' and do a 'critical self-reflection or in social interaction with others'. Only 20 % is mastered through formal learning situations such as reading, participating in trainings, coaching, teamwork meetings and participating in networks. According to Joitske Hulsebosch and Sibrenne Wagenaar, authors of En_Nu_Online , social media play an increasing role in the informal learning proces of professionals. After having a particular experience which emotionally touch professionals, they search for information or peers at the internet. Discussion groups such as Linkedin, facebook and listserver groups provide a platform to do 'informal learning' by reflection and social interaction with colleagues.

The authors Joitske Hulsebosch and Sibrenne Wagenaar highlight 3 dimensions on how you can use and apply social media to build your capacities as a professional.
1. To develop your own strategy of learning and profiling yourself.
2. How to apply social media tools for strengthening teamwork
3. How to facilitate an online exchange process

ExamplesSome useful examples are given on how professionals succeeded in applying social media in their work. One professional explains that he uses twitter to update his professional competencies. 'Everyday I gain valuable information, youtube videos and useful links which I use in my trainings.'

Generally interviewees confirm it takes around 60 days to adapt new behaviour. One manager of an NGO says; 'Before I thought it would take too much of my time, but now I have integrated Linkedin discussions, twitter and reading blogposts in my work. I can not imagine a life without. I have much quicker access to strategic information and do not feel obliged to ask assistance for pending questions. It has changed my perspective on how to manage affairs.'

A teammanager confirms their discussion platform and blogspot has deepened their quality of work. 'Before we have our f2f meetings, we can share and express our concerns or issues at a wiki platform. When we have our f2f meetings we can easier touch the most sensitive issues. We also share stories about new developments and trends at our blogspot. Every week a team member reads a book or an interesting article and publishes an article at our blog. I have noticed that if a teammember commits himself to write an article, it helps to get things (such as reading a book) accomplished.'
Online facilitationOnline facilitation is still a new domain which needs to be explored further. Useful examples are given on how to set up an online process with skype and discussion groups. Blogposts and wikis are used to document information and build up institutional memory with a group. E-conferences and Communities of Practise (CoPs) are some tangible examples where the support of an online facilitator is needed. Simon Koolwijk conducted last year jointly a E-Conference with the Hendrik Kraemer Institute and the Act Allicance to exchange experiences about International Humanitarian Law. See an evaluation at: E-Conference?! Technology for the good!

Joitske Hulsebosch and Sibrenne Wagenaar address 8 competencies (based on a publication of Nancy White) an online facilitator should have:
1. Self perception; have an insight in own strengthes and weaknesses;
2. Ability to communicate online;
3. Joint learning capability
4. Facilitation skills with a feeling for group dynamics and interaction;
5. Intercultural sensitivity and experience and how to deal with cultural differences;
6. High level of tolerance in dealing with different perspectives and types of communication;
7. Capacity to set up (online) discussion processes.
8. Synthetic capacities: Abilities to summarize and keep overview.

Combinations of f2f meetings with online interchangeSibrenne Wagenaar stresses that online discussion processes combined with f2f meetings work best. 'When people meet each other face to face, they get a feeling for somebody else and they build relationships in addressing each other when group tasks need to be accomplished. Therefore a f2f component is prefered in building an effective group through online interchange.' However, online interchange adds a new dimension. Joitske Hulsebosch says; 'People have different conversations (more indepth and meaningfull) with each other f2f after they have exchanged experiences online'. 'It also matches people today's needs of flexibility and mobility.'
On the 19th May 2011 the International Association of Facilitators - Benelux (IAF) organises a workshop in Utrecht, where Joitske and Sibrenne will update professional facilitators about the opportunities with online facilitation. The workshop will opportunities to practise with online facilitation. For more information>>>

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