CCSL2 - area 3: Bringing together communities of practice and advocating social learning methodologies
(This is work in progress).
At the CCSL team meeting in London, December 2013, three main activity areas had been identified, building upon the work that was done during the June 2013 Plan-and-writeshop.

This page documents what the plan is with area #3 'Bringing together communities of practice and advocating social learning methodologies'.

Theory of change (building blocks for a...)

The idea behind this area is that a lot of the work that the CCSL group is standing for and developing is actually relevant for a lot of similar communities of practice, networks, groups of people and specific organizations, either labeling their work 'social learning' or not (as will be mapped by the 'happy families of social learning' in an upcoming brief). We anticipate that the work we are developing in this area is complementing and augmenting other pieces of work, that existing tools, approaches, case studies and insights can fruitfully fuel CCSL, while we can also contribute useful resources and capacities to those other 'akin' actors.

By Theory of Change mean a logical model of an impact pathway with components in the form of:

-------->--------->--------->----
------>------->------>-
IMPACT------->----->-
---PATHWAY--->---
--->---------->------>------->--------->--------->
Means of Achieving Outcomes
Immediate Outcomes
Intermediate Outcomes
High Level Outcomes
Vision of Change Shared by CCSL and Partners
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
Social learning is scaled up in a qualitative manner








The end result (vision of change) we hope to achieve (as CCSL and partners) is that generally social learning for climate change, agriculture and food security is scaled up in a qualitative manner (column 5 above)

The high level outcomes that would indicate that change is taking place (column 4 above) would therefore be reflected in the fact that CCSL
  • is much better understood by the actors that are involved in such approaches - including where its benefits and limitations lie;
  • is applied in relevant contexts by many more actors;
  • is applied in a much more effective manner, paying attention to specific details that deepen social learning (e.g. due attention to social differentiation, time scales, facilitation etc.);
  • is revisited critically by an increasing diversity of actors, to reveal shortcomings and further opportunities to better understand and apply it - in other terms, that social learning on social learning is happening and leads to critical improvements through critical collective examination;
  • is more visible;
  • is better advocated for, toward a myriad of actors that could benefit from it;
  • is better mapped and continually expanded on so more actors can hook up with social learning and related themes (the 'happy families' of social learning)
    methodologies and specialized networks such as the CCSL CoP.

Related to these outcomes, prior intermediate outcomes (column 3 above) that ought to happen are thus that:
  • the actors have met and discussed their differences and complementarities and have identified ways to improve the conceptualization and practical implementation of social learning approaches
  • the diversity of CCSL members and contacts sharpens our (CCSL) reflection
  • Actors get cross memberships in CCSL and other networks (more bridges are built across related networks)
  • more changes are expected around the implementation of the CCSL social learning framework, as applied by new actors which are trying out these tools etc
  • a number of joint reviews and critical exploration allows to peer-review the quality of CCSL (and other) outputs
  • More documentation feeds the framework and toolkit and improves the quality of CCSL work
  • More joint initiatives emerge, multiplying SL opportunities (to do, learn about and improve social learning)
  • Relevant resources and case studies are shared (on the CCSL sandbox)
  • ongoing documentation of social learning approaches and initiatives leading to a better conceptual understanding of benefits and limitation
  • The materials developed by CCSL are thus also advocated and promoted by an ever-increasing group of networks and organizations, to the extent that the CCSL framework and guidelines and the CCSL sandbox (both in its conversational and repository dimensions) are better known and referred to by other actors

And to achieve these outcomes, immediate outcomes (column 2 above) to be achieved that really matter to CCSL work in 2014 would include:
  • the networks have been approached and have been engaging in common exploration and joint activities to better understand their perspective and the practical work they are doing
  • the CCSL sandbox plays a crucial role in catalyzing some of these documentation efforts, though other (identified) conversation and learning spaces can also lead to that documentation
  • The identification of actors and networks that are working in relevant fields, with a clear 'social learning' heading or not. Their capacities and relative areas of interest are also better mapped.

The means of achieving these outcomes (column 1 above) that CCSL has direct access to and control over include:
  • Sandbox collaboration spaces on Yammer (internal) and Wiki (public)
  • Innovation funds
  • Facilitation
  • Evidence
  • Communications support from CCAFS Consortium Office

The main assumptions behind this are that:
  • CCSL will produce resources that are of interest to others;
  • The quality of CCSL products, conversations and people engaged will attract other actors;
  • There are indeed lots of actors and networks that are working on related fields;
  • These actors are interested in connecting with CCSL in some manner because their field of study is related and they dedicate enough time to adapt their course and possibly incorporate ideas from CCSL in it (and the other way around);
  • The CCSL team has enough time to sustain contact over time and manages to balance that contact with various organizations and networks.

The main risks we anticipate:
  • Lack of time from CCSL team
  • Lack of interest from the CCSL team to adjust or from related networks to develop such ties and engage in joint activities
  • Not enough products developed that can really attract interest of other networks and organizations
  • Lack of funding to entertain the CCSL sandbox and follow through with the contacts made

To start mitigating these risks to be overcome, a team (a task force of sorts) must be constituted which would undertake the work and reflect on it on a regular basis, to keep the energy alive and channel insights and documentation into proper other channels and repositories.

Activities (rough overview)

The following activities and items were identified during the recent CCSL team meeting in London (December 2013) and constitute the skeleton of this page's strategy and ideas. These activities would link to the Immediate Outcomes under Column 1 above

Target actors and their expected role:
  • CCSL team: lining up the team, getting the task force ready;
  • CCSL-funded partners: ensuring they connect with relevant networks and use their work opportunities to spread the word and connect other individuals;
  • Related networks / other influential participation, learning, research method CoPs (KM4Dev, KBF, CG parade): being made aware of CCSL work and engaging in the joint exploration.
  • Regional networks (Prolinnova, regional KM4Dev networks) - same as above.
  • Related individual agents (M. Reed, C. Leeuwis): reviewing work, engaging in CCSL sandbox.
  • Eventually all people from activity group 1 actors - individual allies: getting them involved and engaged in the sandbox etc.
  • [Projects and individuals across the CGIAR Flagships, CRPs etc who are explicitly or implicitly using methods or pursuing processes that overlap with social learning]

Activities:
  • 3.1 Visit related communities with a conversation - building consensus and capacity around SL / impactful research;
  • 3.2 Facilitate community engagement (sandbox) around building evidence base (e.g. case study process opened up);
  • 3.3 Sustain / develop the sandbox (growth);
  • 3.4 Capacity support for the SL community through networking (e.g. with innovative MEL experts);
  • 3.5 Advocacy of Products (from Activity Area 2)
  • 3.6 Face-to-face event to convene these communities of practice - gathering around tangible products
    • To include invited potential members
    • Timing to be confirmed (annual and piggy backing on other event)
  • 3.7 Quarterly online CCSL Core Team meeting
  • 3.8 Sandbox learning brief
  • 3.9 Comms and influencing strategies

Communication plan (draft)

Under the broad activity plan for this activity area in 2014, the main objectives for the CCSL team for the year are:

1. Mapping the field

For 2014, the activities around this objective will concentrate on developing the learning brief on the happy families of social learning after jotting them down on the sandbox to best prepare this work. After initial inputs and some drafting that will be also shared on the sandbox, the brief should identify more easily what are the related domains of practice and learning that connect with social learning. The case study (characterization) work will also complement this field mapping indirectly.
Key audiences: This concerns mostly the CCSL team - a) the core team as well as b) the entire CCSL group on the sandbox spaces.
Key messages: N/A - although the results of this work will lead to identify 'what are fields related to social learning', 'which are closest and which are furthest', 'which recognize this linkage and which not'? 'What are their overlaps and complementarities' and 'where are better fits possible and desirable'?.

2. Mapping the actors

The CCSL core team already identified a number of actors that could possibly be part of this big picture of the happy families. The same process will be followed as for the previous objectives: jotting down initial ideas and thoughts on the sandbox, doing some research from previous resources developed by CCSL or listed under 'social learning resources' on this wiki. This way, networks, organizations and individuals will be mapped and provide a basis for engagement activities. A matrix will be elaborated to plot possible objectives or joint interests with the CCSL group, paving the way for the next objective.
Key audiences: This concerns mostly the CCSL team - a) the core team as well as b) the entire CCSL group on the sandbox spaces.
Key messages: N/A - although the results of this work will lead to identify 'who are the key institutions, networks, individuals involved in this field and related field' and 'how could they benefit from joining the sandbox'?

3. Network around joint interests

Of the networks currently identified, more structured visits (based on initial contact and proposal followed by [a]synchronous contact with them, documented properly) will be organized to explore the themes and connections. Based on the activities under previous objectives, more networks and communities could be visited. Based also on the related needs and expertise areas, specific capacity support activities will be undertaken to examine more closely at least three and possibly more themes that matter in social learning.
A face-to-face event will run in the last or forelast quarter of 2014 to bring together different actors from these akin communities and groupings, to discuss matters further and possibly pave the way for more intensive and structured cooperation in 2015.
Key audiences: a) Regional and thematic networks, b) specific individuals, c) CCSL projects and d) CCSL team.
Key messages:
  • (a, b) An active community is working on very similar topics, tools and methods as you are - perhaps you could come and find out if it's any interesting to you?
  • (to all) You might find a useful peer network to develop your understanding and skills and co-create solutions around specific areas of interest to you - come find out who's doing what on the sandbox;
  • (a, b) We are organizing an event to better understand how our social learning approaches are faring and how to improve them over time and we think you would be a great resource person / your initiative(s) could greatly benefit from participating at this event.

4. Set up pilot activities

The case study work which will happen throughout 2014 will be a first set of joint activities - documented and commented through the sandbox. The meeting mentioned under the previous objective will also help identify potential pilot activities to develop joint 'social learning analysis' work.
In addition, there might be some activities funded through the sandbox which will naturally bring new actors to reflect with the CCSL group on their social learning activities.
All in all, these activities should help flesh out possible 'partnership-in-the-process'.
The expected behaviour change here is thus to see actors engage in collective reflection and work on social learning using the CCSL spaces.
Key audiences: a) Regional and thematic networks, b) specific individuals, c) CCSL team and d) sandbox network.
Key messages: These will vary as and when.
  • (all) We think that our cooperation around exciting initiatives will really help us get social learning in practice and in understanding to a further stage.
  • (all) Since social learning is about joint deep reflection leading to transformation, we would like to invite you to help us document your work in such a way that it can contribute to the growing evidence box and framework we are collectively developing in the CCSL group.
  • (a, b) We are organizing an event to better understand how our social learning approaches are faring and how to improve them over time and we think you would be a great resource person / your initiative(s) could greatly benefit from participating at this event.

5. Maintain and further develop the CCSL sandbox

One of the most constant activities under this strand is the set of interactions through the facilitated CCSL sandbox. A number of activities are planned to continue working with the sandbox and even expand it: a learning brief (first quarter 2014) will explain what is being attempted with the sandbox and what are earlier results to date - probably revisited later. Members of relevant related networks such as the CG Parade, KM4Dev and other actors identified under the first objective will also be invited to join the CCSL sandbox.
Key audiences: a) CCSL team and b) sandbox community, c) related and regional networks, d) related individuals, e) related CGIAR projects and initiatives
Key messages:
  • (all) This is what the sandbox is all about, this is why it is unique/special, these are early results and this is what we are considering next - tell us what you think and use this space, it can be yours!
  • (a, b) Keep on making best use of this sandbox, make it your own, shape practices and let us know how it can help you even more.
  • (c, d) An active community is working on very similar topics, tools and methods as you are - perhaps you could come and find out if it's any interesting to you? You might find a useful peer network to develop your understanding and skills and co-create solutions around specific areas of interest to you - come find out who's doing what on the sandbox;
  • (e) A lot of CGIAR folks and partners are already sharing a lot of information, dealing with concrete challenges, setting up joint initiatives etc. via the sandbox. By joining you can tap into a very special space for conversations that matter in the domain of social learning and for possible solutions to your concrete problems.

In addition, though in parallel with this objective, the core CCSL team will meet on a quarterly basis to ensure there is strong coordination and communication across all components and activities in 2014.

Scheduling activities


The timetable of concrete activities for 2014 are summarized in the table below, with the channels used (in blue / brackets). If the sandbox is not specified (e.g. Yammer or wiki) it means both platforms.
Mapping the field
Mapping the actors
Networking around joint interests
Set up pilot activities
Maintain & develop the CCSL sandbox (and CCSL core team)
Jot down ideas in the sandbox about related fields (Q1)
Ask about this on the sandbox (Q1)
Visiting the CG Parade group (Q1-2) via email
Case study work (ongoing Q1-Q4) with support from sandbox facilitators and members (Sandbox)
Learning brief on the sandbox (Q1)
Learning brief on social learning happy families (Q1-2)
Do some research on influential organizations involved in SL work (from CGIAR [J. Gonsalves's study] and beyond) Q1 - desk work + sandbox Yammer
Visiting KM4Dev (Q2)
Face-to-face sandbox meeting with related networks (Q4) (venue to be determined)
Invite CG Parade members to the sandbox (Q1)

Identify list of influential authors and thinkers on the topic of SL (Q1) (desk work + sandbox Yammer)
Visiting xyz (Q3)
Possibly sandbox-funded work (??)
Invite KM4Dev and other networks to the sandbox (Q1 through Q4) on KM4Dev and other network spaces / channels

Develop a matrix with the actors and their possible areas of interest (Q1)
Capacity support for the SL community:
- Gender (Q2)
- M&E (Q3)
- KM (Q3)
- Facilitation (Q3-4)
On sandbox

Quarterly online CCSL core team meetings (Skype/remote, face-to-face if possible).


Face-to-face event (Q4)
(venue to be determined)