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Social learning consultant

I’m a social learning consultant who works with organizations to develop strategies and practices for cultivating communities, networks and other forms of social learning.

Complex settings

Working with people in international settings and complex landscapes is where I feel most at home – especially when it includes the integration of new technologies and social media in innovative ways.

International clients

While my clients come from all sectors the biggest projects I’ve worked on have been with organizations such as the International Labour Organization, Nuclear Threat Initiative, The World Bank, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Consultancy

1999 saw the start of my consultancy work when I took on a tutoring position for the Online Education and Training course with the University of London. At the time I was mostly a lecturer at a Business School in Portugal. As I got offered more projects I left Higher Ed and started my own company in 2007.

Brief history

Before that I had been working for the British Council and freelancing at Universities in Lisbon. Until 1989 I was living in UK where I was a community development worker sponsored by Oxfam and Christian Aid to promote aid, trade and human rights in the city of Leicester. A Master’s degree in Development Studies started me on that journey. Previously, and on a different track, I worked for a Marine Consultancy as I figured out what to do with a degree in Business Studies.

Global nomad

Although I’m based in Grass Valley, California, I spend a lot of time traveling internationally and do much of my work on the road. I still have my company and a base in Setúbal, Portugal, where I lived for twenty years. Before that I spent ten formative years in UK. I was brought up in Kenya where I lived for nearly twenty years.

Pioneering

I have a strong pioneering and inventive streak that has become sharper and more focused over the years.

Global

My early activism in global politics and justice, followed by an involvement in teaching English as an international language, has grown into an interest in new literacies, systems convening, governance and accountability. I’m interested in how these enhance the social learning capability of a system at multiple levels of scale.

Playful

Like my mother, who was playing on the internet before most people had even heard of it, I love messing about with online tools and apps.

Empathic

I am an experienced facilitator in many different settings – and have been successful in bringing unlikely people together to work on common goals.

Distributed

I’m good at coordinating distributed teams and at getting things done at a distance. While my tendency is to be very organized I also thrive on improvising and on the unexpected.

Researcher and writer

Researching and writing are things I love doing – although this gets overshadowed as I live with a master wordsmith who has written seminal works!

Work-life partnership

I live and work in partnership with Etienne Wenger-Trayner. We have shared the same last name since we got married in September, 2011. We think we’re living happily ever after.

Kids

Etienne and I have five kids between us, two of whom are mine. My son is part of the Mavor-Trayner endeavor. Sally Mavor and I were co-authors and close friends. When she died in 2003 I adopted her son.

Interests

We love hiking and swimming – but our kids worry that we spend too much time at the computer. I love good wine, green smoothies and cooking.

A selection of publications

Wenger-Trayner, B. “Convening complex learning encounters” in Learning in Landscapes of Practices. Open University Press, UK. Wenger, E., de Laat, M, Trayner B. “Promoting value creation in networks and communities: assessment framework”. Open University, The Netherlands. Arnold, P., Smith, J. & Trayner, B. “One more tool – or exploring the practice of introducing new technologies in dispersed communities”, Springer Publishers. Arnold, P., Smith, J. & Trayner, B. (2009) “Where do we meet next time? – negotiating places, identities and technologies in an autoethnography of a community of practice” Observatorio (OBS*), OberCom, Lisbon. Arnold, P., Smith, J. & Trayner, B. (2007) “Narrative, community memory and technologies – or writing a literature review in high modernity”. In Community Informatics, Identity and Empowerment, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Trayner, B., Smith, J. & Bettoni, M. (2007) “Participation in International Virtual Learning Communities: a Social Learning Perspective”. In Web Information Systems and Technologies, Springer Publishers. Arnold, P., Smith, J., Trayner, B. (2006) “Narrative: designing for context in virtual settings”. In Managing Learning in Virtual Settings: the Role of Context, Figueiredo, A.D. e Afonso, A.P (eds) Hershey, PA: Idea Group, Inc. Trayner, B. (2004) “Babel in the international café”. In Communities and Technologies, Huysman, M. Wenger, E. Wulf, V. (eds) Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Mavor, S. & Trayner, B. (2003) “Exclusion in international online learning communities”. In Electronic Learning Communities: Current Issues and Best Practices, Reisman, S. (eds) Conneticut: Information Age Publishing. Trayner, B. Matos, J.P., Silva, A.F. “Comunidades de Pratica: Partilha de Experiências e Saberes” in S@bER+, Revista para o Desenvolvimento da Educação e Formação de Adultos No 15, Dezembro. 2002. Mavor S., & Trayner, B. “Aligning Genre with Practice: an Interdisciplinary Perspective for Course Design and Teaching in Higher Education”. In International Journal of Languages for Specific Purposes, Vol 20, nº 4, April 2002, Pergamon Press, Elsevier Science.

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