Learning to make a difference: a framework
The value created by learning in communities of practice or networks is not always easy to articulate in ways that make sense to participants, sponsors, and stakeholders. Yet it is something that needs to be done, not only for monitoring and evaluation, but also for optimizing the learning of the community.
We have developed a “value-creation framework” that focuses on how social learning makes a difference in the world via its effect on practice. The framework helps structure convincing accounts of the value of social learning by framing learning in terms of different cycles of value creation and loops between them. It integrates quantitative and qualitative data and can be used by professional evaluators as well as participants.
The framework is relevant through the lifecycle of a community or network. It can be used for articulating aspirations/conditions and risk/mitigation pairs for planning purposes. Closing ongoing value-creation loops between activities and practice then helps members fine-tune their learning as they go. And combining value-creation stories with monitored indicators brings rigor to the process of showing the value to participants and stakeholders. While originally developed for social learning in communities of practice and networks, the framework has been adopted for other contexts where social learning takes place, such as projects, workshops, and conferences.
We will present the framework and then take people through each of its cycles in relation to a project they are working on (or are about to start). It will be a chance to experience the usefulness of thinking of social learning as cycles of value-creation by applying the discipline of the framework to a familiar context.