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Learning Layers – Remarks on the role of professional networks (communities) of users

November 21st, 2012 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my previous post I presented in a nutshell two ‘user stories’ that were produced as videos to support the proposal for the project “Learning Layers”. The partners from Leeds recorded a video in which John Sandars reflects his work as medical doctor (General Practitioner) and how he could benefit of the web support provided by the project. The ITB team from Bremen produced several videos in which the head of the trade guild for electric installation (Elektroinnung) Mr Siever presented similar views, how his technicians could benefit of the project in making their ‘work process knowledge’ transparent and shared across the company.

At this point it is worthwhile to raise the question, are we only talking of individual users (GPs) or individual companies as target groups and potential beneficiaries. Here it is worthwhile to note that neither John from Leeds nor Mr Siever from Bremen were speaking only for themselves. They both had a view on their professional communities (or networks) and on more general patterns for knowledge sharing.

Firstly, we know that in the area of Leeds there are active networks of GPs who have already been developing cooperation and knowledge sharing with each other and that public health authorities have supported this development. Also, we know that the GP practices have the obligation to revalidate themselves and the doctors have to provide evidence of their professional development. In this context the perspective of making the work process knowledge of doctors transparent across the community helps all of them to fulfill their obligations and to benefit from each others’ observations and findings. Here, it is worthwhile to note that the GPs are well aware of thew confidentiality issues and do not want to share sensitive details without anonymising the cases.

Secondly, we know that the trade companies in electric installations are competitors to each other. Yet, Mr Siever emphasised that most problems and problem-solving strategies to be treated by the ‘living system’ should be treated as a common possibility for the trade guild to promote the competences of the member companies and their employees. Altogether, the guild has an interest to raise the profile of the occupational field (both regarding client enterprises and young people who may be interested to choose the trade).

Here again, interesting parallelities could be seen between the two occupational fields and the respective professional communities. However, this is not yet the whole picture of the ‘user stories’. On the contrary, these were the starting points. Already at this stage the first meetings and skype conferences have brought forward more issues and ideas. Thus, the story goes on …

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