Community Building: how to make people use KS tools

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Original Message

From: George Mu'ammar, posted on 2010/01/12

Dear list, I am seeking advice on creating a tool for community building.

We belong to a branch, VAM, within our organisation, WFP. VAM consists of some 120 staff distributed in about 50+ offices worldwide. VAM staff all do very similar work, although challenges differ from country to country. The methodology and standardisation takes place through guidelines that are written mainly at HQ. Lessons learned and experience sharing takes place through annual meetings, which is clearly very limited.

Together with a colleague, Wael Attia in cc, we set out to install a knowledge sharing tool. The aim is to enable any of VAM staff to write a blog, participate in a forum, share files of any sort, create a wiki. Based on a prior FAO experience, we used Moodle, an opensource learning tool. We are struggling with it because it is not as user friendly as we had hoped, however it is a fairly elaborate product, which requires some tweaking for our use. We are seeing that once it is understood, it is quite effective.

We initially rolled-out with one discussion groups on PDAs, hoping to attract the techies who would then lead the way to other users. However there was not much response at all. We realised that we needed an email alert system, a bit like Dgroups, so that users would be reminded of activity in their email. Having implemented that we are about to remind all users of it's existence and soon will proceed to create another discussion group within the system.

I would like to ask you for any ideas, lessons from similar experiences and tips in order to anticipate further problems, and attract more users.

Contributors

All replies in full are available in the discussion page. Contributions received with thanks from:

George Muammar
Nadejda Loumbeva
Carl Jackson
Adrian Gnagi
Eva Schiffer
Robert Bell
Brad Hinton
Ben Ramalingam
Robert Bell

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