two worlds in one – part 2

After writing my last post Two Worlds in One, I chanced upon this video clip, where Charles Leadbeater talks about “Open” and “Closed” systems.

The open system is not organized (much like an FOC course where no one is designated as Official Facilitator), while the closed system is highly systematized and structured. While Leadbeater was applying the concept to organizations, they can also apply to individuals. Now, superimposing this dimension against the two worlds I earlier described, people can come in many forms – clustered, for the sake of illustration, into four groups:

Four Types of Members/Participants

Four Types of Members/Participants

I – Face-to-face/Closed. These will be participants or members of the community who want things structured and are able to make sense of relationships only with physical encounter. With these two characteristics in combination, their communities will tend to be rather small, but solid and predictable.

II – Virtual/Closed. These will be participants or members who would participate in the Web 2 technologies but would wanting for someone to take certain fixed roles, e.g., they would demand that there must be a designated Facilitator (even if you rotate members in assuming the role), designated Moderator, designated Secretary, etc. – all coming from what organized groups of the past used to be (which will include Scouts, Civic Clubs that insist on using Roberts Rule of Order, etc.)

III – Virtual/Open. These will be participants or members who are more “free” in their orientation and interaction. It is as free as the 15-sec browsing and the jumping from page to page. They are the people who somehow bear witness to the order in chaos. They thrive on connections and feeds.

IV – Face-to-face/Open. These will be participants or members who can live with the lack of structure but would insist on a certain minimum physical contact. They for instance need to be assured that the people they are interacting with in the Chats are real and not bots. They’d like to put flesh and blood into the dot coms and the @.

Interesting world we live in!

3d facilitation and on-line communities of learning

In the third edition of “Did You Know” a certain Allan November was supposed to have identified 3 essential skills we need (children) to learn:

  1. … deal with massive amounts of information;
  2. … global communication skills;
  3. … to be self-directed and understand how to organize more and more of their own learning.

I believe they are also competencies any participant in a community need to have. Inability to acquire such skills might be the reason why a) a number of members might be highlighting problems about reading so many blogs and catching up with discussions, b) some people might be ‘having headaches’ just being present and listening to what happens in the Elluminate meeting room, and/or c) why some people are even wishing that those proximate with one another can meet up personally/physically.

The whole paradigm of using on-line as medium of interaction is precisely that it is about colossal amount of information, interacting virtually within differing time zones, and finding a level of participation that is uniquely self-managed and self-driven.

This brings me back to a model of facilitating I developed recently. I call it 3D Facilitation.

The first dimension is about Content. This will be the relevant content that the group is concerned about. In the case of this on-line community, that will include what is outlined in the wiki – all about Online Facilitation of Communities. The second dimension is about Process. It is about how the members are interacting with one another through whatever model of community building or stages of formation that is being used. In the case of this on-line community, that will include how people are participating in the discussion forum, how people are commenting on each other’s blogs, etc. It also includes the navigational skills people need to make use of the different technologies. The third dimension is about Set-Up. This will pertain to how the first two dimensions are facilitated by the technology, platform and/or set of activities lined up – all geared towards achievement of the objectives of the community.

Given this model, one can appreciate that there will be some Facilitators who are very well versed with Content and will have interventions loaded with such. Others will be good in Process and will simply be moderating without any input at all to what is being discussed by the group. The third – those good in Set-up would have to be very good at both the Content and the Process.

Again, an on-line community can make use of the wiki, the blog, readers, tweeters, forums, groups, diigos, SL meetings, Elluminate meetings, etc. to facilitate learning about a subject matter. But Effective Facilitation will be achieve only when the question of how one can ‘set them all up seamlessly’ is answered — leading to total integration, thus enabling members to have a handle on how well they are doing, individually and as a community, relative to the 3 essential competencies listed above.