Learning organisations

What might this mean in reality for a small to medium sized organisation? A good overview that explains the concept can be found here.

This is one of the aspects of organisational development that at Ultralab.
, we think we do well. Our distributed team uses a range of approaches to ‘learn’. At the heart of our strategy is the notion of a community of learners, that is linking together people working remotely around the UK, at the head office in Chelmsford, but also the many friends and colleagues around the world. We achieve this through using online technologies such as Blogs for a wider audience and the First Class conferencing system for employees.

We also believe that in an organisation of some 40 people, there is ample depth in skill and knowledge so that for much of our training need we don’t need to pay for expensive courses or programmes put on by external organisations. The attached photograph was taken at the team together day, and is a group of us trying to get our head around templating and scripting in open source software – in particular Zope& Python. The 2 hour session was run by Kris and included myself as a novice through to Greta, Lindsey, Mark, and Rex who have covered much of the ground previously – more of a refresher for them.

Follow-up sessions are planned and I would encourage anyone thinking about professional development to start ‘at home’ and make sure that you exploit to the full the potential of your team in offering bespoke sessions tailored to the needs and ability of those involved. Thanks to everyone I worked with on this session – I learned a lot from you all.

In summary, we have key strategies for our learning organisation:
– internal conferencing using FirstClass or similar
– focussed team together days face-to-face
– a discourse with the wider world using blogs, websites, etc.

However, none of this would add up to much without an ever developing culture of a community of professional learners.

Other sessions that day included:

Photoshop
Writing bids
Plone content management system
Flash for beginners
Streaming video
Research Writing Workshop
Podcasting
Video editing

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