Flickr Photo: Illustration of Participant's Learning Questions
Earlier this month, we piloted the first two-day workshop on social media strategy and tools for NTEN's WeAreMedia project. I was pleased with workshop, even though it was the first time and that is always difficult because instruction improves with feedback from learners.
Co-instructors included Holly Ross, Nina Simon, Rachel Weidinger, Britt
Bravo, David Cohn, and John Kenyon. In addition, we had expert
knowledge in the room from JD Lasica, Paul Lamb
JD Lasica, and Laura Novig.
This was workshop was based on the knowledge shared on the WeAreMedia wiki over the past year using Dave Cormier's Community as the Curriculum approach.
The content on the wiki has now organized into an instructional format as a two-day face-to-face workshop. The next step is to see how people remix, improve, and share back the material (with attribution of course) - that is the true power of working wikily.
My debrief of the two-day workshop.
We had a lot of content to cover in two days. I wonder whether face-to-face workshop delivery is the best approach for ultimately helping people put a social media strategy into practice. Therefore, the learning goals be more aligned with the base of Bloom's Taxonomy - more about exposure, understanding, and knowledge. Being able to make decisions and evaluate are more appropriate for a learning experience delivered over time such as a semester long course or at least having some time and space in between sessions.
The learning objectives were:
- make decisions about how to effectively integrate social media into organization's overall web communications plan
- understand how to design and implement a social media experiment that enables listening, participation, content creation, or community building and is appropriate and realistic
- evaluate the results of your social media experiment and use the information to improve your next social media strategy experiment
- experience a variety of web tools that are essential in listening, participation, content creation, generating buzz, and community building tactical approaches
Participants were asked to set up blogs as their workshop notebooks. This was useful for the introduction and pre-workshop activity, homework, and reflections. Many of the participants lived blogged the sessions and the notes created are good content for the wiki.
On the evaluation survey, we asked people to identify their "aha magic learning moment." Here's what participants said was most useful:
"There were so many good things I got from the We Are Media Workshop that it's hard to distill it down to just one magical moment, but I think sitting in the conference room and seeing how many of us were inspired to *listen* to our constituents and connectors was really powerful. Your workshop encouraged us to devise a strategy for using social media, and to tease out what these tools could really mean to our mission, vision, and constituencies -- rather than just, "hurry up and get your org up on Twitter!"
"Having the strategic planning for social media broken out into 5 steps and identifying what tools went with each section."
"Being in one space with over 50 people all coming together to learn about why/how they can each use different social media strategies to help their organization."
"The hands-on education on actually using tools was most helpful."
I'm always overly critical about instructional delivery, and rely on evaluations to help hone and refine it. One of the instructional design flaws was that we assumed that all participants would be ready to write a draft social strategy as homework for the first night. A few participants completed the assignment as you can see from the workshop blog notebooks here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Thinking through a strategy requires more reflection and discussion within the organization and some level of experience with the tools. However, on our follow up survey, 71% of respondents said the workshop will help them craft a strategy in the future.
That threw off the morning of the second day which was going to focus on participants sharing their ideas and giving feedback on their strategies. I think after the first day's focus on strategy, people were very much interested in getting into the techniques, tactics, and tools. We could have allocated more time for the hands-on tactical small groups. The cross pollination would have worked better sharing tips and tactics learned from the tool breakout sessions. One person noted, "Perhaps each tactical session could be slightly more
condensed or focused so that there was time (and mental energy!) to
take in two of the technical topics."
For the next version of a two-day workshop, I'd deliver the break out tactical and tool sessions on the afternoon of the first day and repeat them again in the morning the second day. This way people could attend two. I'd also allow some time for people to share what they learned as a group or in small groups before selecting the second session. As one respondent on our survey noted, "I would have liked to be able to go to
more than one tactical breakout, and then have an opportunity to talk to people who went to the other sessions to find out what they learned."
I'd use the social media game as culminating activity. From reading the participant blogs, there were a lot of insights generated from the strategy game like this one. I'd include the implementation/metrics at the end or as an extension of the game.
In addition to a by the numbers survey, I always do a reflection survey where I ask what people learned, what they will put into practice, what is still unclear, and remaining questions. While some of the questions were about the how to implement tactics, a number were focused on the challenge of transfer.
- What of all this “stuff” is truly relevant for me and my organization?
- Will having a good social media strategy make my organization more successful or just more busy?
- What kind of a time investment does it take, how can I frame/align/justify that investment relative to other expenditures and needed areas of focus?
- How do we avoid “shiny object” syndrome?
- When will social media pay off for us?
- How to sell executive director on a smaller, more informal pilot?
- How do you balance where the organization is today with the potential of social media?
Some tangible first steps that people plan to put into practice are:
- Listening strategy
- Setting up a blog
- Use the smart chart to get communications strategy in place first
- Finish the social media strategy map
- Refine strategy based on listening first
- Set up a Facebook Page
- Experiment with StumbleUpon
- Finish plan, get more expertise to help with implementation
- Set up RSS Reader, Start Commenting on blogs