The Learning Lab staff development initiative – Swansea

This project starts with a survey to identify staff and student needs and attempts to reconcile the two, through staff training. The ‘hands on’ aspect of the training was effective in encouraging staff to participate.

‘The underlying principal behind the Learning Lab website is that of Learning by doing’

Conducting the training itself using the tools that students were requesting (wikis, blogs and podcasts) and allowing staff to appropriate the virtual space by organising it themselves, was an effective way of achieving the longer term aim of ‘winning hearts and minds’. The ‘lunch and learn’ and ‘e-learning and cakes’ sessions also provided an opportunity for face to face socialization, community building and ideas sharing.

This is the most personable and end-user orientated case study I have read so far, as evidenced by the final quote:

‘A Community of Practice is about relationships, sharing, support, sometimes collaborating, openness of opinions and being social. Most importantly, it’s about people, not the technology.’

The technology used, such as HTML, RSS feeds, a Docuwiki and news blog also seem informal, cost effective and could be used independently of an institutional VLE.


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