It’s been over a few weeks since my last blog post and believe me, I’ve been thinking about it writing every day but simply couldn’t commit the time as my first priority was to deliver the guided social learning program, Work Connect and Learn Program with Coca Cola Amatil.
You may have read my other posts where I worked out loud through the strategy development and the design and development of the program. However if you missed them, here they are:
- A Way To Work, Connect and Learn in Your Job (my dream comes true to finally try my hand at developing a “cMOOC type” course – or a guided social learning experience by any other name with a client whose willing to give it a go so that it’s a learning experience for us both)
- The Work, Connect and Learn Program: The Strategy Phase (I approach all my work through a performance consultancy approach so it was necessary to undertake a analysis of the performance problem in the workplace before recommending a potential solution and delivery).
- How I Developed The Work, Connect and Learn Program (Decisions were made around what tools I was going to use to develop the program. At the outset, I wanted to develop the program using only the tools that were in the organisation – that is, Lync 2013 and SharePoint 2013 so that I could show how these tools can be personalised and customised to suit context. I had to role model and guide the social learning using the same tools that they had access to).
- First Reflections of a Guided Social Learning Program (I wanted to have a go with a couple of video reflections before and after the first module of the Program after such a huge build up of anxiety, anticipation and trepidation).
A few days ago, I ran the last webinar of Module 4: Learn How to Collaborate (Applying the Tools) and in a way, it was sad that I had finished the program but I’m thankful to have had this opportunity to be involved in such a transformative social learning program with the CCA engineers and maintenance teams. Here are three key reflections I vlogged which included the importance of learning teams to be aware of all the tools they have currently available within their organisation that can be used for learning; the need to maintain some level of professionalism on video; and how to encourage people to actively contribute in forums.
And here’s some more…
LESSON 1: Be Agile in Development
I had developed the all the modules from late November through to late January but I can’t stress the importance of revisiting your content before each module is delivered to ensure that it still meets the need.
Between module 3 and 4, we noted that there were not many people completing their pre- and post-webinar activities in the discussion forum and this concerned us. After discussions with managers, we identified that there was a requirement to have more ‘hands-on’ training at the work sites to show people how to undertake the tasks.
As a result, I changed Module 3 to include a discussion topic around a more pressing problem in their work sites (“What’s Your Top 5 Issues at Your Plant?”) to start conversations around something that is relevant to them and then integrated it into Module 4 which was focussed on how to go about finding information through effective search techniques using SharePoint 2013 and using their new social networking behaviours to link in and find expertise across CCA. The module also included discussions around their perceptions and expectations of social learning.
LESSON 2: Evaluate – Before, During and After the Program – and then After Again
Before the program was developed, we agreed to some key metrics to achieve that aligned to the business outcomes. Some of these, as an example were:
- Number of #Wins to translate back to business as savings or efficiencies (posts that are hashtagged as #wins which have improved a business process or solved a problem which serve as anecdotes and examples of value)
- Increase in number of cross-collaboration projects across sites
- Greater than 80% of the Maintenance & Engineering team have full Lync profiles and SharePoint Profiles with photos
- Decrease in emails and phone calls made to managers
- One new perspective/innovation identified by the Community that is nominated for an internal innovation award
We ran a pre-program evaluation survey to all participants and will run another one next week – one week post program. The survey will provide us data on the value of the program and it will specifically form the basis for the next phase of the program which is the Community Management.
We did not expect that a 5 week program would have all the team members across all sites using and applying the tools but anticipated it was only the start of their journey. It is now up to the community managers to maintain and sustain the community after the Work, Connect and Learn Program and I’ll be working with them through this.
LESSON 3: Video’s a Great Way to Introduce the Topics But Beware of What’s In the Background
I’ve always had a level of discomfort using video in learning – namely the discomfort is my face in the video. However, this Work, Connect and Learn program allowed me to be challenged in this aspect. I know that they could have been improved – that was part of my own learning journey.
For each pre-module introduction video, I tried something a bit different. I used my own web camera and uploaded the video file onto YouTube or I used the Video Manager in YouTube to record and create the annotations. Either way, this enabled me to learn more about YouTube, Video Manager and Play Lists (which was also timely as I delivered a webinar last week to Vocational Sector on Social Media for Educators where I could confidently present and demonstrate YouTube). For a bit of interest, every week, I strategically placed a can of Coke somewhere in the shot. I don’t know if anyone picked up on the moving can of Coca Cola… (that idea came from the Kevin Werbach who did something similar in his Gamification MOOC)
Of course, I did make my own ‘bloopers’ every now and again but I didn’t publish these in the final program – they were for my own viewing pleasure.
One example jumps to mind is that I recorded the introductory video in another room. One of the cats was sitting in the chair behind me and then got up, stretched and yawned, meanwhile the other cat was running around and knocked over a pot plant. I hadn’t heard any of these while recording as I was totally absorbed with the task at hand. On playback, I couldn’t help but laugh and I contemplated whether I should show this video. I decided against it. It’s a fine line between ‘showing your personality’ to people who haven’t met you in person or indeed, know about you through social media or networks.
LESSON 4: Community Facilitator in One Online Space, Lurker in Another
Michelle had set me up with SharePoint access and I actively contributed in the discussion forums as the online facilitator to ensure that the conversations kept going. However, in the wider community, through the CCA and Supply Chain news threads, I felt that this space was not ‘my space’.
At times, I participated in the discussion forums to IT so that I could be across potential solutions for technical issues we were experiencing in the forums but admittedly, I felt awkward participating in the wider news threads as I felt this was not my place to do so as an external consultant.
Once a week, to spur conversations back into the discussion forums, I did place images in the Supply Chain community hub that had been customised with messages for this week’s activities such as the one you see here. Part of me worried about the perception of my own personality that I was portraying with these but my reason was that images are more likely to be viewed and engaged with than just text.
Maybe I was over thinking this? I don’t know. It made me realise that over time, people who know me and/or my blog and who have been reading or connecting with me via social media have a relative understanding and acceptance of my personality, style and manner. However, this new group of people would not have been privy to that, I had to be mindful of this and curb that exuberance a bit.
In the next phase of the project (the Community Management), I will be an observer only supporting those who will be undertaking the management and the facilitation of this new Community of Practice.
LESSON 5:Schedule your Virus Updates to Occur At Other Times NOT During Your Webinar
In a couple of webinars, my screen froze. At the same time, my heart stopped. Luckily, I had a back up laptop also linked into the webinar and it was just a matter of switching computers. I later realised that my PC was doing its update during that time and had frozen the applications running. How could I have missed this?!
LESSON 6: Somewhere, somehow, someone will get the message – keep at it
I’d be lying if I said that this program didn’t keep me up at night. It wasn’t about the design, nor the delivery. It was something else. It was the age old question of MOTIVATION and CHANGE. It was trying to come up with the ‘WHY’. Why are some people motivated to learn and try something new and to others, it’s “take it or leave it?” How could we find the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) for people – and really, was it our responsibility? Where I was looking for tangible evidence (numbers of posts; increase in number of people contributing in forums), I was missing out was was happening on the ground as I ran the sessions from home. I wasn’t privy to the commentary, the anecdotes, the actions of what change I was effecting in their workplace across the sites. Admittedly, I wasn’t expecting 100% of the staff contributing in the forums but my aim was to show them how working like a network enabled them to share different perspectives and insights across the teams and in so doing, reduce business inefficiencies – and make their life easier.
Some people expressed that they had already seen the value of this program at a local level with the plants between Australia and New Zealand sharing information about work processes. Others had already started using Lync 2013 to connect with colleagues interstate. Amusingly one person mentioned that it was like “when email was introduced in our workplace. We didn’t want to use it but over time, we got used to it. And we’ll get used to this.”
I was also heartened to hear some of the feedback in the wrap up of the last module and these were some of the comments:
“We’ve seen so much come through on the discussion forum that a lot of the guys are going in to have a look and even though they may not be participating, they’re reading what’s being written.”
“We’ve already touched base with another site who have the information we need.”
“We all have got to make sure we don’t let it (the community) die, it’s up to us to keep the conversations going”
“I now see it as as forum to go in to solve problems”
So overall, it was a wonderful opportunity to be involved in this program with Michelle Ockers and her team at Coca Cola Amatil. We will be delivering our findings at the Australian Institute of Training and Development Conference in Sydney mid May and by then, we will have more information about how the community has been sustained.