Healthlink Worldwide, In London.
A preparatory day gave us the opportunity to discuss Healthlink’s expectations from the training, understanding their needs and see which specific needs could be addressed by the introduction of web2 tools.
With this picture in mind, the first day of the training focused on a general introduction to the social web, and how development organization are embracing it to run their back office, collaborate with different partners and communicate with the wider public. Two hands on session gave Healthlink staff the opportunity to set up their own ‘gourmet’ dish of information, using Google personal page, start publishing their news and reflections on a blog, and set up wiki pages to organize events and coordinate projects.
A roundtable discussion closed the day, giving us important feedback to arrange the agenda for the second day, so to accommodate the growing interest of the team.
On the second training day, we kicked off again in plenary by looking at the different ‘forks’ we need to navigate the ‘spaghetti’ junction of information now available on the net: different Google commands to make the most out of our web queries; specialized Google services like blogs and news searches; thematic portals such as R4D and AiDA; multimedia content with iTunes and Podscope.
Introducing Delicious provided a way start making sense of this wealth of content, using tags to organize it and creating new lists of items to be republished on different websites.
The last part of the plenary explored tools for remote collaboration, using applications such as Google Calendar and Google Docs; and understanding how and why development organizations are increasing their presence in spaces such as Facebook and Linkedin.
A final intensive hands-on session encouraged Healthlink staff to practice with their preferred applications: Often working in pairs, different people mastered the use of different applications, some working with blogs, others editing videos, others uploading presentations in Slideshare and pictures in Flickr. Allowing time for each person to work on what they preferred proved to be quite beneficial, as the team, together, has experience on a wide range of tools and can more easily support each other in using them.
The closing roundtable highlighted some of the lessons learned:
“It’s important for Heathlink to stay in the loop and see what’s going on in terms of using the web. This type of exercise has to become part of an ongoing learning process.”
“All the different things we’ve been experimenting with these couple of days are extremely useful and have huge potential; we now have to discuss and see how we go about it.”
“Now it’s all about practice: we have to see what the different team members are interested in mastering and try to combine our skills and expertise.”
“We could benefit a lot from the social web, in particular as far as coordination among the team is concerned.”
“We could think about linking this type of awareness and training session about the social web to our quarterly reviews, to reinforce our learning processes.”
“The most amazing thing is how user friendly all these applications are. Even more, they’re almost all free of charge!”
by Pier Andrea Pirani
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