Learning Handbook

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The handbook pulls together guidance, tools and resources that support programme and project delivery from beginning to end in core areas of knowledge management. A wide range of sources are sign-posted in the handbook.

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Learning Handbook

Learning Handbook

  • PDF
  • 2 MB
  • 22 pages

Summary

The Learning Handbook aims to guide users through the process of learning before, during and after programme and project activities in a systematic way, to encourage the sharing of learning and to turn it into actionable knowledge.
Designed flexibly this handbook can be used as either a start-to-end walkthrough or as a quick reference guide for those with experience.

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Learning should be captured at the end of a project as an absolute minimum. Best practice suggests, however, there are two key points at which you as an individual and as a team should capture and share lessons learned.

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‘Lessons learned logs’ are designed to be updated immediately or as soon as possible after an issue or problem has been detected or an unexpectedly positive outcome has occurred.

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A ‘lessons learned report’ is created at the end of a phase or project and collates the learning captured throughout its duration.

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A ‘tool treasure hunt’ is a group activity that introduces members of a team or organisation to the methods and tools they can use to disseminate their learning to others that can benefit.

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‘Blame vs. Gain’ is a useful tool that can help managers and leaders understand what promotes, and stands as a barrier to, sharing learning within their teams and / or organisations.

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A ‘retrospect review’ (RR) is conducted at the end of a phase / project to capture what has been learned and provide it as an input to inform future related activities and projects.

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Blogs (or Weblogs) are personal websites or web pages which are used most commonly by individuals to share their opinions on a regular basis. You could have your own personal blog, or contribute to your organisation’s blog if they have one set up.

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A case study is an in-depth and descriptive explanation of an event / project / initiative which aims to give the reader information on how they can replicate the success of what has happened and / or avoid and prevent outcomes that are undesirable.

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Slide decks (or slideshows) are often used as a backdrop to a spoken presentation, however with the increasing use of the web for knowledge sharing, slide decks are frequently used as a stand-alone tool.

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Training courses, conferences, workshops, ‘away days’, 1:1 coaching, mentoring and counselling can all be considered learning events. Learning events are protected, pre-planned time that allows members of a team or organisation to develop and gain new knowledge and skills. A collection of learning events, carefully planned and coordinated, can be considered a learning strategy.

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The tools you use to share learning will often be dependent on not only the lessons you are sharing but the audience you are sharing them with.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are a useful way to signpost people to the most commonly sought information.

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A ‘podcast’ is an audio recording that is available to others to download and listen to in their own time. They are often accessed through podcast apps such as iTunes or Google Play, however many people call basic audio recordings that are held on their websites as ‘podcasts’ if they are in a series.

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Videos are the recording of moving visual images made digitally or on videotape. Videos can be created both professionally and informally, with recording equipment becoming more accessible for organisations and individuals.

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‘Storytelling’ is a popular method of sharing knowledge with others to be passed on in a way that others can relate to. Storytelling is becoming more widely used to convey lessons learned when the subject matter is somewhat personal or has a human element, e.g. patient, carer, staff stories about personal experiences.

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Learning occurs best in a culture that values knowledge and knowledge sharing. Accordingly, the cultural traits and values that boost knowledge sharing should be encouraged and nurtured.

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Communities of practice (CoPs) are networks of professionals that share common goals or interests. CoPs can be sources of knowledge, learning and support.

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A ‘before action review’ (BAR) is a tool to help a team asses the current knowledge and experience they already have as a way to inform the planning stages of a new project. The BAR outlines the intended outcomes, lessons previously learned from similar projects, challenges therefore anticipated and actions needed to ensure success in light of what is already known.

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A spectrogram exercise aims to help a team understand a range of perspectives on one idea or area of interest, as a way to encourage them to think differently.

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Staff profiles can help build a picture of the knowledge and previous experience of members of an organisation / team so that others will know quickly and easily who to go to for advice or answers regarding particular tasks or projects.

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A knowledge asset is a collection of explicit knowledge centred on a particular subject. By explicit knowledge we mean that which is stored in a document, file, report or article, for example. Knowledge assets pull together electronic documents about a particular area of interest into one place, so that it can be easily shared with others.

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A knowledge café (also commonly referred to as a world café) is a method of sharing knowledge and experiences surrounding a specific topic. It is a useful method to connect people that may not usually meet and to generate new thinking and ideas by sharing lessons learned across teams, departments, organisations and even sectors.

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A peer assist brings together a group that are embarking on a new project, programme or initiative with others that are more experienced or knowledgeable in that field.

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A thinking council is similar to a focus group and can be used either to inform future work or to tackle a specific problem that is experienced in a project. The aim is to pass knowledge and experience from a group to the one person in need of support.

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Speed geeking is a method of understanding a large amount of information within smaller, more manageable chunks. Similar to speed dating a number of separate tables / areas are set-up and individuals or teams rotate around them every five to ten minutes to learn from each.

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Plan, Do Study Act (PDSA) is a method of evaluation that allows you to test the impact of an initiative and continuously learn from your experiences, whilst improving your approach.

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A ‘reframing matrix’ is used to tackle an issue or problem from a number of different angles and develop creative solutions.

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‘Five whys’ is a simple tool used to understand an adverse outcome. It can uncover the root cause of a problem that has occurred during a project or programme. It not only uncovers glitches in the delivery, but also issues with organisational or team processes.

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An action learning set (ALS) is a group of people within a workplace that meet with the specific intention of solving workplace problems. The main aim of an ALS is to come away with a set of realistic actions that will help to solve or understand the issues at hand.

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An After Action Review (AAR) is a method of evaluation that is used when outcomes of an activity or event, have been particularly successful or unsuccessful. It aims to capture learning from these tasks to avoid failure and promote success for the future.

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‘Coaching’ is a form of workplace learning and development that aims to focus on learning from previous experiences to improve how things are done currently. As a task-based approach, ‘coaching’ differs from mentoring as it is not a continuous or ongoing activity.

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Attending external events, both in person and virtually, can be extremely informative for both the individuals attending and their teams and organisations. This guidance aims to support you to get the most out of your time at any given event and help you to share what you’ve learned with both your team and organisation.

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Post-project interviews can be carried out face-to-face or virtually with members of a team to understand through in-depth discussion what has been learnt that is valuable to inform work similar to this in the future. The interviews are recorded and should be made accessible to the whole organisation so everyone can benefit from what can be learnt.

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A ‘closing circle’ is a method of concluding a learning activity where a large number of people were split into smaller groups. It brings everyone back together to recap what has been shared.

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‘Most significant change’ (MSC) is a monitoring and evaluation technique that involves the collection and analysis of a number of stories, submitted by members of the organisation.

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‘Exit interviews’ aim to limit the loss of knowledge by capturing what staff know and have learned from their time spent in the organisation, before they leave to work elsewhere.