Governance is an important tool in sustaining a community.  When the community has a hand in shaping a living governance (meaning it’s dynamic and prone to change with the changing needs of the community), based on a set of shared goals, you gain trust in the systems and in the communications that are going on in the systems, because it’s the community that’s making sure the governance is adopted.

There’s no one model of governance that works for any two organizations, but I’m trying to boil down the types of communication that happen in learning communities, and this is a first draft at an idea:

Simple Governance for Learning Communities
Simple Governance for Learning Communities

Like in all posts here, please look on this with critical eyes and share with me what is missing or how it can be improved (or where there’s a better model already).

What I’m trying to do is take the myriad of communication that happens in learning communities and identify channels for those communications. I’m not glued to this model, but notionally I’m thinking of Attention, Awareness, Capture and Collaboration types of communication. The goal would be to identify what types of tools enable what class of communication, and govern the use of the tool by the learning (and performance) communication we want to enable.

Here’s how I break down that taxonomy a little:

Attention

There are communications that are alerts, calls to immediate action, critical operational messages, activity reminders.  These are probably hierarchical in nature, timebound with a short lifespan and little-to-no need for message retention.  Examples of this might include reminders to submit timesheets, notice of weather emergencies, last-minute meeting notifications, etc.  Vehicles for such communication might be SMS messages, Emails, Tweets, Instant Messaging, Phone Calls and/or Microsharing.

Awareness

Awareness communications are messages that let others know what we’re working on, what we’re reading, what we’re learning, what questions we have, what we’re thinking about. These are usually lateral in nature, not necessarily timebound but with a relatively short lifespan with some need for message retention and a way to enable future search and discovery of the bigger threads.  Examples of this might include project updates, status reporting, sharing links of general interest, ideation. Vehicles for such communication are Microsharing platforms; historically these vehicles have also included email and bulletin board messages.

Capture

Capture communications are messages that let others know about complex activity, thinking, perspective and braindump.  These messages are usually more communal in nature, meaning they resonate within a sphere of the author’s influence in a domain of context.  These may be timebound, but with a longer lifespan and a great need for provenance, message retention, and the means to enable future search and discovery.  Examples of this might include meeting minutes, an idea for process improvement, a key learning or reflection, report on a niche topic. Vehicles for such communication are Wikis, Blogs, Podcasts (audio or video), Microsharing platforms, Office Suite documents (Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Presentations), Mindmaps, Charts, Graphs.

Collaboration

Collaboration communications are messages that involve contributions from more than one person, synchronously and/or asynchronously.  These messages range from being communal to being fully lateral in nature. These are not necessarily timebound with a long lifespan. Significant needs for provenance, lifecycle management, retention, enabling of search and discovery with cross referencing and citation to relevant works internal and external to the organization.  Examples of this might include meeting minutes, the maturation of a captured idea into a white paper or a funded project or service, knowledge building, budgets, planning activities. Vehicles for such communication are Wikis, Office Suite documents with version control, document libraries, code libraries, repositories.