Thursday, November 25, 2010

Right Here in Our Own Little Community!

It has been just about four months since our formal instructional design standards committee morphed into the broader and less formal Innovations in Learning Community of Practice.  We are an internal company group that discusses different learning topics through Yammer each month.  At the end of the month, we have a virtual Meet-up to discuss the Yammer posts.  The core of the community is still made up of a handful of instructional designers from within my department, but we've grown modestly (29 members!) as we have widened our focus from instructional design, to workplace learning.  We have been joined by course developers from other learning groups within the company, classroom facilitators, marketing people, and line employees who have no formal role in workplace learning at all.

As a result of our recent growth, three exciting developments have occurred:
  1. The center of the community is shifting - I am pleased to say that community members from outside the original group from my department are taking an active role in the community.  For the first time, the topic discussion at our next virtual Meet-up will led by a community member from another department. 
  2. The "rules" and norms are changing - Not surprisingly, as other group members take an active role in the community, new rules and new norms are developing.   Timelines for discussions are extending and we are changing the format of our next virtual Meet-up a bit.  I couldn't be happier about this.   I was afraid that this was going to be viewed as "Mike's group."  Now I'm beginning to envision a day when I can step back to the fringes and let others take the lead.  I think it is still a ways away, but this is encouraging.
  3. We've attracted "hobbyists" who may want to turn "pro" - This is the most exciting development so far.  Two community members from line positions have reached out to me to discuss possible career opportunities in learning roles.  One of them is an enthusiastic hobbyist who has done a lot of communications work. She was attracted by our discussions about Articulate Presenter and has even gone as far a purchasing a software license so she can practice what she is learning.  The other is currently in a sales role. He is also in the final stages of completing his Master's in Adult Education. Besides adding new flavors to our community, both of these individuals are now on my radar screen for succession planning.
If you are interested in reading about our development up to this point, review these two previous posts:

Deciding between Formal and Informal Learning Approaches
Community Building with Yammer

And of course, tune back in a later date for additional updates.