Sunday 28 February 2021

Building Learning Networks Online

 Some while ago, when describing how I was a convert to online workshops, even including skills development, I wrote:  I was clear that some of the key skills I see myself bringing to that process, such as the creation of a safe but rigorously challenging atmosphere, rely on physical presence; likewise, some of the benefits of the workshops I run, such as building connections and networks (and to some extent, I stand by that).

And now, perhaps, I am standing a little back from that.

We had a review session this week, following the first of the online version of my Negotiating Skills Workshop.  It was an opportunity for participants to get together again, to compare notes on what they had done and learned since the workshop, by trying the learning out in the workplace, and to re-commit to continuing to learn.

It was heartening to hear how enthusiastic people were about the learning, but what really impressed me was that they concluded the review by committing to keep working together as a learning community. So they are all going to read Getting to Yes, and get back together to talk about their learning (and how they have further applied it) in a month's time.  And then decide what next to read (I have given them a few suggestions) and so on.

That strikes me as very significant, not least as the feedback from many programmes that we have evaluated over the longer term is that the building of networks has proved to be one of the most valuable aspects.  Indeed, quite by chance, I heard from someone who had left the University where she did a leadership programme, but still continues to meet with her cohort regularly - ten years on!

It is not just chance that this happens. The Thinking Environment approach to facilitation (follow the tag if you want to know more) will reliably engage people in ways that create high levels of trust and therefore the likelihood of a continuing relationship.  But what is interesting to me, and what I had not expected, is that this works even online.


With thanks to  Chris Montgomery and Nicolas Picard for sharing their photos on Unsplash

No comments:

Post a Comment