WoSA

Learning
network

WoSA asks us to change the way we work. To do this we need to reflect, learn and adapt in an ongoing, iterative cycle of learning.

WoSA Learning Network

Learning Networks are groups of people who share a passion for something that they know how to do, and who interact regularly as practitioners (outside of the confines of their organisational roles and hierarchies) to learn how to do it better. The WoSA Learning Network brings together a community of practice to share experience and lessons.

WoSA asks us to change the way we work. To do this we need to reflect, learn and adapt in an ongoing, iterative cycle of learning.

    The principles of a learning network are to:

    • Connect people with people, and with information
    • Provide a shared context
    • Enable dialogue
    • Stimulate learning
    • Capture and diffuse existing knowledge
    • Introduce collaborative processes
    • Help people organise
    • Generate new knowledge

    The Learning Network will involve:

    • Regular learning events to share experience across sites and municipalities

    • Identifying knowledge gaps and bringing in guest speakers and expertise

    • Sharing information via a WoSA newsletter

    • Sharing articles on this website

    • Sharing of learning tools e.g. partnering and/or knowledge capture tools

    • Workshops facilitated by the EDP to build capacity

    • Sharing of lessons emanating from the sites.

     

    Building a WoSA Learning Network

    While learning can occur naturally, capturing, analysing and translating lessons into new approaches does not happen automatically. If we want to strategically leverage our learnings for improvement, we must prioritise and integrate intentional learning into our processes and structures, with adequate time and resources allocated. This can be done by establishing a learning network that brings officials together to share experiences, successes and failures, so that learning can occur. Through cycles of reflection, learning and adaptation, the network supports the exploration of looking at the work we’ve completed, where we currently are; and where we want to be. The ultimate aim of the network is to enable officials to continuously and strategically learn how to improve practices and increase their collective impact.

    Learning Champions

    A learning network needs cultivation and guidance for it to be effective and sustainable. Ideas are spread when people with influence support and spread a message. In order to nurture and build a sustainable WoSA network, it is important to nominate and support Learning Champions at both the Municipal and Provincial levels so that these spheres support each other and work together. Setting up sharing platforms and necessary communication channels between these champions will be essential.

    The primary role of a champion is to create the enabling conditions for colleagues to take time to pause and reflect on their work by talking together about what worked, what did not, and what changes could be made before the next cycle of action learning. 

    Supporting the Learning Champions

    To be effective, champions need support. Champions need management to formally recognise, authorise and value their role, as in many cases, this falls beyond their “normal” job duties. In addition, champions need to feel confident to experiment with new approaches and need managerial permission and support to do this. Champions also need to be supported by the network to build the competencies and capacity to facilitate learning in their spheres of influence.

    The network will support champions in a number of ways, including:

    • Learning how to design and facilitate a meeting and workshop;
    • Providing tools and templates for formalising learning commitment, and capturing and sharing learnings;
    • Identifying case studies to help champions identify and communicate the strategic need for learning; Co-convening learning champion community of practice reflection meetings; and
    • Provide support in the champions’ own learning journeys

    Who would make a good learning champion?

    In identifying and nominating a champion it is useful if this person is interested and/or already involved in learning, knowledge management and sharing.

    • An effective champion might be a person who:
    • Enjoys communicating and connecting with colleagues.
    • Has good coordination skills and is interested in bringing colleagues together in a facilitated manner to share work stories and experiences.
    • Has convening power and is able to motivate colleagues to take time to pause and reflect.
    • Has good communication skills and is able to ensure knowledge is shared with the broader network and good will is maintained.

    Next Steps

    • Ensure management value and recognise the need for learning champions.
    • Ensure that the roles and responsibilities of champions are understood.
    • Agree on a deadline for submitting champion nominees and appointments.
    • Identify and nominate champions from Municipality and Province.
    • Hold a champion workshop led by learning network (to clarify the champions roles and responsibilities, and to build capacity through training).
    • Agree on how champions across the network will support one another (sharing info, stories, giving feedback and coming together to meet).
    • Identify and formalise structures, processes and resources to support champion.

    Events

    Look out for the first WoSA Learning Network event, to be held in August.