What are learning weavers? Why does your network need them?
I’ve often thought that we need to spend much more time and energy making sense of and learning from what we are doing. Along with that, think how much our networks could benefit if they could share the many great ideas and practices that are generated in collaborative projects and help others use those ideas and practices in their efforts.
But it just isn’t happening to the extent that is needed. So what are we missing? What needs to happen to help capture learning and spread it around?
Last week we came up with an idea: can we explicitly build a pool of people who are assigned to network and project sessions and whose job it is to capture the essence of the session and any new ideas or practices that emerge. We could call them learning weavers.
After the session they might snip short videos from session (of course asking permission of the person speaking) where someone is sharing something important and/or innovative and share them with some annotation on the network’s email list or newsletter. They also might write a blog post sharing a particularly interesting approach with the rest of the network. For example, a slide or two used during the session might offer a useful visualization of something that the rest of the network could benefit from. The group might have used an interesting survey, or implemented an activity that could be used in other settings.
For training sessions that would be of interest to many in the network, learning weavers could annotate the resultant video, noting who was saying what at different points in the agenda. (Youtube has a simple way to create something like a table of contents that can take people directly to a specific part of the video.)
They also might periodically interview working groups or project coordinators, or members of a network circle such as communications, to find out what they have been learning and then share with the network.
These learning nuggets could be productized – turned into a module and offered free or for sale in a network store (see our Resources tab on this site for an example of such a store).
What skills would such a person need?
They would definitely need excellent writing skills, a knack for analysis, some video editing skills and maybe some graphics experience.
How much would it cost for a learning weaver pool?
I estimate that you could find excellent weavers for $50-100/hour. Your network might start with a pilot project, bringing on a group of 2 or 3 learning weavers and using them for selected sessions where you know innovation is likely to happen. You might need to invest in their learning about networks so they know what to look for, and it would be good for the group to come together after a month or two of work and analyze how it went and what needs to be changed. Such a pilot might cost only a few thousand dollars.
Seems like a small price to pay to be able to capture and share all the innovation and learning that is happening in our networks. I’d be glad to work with anyone to help set something like this up!
Please comment below and let me know what you think of this idea.