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  • 1 - Forming a COP - Establishing a Community of Practice to Enhance Training & Technical Assistance
    conference or at an orientation But keep in mind that launches can work virtually as well When forming a COP among your TTA participants first consider whether you will pre assign groups or allow for self selection Pre assigning works well when the COP is highly integrated into other elements of your TTA program This may be the case in the following situations Your training series includes homework that lends itself to a consistent group doing work together You are intentionally building collaborations across organizations in a specific geographic area You are intentionally building collaborations across specifically targeted organizations Your entire group will be one community of practice rather than multiple COPs If pre assigning remember that you will need to do more work to create buy in about who is in the group and why the group has been formed Self assigning is a great way to get participants to buy into the COP from the very beginning Time can be dedicated at a training event or conference for participants to form their own groups based on criteria that they have some part in creating Check your understanding of different approaches to forming COP groups You need Adobe Flash Player to view some content on this site Here are some in person activities for self assigning groups Some possible activities for self assigning at an in person event include Holding a group discussion about the criteria for forming COPs followed by allotted time for members to find one another according to the agreed on criteria Possible criteria include subject matter expertise social service priorities geographic area levels of commitment organizational mission and preference for virtual or in person contact Identifying a list of COP subject areas and having participants choose the subject area that interests them the most Potential

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/communitiesofpractice/default.aspx?chp=1 (2016-02-12)
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  • 2 - Identifying Needs and Expertise - Establishing a Community of Practice to Enhance Training & Technical Assistance
    member with that expertise speaks up and briefly explains how their expertise might help meet that need The person with the need then throws the ball of twine to the expert The game continues in this manner until everyone is connected to another person within the COP The group then draws a representation of the web on a piece of paper that documents the needs expertise discovered through the activity Create a visual display of expertise objects Ahead of the launch ask participants to bring with them a physical representation of what they have to offer that others might value This could be an article story photo or tool template Post these objects in a place that gets a lot of traffic At some point during the event give participants an opportunity to introduce themselves to the group by explaining their object Conduct appreciative interviews On a rotating basis COP members pair off with each member of their COP asking appreciative questions to find out what every person has to offer the group The facilitator can draft appreciative questions such as What motivates you to do your work What talents and skills make you effective at your work What have been the most fulfilling moments in your career Typically in an appreciative interview process the interviewer repeats the answers back to the speaker At the end of the interview the speaker and listener swap roles Identify three common organizational needs Give the group thirty to forty five minutes to identify the needs in each of their organizations discuss common needs and then pick the top three most pressing needs across all organizations Follow on activities can include an exploration of the ways that COP members can work together to address these needs Collect autographs Prior to the launch the facilitator reaches out to participants to gather information about their strengths experiences and accomplishments The facilitator picks a key fact about each person in the COP and includes it on a fact sheet about COP members Members take the sheet and try to match the person to the fact When they find the right match they ask the person to autograph the sheet next to the fact The winner is the first one to collect all the autographs These virtual activities can help a COP explore needs and expertise Here are some virtual activities you can use to help members explore their organizational needs and expertise Conduct a live virtual needs assessment using webinar and polling technology You may choose to ask a series of poll questions that will help you as the organizer understand the hopes concerns and needs of COP members in terms of percentages e g 45 percent of your group might be wrestling with board development Show the results as you go By conducting the needs assessment this way you can immediately address pain points and shape the COP accordingly Virtual needs assessments may also be done ahead of time with an online survey free tools include

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/communitiesofpractice/default.aspx?chp=2 (2016-02-12)
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  • 3 - Defining a COP’s Work and Structure - Establishing a Community of Practice to Enhance Training & Technical Assistance
    organization acting alone to address a specific need What existing assets or resources within the community can be leveraged to help address the need What outcome produced by the COP would satisfactorily address the need What type of work is most useful to the COP Possible options include Innovating Distilling best practices Collective problem solving Group learning TTA providers can support a new COP by setting up its basic infrastructure As a TTA provider you can help the COP get off to a strong start by offering some basic infrastructure For instance you might set up a free conference call number recommend the frequency of calls such as suggesting that the group meet monthly and provide a set of suggested dates You could also set up a regular meeting of COP leaders facilitated by you the TTA provider This type of regular support can serve to reenergize COPs Another way to provide infrastructure is to set up a community website to reduce COP start up obstacles You might rely on online services like Google Groups Wiggio Ning or Jive Another option is for you to work with the COP leaders to help them establish their own COP website Check your understanding of approaches that can help COPs define their work and structure You need Adobe Flash Player to view some content on this site Ensure that every COP develops an action plan structure and roles To define a focus and stay on course a COP needs to develop an action plan determine a meeting structure and define group roles You can provide a template for the COP to fill out For greatest impact you may want to break the template into a series of smaller components to be completed over the course of a conference or over a series of

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/communitiesofpractice/default.aspx?chp=3 (2016-02-12)
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  • 4 - Managing a COP - Establishing a Community of Practice to Enhance Training & Technical Assistance
    to support leaders and keep the momentum of the COPs alive A typical agenda could include a go around about what is happening in each COP and or any successes and challenges they may have experienced This relatively low effort activity also enables the TTA provider to have an ear to the ground about issues common to all the participating organizations in the COPs TTA providers may also consider maintaining an online workspace dedicated to the COP leaders using platforms like Yahoo Google Groups Wiggio Ning or other free services You can support COPs through activities and evaluations Well chosen activities can deepen group work COP evaluations allow members to share progress and discuss problem areas Suggest going deeper activities along with TTA activities To make a direct link between your TTA activities and the COPs provide explicit activity ideas as part of training plans Some examples might include Have COPs conduct grant reviews after a training on grant writing Develop a case study related to an organizational capacity building problem Suggest that COPs work through the case study together Have COPs offer peer feedback on each other s work plans Schedule evaluations Take time with COP leaders to step back and evaluate the progress of their COPs Share practices that are promising and address any challenges they are facing This can be done via online survey or on the phone in the form of a facilitated discussion Work with the group to brainstorm solutions to challenges Modify the COP structure going forward if necessary to integrate feedback and improve the group s functioning Check your understanding of methods for managing COPs You need Adobe Flash Player to view some content on this site You can provide templates and tools to support a COP s work By providing templates and

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/communitiesofpractice/default.aspx?chp=4 (2016-02-12)
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  • 5 - Setting Up a COP to Outlive Your TTA Program - Establishing a Community of Practice to Enhance Training & Technical Assistance
    TTA provider it s important to think ahead about how COPs can outlive your TTA program By employing intentional strategies along the way you lay the groundwork for COPs to continue on their own Here are some strategies you might use Collect collect collect During the time when you re actively supporting the COPs maintain good relationships with the leaders Periodically ask them for completed case studies promising practices lessons learned and other documentation of innovations and problem solving Then you can preserve this information and share it across all COPs and with future TTA participants Create a shared work space for all members of all COPs Toward the end of your TTA program invite all COP members to join an online workspace where they can find the items listed above from the other COPs Although this forum is likely to be un moderated this strategy creates the potential for further collaboration and learning Encourage COPs to document their work and set up resource storing systems that will outlive the group Consider Jive SharePoint Google Docs Wiggio Ning or other free and low cost services that can be found by searching the Internet Encourage COP members to get connected on social networking sites Sites like LinkedIn and Facebook help ensure that professional connections remain intact and that obstacles to getting back in touch are reduced Create groups for your COPs on social networking sites This will facilitate making contact with all members as needs arise down the road Check your understanding of strategies that can help COPs outlive your TTA program You need Adobe Flash Player to view some content on this site You can help your COP groups prepare for transitions and endings Here are some ways to work with COPs as they re winding down Acknowledge the transition

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/communitiesofpractice/default.aspx?chp=5 (2016-02-12)
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  • Summary - Establishing a Community of Practice to Enhance Training & Technical Assistance
    vibrant and longer lasting dialogue By establishing communities of practice you can expand the impact of your TTA program and provide significant benefit to participants and their organizations Thank you for taking the time to learn about Establishing a Community of Practice to Enhance Training and Technical Assistance COPs can augment your TTA program and benefit everyone involved Communities of practice are an excellent way to augment your TTA program Along with the expertise that you provide the collective knowledge and experience of COP members can lead to contributions to the field including the development of lessons learned promising practices and innovations Communities of practice can also deepen the skill and expertise of individual COP members and the organizations they work for Adequately tracking COPs learning and outcomes will enhance the TTA provider s body of expertise and knowledge as well Here are some additional resources on establishing COPs Learning Communities Communities of Practice Learning Circles What are they How do they work Why would we want one Communitiy Driven Institute Hildy Gottlieb 2009 http www help4nonprofits com NP EDU Cm Learning Communities htm How to Boost Community of Practice Activities with the Creation of a Critical Mass Luis Suarez

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/communitiesofpractice/default.aspx?chp=6 (2016-02-12)
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  • Effective E-learning
    not others For this reason many organizations have chosen to adopt a blended learning approach Blended learning combines e learning and classroom based instruction into one learning experience Blended learning grants greater freedom to incorporate the advantages of both e learning and classroom based instruction Organizations that realistically consider their instructional needs should be able to easily maximize the potential of both formats E learning can improve or detract from an organization s ability to offer instruction For example a course for lifeguard trainees on how to perform CPR is probably best delivered in a classroom setting that allows ample opportunity for guided role plays Clicking across a screen no matter how well designed the e learning module is simply not the appropriate format for teaching these types of skill specific performance objectives On the other hand a lifeguard staffing agency with personnel and pool locations across the country that wants to deliver its agency s history mission and professional expectations to all new recruits would probably find a well designed e learning program a very cost effective way to meet its instructional needs Often an organization needs to achieve many different kinds of learning objectives Some of these learning objectives lend themselves to classroom based instruction while others can be effectively achieved through e learning programs In such instances organizations will often incorporate both methods of instruction into a blended learning program Blended learning experiences combine both e learning and classroom based methods into one instructional system Blended learning allows organizations to strategically assign the appropriate method of instruction delivery for each learning objective There are no hard and fast rules on how to most effectively blend e learning and classroom based instruction Individual organizations must assess their individual needs Classroom time can be used to engage students in advanced interactive experiences while the e learning portion of the training offers students multimedia rich content any time of day anywhere they have Internet access CHAPTER 4 Developing Effective E learning E learning s potential is closely tied to the quality of its design There are a number of considerations that are instrumental to designing and developing effective e learning First know the needs of your learners Every aspect of the e learning instruction must be geared to address those specific needs Make the e learning experience as usable as possible E learning that is difficult to engage will quickly frustrate participants Give your learners autonomy over their e learning experience Increased control has been shown to lead to increased motivation to engage in the learning experience Frame the instruction within an interesting context When learners know and appreciate why an e learning is taking place they are much more compelled to engage in the e learning instruction Finally effective e learning provides regular and constructive feedback Learners want to know where they are in their learning experience Maximize e learning s potential to tell them E learning s effectiveness relies heavily on the quality of its design The first step when designing instructional material is identifying the purpose of the instruction What should participants take away from the learning experience Are these outcomes knowledge or performance based How can participants demonstrate mastery of the skills or information at the heart of the lessons learning objectives The answers to these questions will determine the appropriate methods of instruction When learners are able to easily use e learning they are much more likely to focus on the material being instructed Learners typically do not tolerate extensive training before taking an online course The usability of an e learning program must keep learners focused on learning rather than using the learning application Inability to for instance navigate to the next screen easily disrupts flow Because many Internet users have developed habits of skimming rather than reading material information in an online course needs to be designed to accommodate how people read online This means judicious use of highlighting fonts and formatting to increase readability An appropriate balance is needed between boring and flashy in order to capture attention and enhance learning without creating unnecessary distractions Granting learners greater autonomy has been shown to increase learners motivation It is often beneficial to free up course navigation and give learners more control over their e learning experience Rich learning activities require learners to make choices about what to experience during an e learning module This keeps learners actively engaged rather than passively advancing down a prescribed path Just be sure that activities are designed around allowing students to practice desired learning outcomes rather than on the complexity of the materials or tools required for the activity to take place An interesting context or scenario can add important meaning to a learning activity In situations where student motivation is known to be high the context will require little explanation In other contexts however students are encouraged and assisted by an interesting scenario that frames the activities Scenarios are usually provided by a story role play or simulation within which the activity plays a pivotal role in helping students to contextualize content An interesting scenario will make extensive use of humor imagination reward anticipation or drama to enhance the activity It will have topics and themes likely to be relevant and interesting to the target audience And it will make the learning activity seem like an obvious or necessary thing to undertake Effective e learning design will offer feedback that amplifies the learning and enables students to increase their level of skill and knowledge Available feedback strategies include reflective responses to prescribed questions semi automated responses by the system to student actions and work shared comments in online forums and blogs and personal responses via email and telephone Effective use of feedback will enable an e learning design to create dialogue between participants and instructors Without appropriate use of feedback e learning runs the risk of becoming an ineffective broadcast of learning content CHAPTER 5 Implementing Effective E learning Implementation is the actual delivery of the

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/effectiveelearning/Print.aspx (2016-02-12)
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  • Interactivites
    come alive If something seems unfamiliar or if an activity is really tough to get through click the chapter title on the tabs above for additional instruction Overview None What is E learning Asynchronous v Synchronous Asynchronous v Synchronous Text version of audio here Is E learning the Right Choice E Learning for every learner E Learning for every learner Text version of audio here Blended Learning Against isolation Against

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/effectiveelearning/Interactivities.aspx?chp=99 (2016-02-12)
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