Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Community Building with Yammer

I always have to remind myself that whenever we try new approaches to learning at work things start slowly, build gradually, eventually gain momentum, and ultimately become institutionalized.  Right now I am in the "starts slowly" phase with my attempt to create a Community of Practice out of a loosely formed group of people who are interested in workplace learning at my company.

But isn't that the way an online community is supposed to form? An individual shares some content online that is of personal interest.  Others with common interests discover it and share similar content of their own.  Conversations begin to flow about it.  After a while one person puts up a flag and calls it a group.  That is exactly what is happening with our Innovations in Learning group.  What is the Innovations in Learning group?

It is a Yammer-based Community of Practice group open to anyone in my company who is interested in workplace learning. The group primarily comprises learning professionals but we encourage anyone interested in learning to join the conversations.  We decided to focus on a new topic each month using Yammer for discussion and sharing resources, links, and articles.  At the end of each month, we have a virtual Meet-up using Microsoft Live Meeting. Our topic for September is Video Conferencing. We will discuss the topic asynchronously throughout the month. Our Meet-up is scheduled for September 24.  A week before the Meet-up I will send meeting invitations to all group members through Yammer.   I'll include the discussion questions that we will go through during the Meet-up.

We had our first Meet-up in August.  Only six of our 23 members participated in the month-end discussion.  Despite the low turn-out, I'm encouraged.  This is new to everyone.  It was only our first meeting.  As I said earlier, we are in the "starts slowly" phase.  I know the momentum will build and that ultimately our community will thrive.   Once the members of our group get comfortable with the process, I envision us replicating it to foster learning communities around other topics that are important in our company.

1 comment:

  1. Update: We had our second Meet-up at the end of September. Once again our turn-out was low - only six people. Except for me, it was a different six people than the group that attended the August Meet-up. I'll have to work on my strategy for attracting repeat customers. For the month of October our topic is tips and techniques for getting the most out of Articulate Presenter. If anyone has links to tips that I can share with the group, please pass them on.