In the context of a Leadership Program we have designed and are currently running with 100s of managers of a global organization with more than 100,000 employees working in 85 countries (see the Blog entry Leadership Development Games: Is 100% Online Really Effective? posted on December 30th, 2012) we engage participants in game-based learning experiences brillant over several months.
In the third and last phase of this online learning experience, after completing the game-based phases, we introduce the participants to the concept of Collaborative Learning (whilst the previous phases were game-based and instructor-led) as well as to a web 2.0 platform (ULead Network) designed to extend and sustain their learning. Induction into this collaborative learning experience and into the web 2.0 platform takes place in 3 steps.
- Familiarization : We first invite the participants to log into the platform and review a large number of brief videos providing information about Web 2.0 concepts and technologies (e.g. « What is a Wiki ? ») and how they can be deployed in large organizations to support distributed teams and communities to (a) reach higher level of organizational effectiveness through knowledge sharing, (b) create higher customer value, and (c) explore new forms of collaborative innovation. These pre-loaded videos provide an excellent way of attracting the participants to the platform and providing them immediate learning value, as it is there that they can easily and effectively extend their understanding of web 2.0 concepts, technologies, applications, and trends. During this phase participants also learn to familiarize with the platform and actively contribute (rather than just watch videos) by providing comments and starting discussions related to the videos they find in the platform.
- First Sharing Experience : As a second step, after a couple of weeks of familiarization with step 1, we invite participants to share some of their favourite videos (linking them e.g. from YouTube) providing comments on why they find them so relevant and interesting, or to produce and post their own videos (particiapnts have webcams and the platform allows them to easily record and post brief videos on-the-spot). This phase lasts approximately one month, during which participants are also invited to comment videos posted by their peers. Videos submitted are either about web 2.0 or more generally about leadership-related subjects (motivation, difference between management and leadership, etc.). What we have observed until now is that participants at this stage prefer to submit ready-made videos rather than producing their own ones. On the other side, the videos submitted typically reflect their deep interests in specific leadership-related subject as well as challenges they have encountered (e.g. about mentoring, or about mastering difficult conversations with their subordinates) and trigger interesting comments and exchanges with peers.
- Team-based Content Creation & Advanced Sharing Experience : In the third and last step of this online community experience, participants are requested to operate again in Teams (which were created before and already worked together during the WhatATeam! Phase of the ULead Program) to produce and submit brief videos describing a challenging leadership scenario which should conclude with the question « What would you do to handle such a complex situation ? ». The intensity of exchanges and the energy participants put in this last step is for us the demonstration that we have succeeded involving this very busy groups of managers into allocating time and enthousiams in this last collaborative learning experience, which is also a way of « giving back » by having others profit from their own learning. In fact, the videos produced by the Teams at this stage describe situations which are highly relevant (« such a situation could happen to me too ») and challenging (« different peers might have very different reactions to such a situation »), which provides the best possible basis to trigger discussions among all the community members and extend/sustain the learning experience.
Currently we are inviting every 4 months new cohorts of approximately 100 participants to join the ULead Network after having participated in the same game-based leadership learning experience. In future posts we will share more about the insights we are gaining on how this post-game communityexperience effectively reinforces individual learning, organization-wide networking, continuous exchange of knowledge and experiences, as well as the emergence of leadership-related issues relevant not only for each individual learner, but also for the whole company.
Albert Angehrn/INSEAD – http://www.insead.edu/facultyresearch/faculty/personal/aangehrn