Coach Carole Ramblings

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Diving into Appreciative Inquiry

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My aim is to use an appreciative inquiry (AI) approach to capture and aggregate the ideas, models and strategies used in Victorian LearnScope e-learning projects in 2007. It seems to me that the four D approach; discovery, dreaming, designing and destiny; phases of AI will lend itself very well to a series of workshops with elearning leaders. The process is a cross between reflective practice and managing change in collaborative settings. The key to success with the approach lies in the questions – how they are worded and how they are responded to.

I have researched widely about the nature and implementation of AI and have found a wealth of theory and resources online. The best known advocate of AI is David Cooperrider. David’s work, articles and resources can be sourced from the AI Commons.

It was at the Commons that I learned of the AI Conference 2007 in Orlando, Florida. I will seek ways of sponsoring my attendance at that conference this year – a new experience that I can build from in my elearning consultancy. The 2007 AI Conference represents an unprecedented opportunity for me to learn how to implement strengths-based change methodologies for project management.  AI is a proven, practical method for enacting positive change in organizations. 

The pre-conference workshop of my choice would be:

Appreciative Coaching: A Positive Process for Change
by Jacqueline Binkert, Sara Orem & Ann L. Clancy
Click here to read more.

In this interactive workshop, the presenters take participants through an Appreciative Coaching experience.  The workshop begins with participants selecting a coaching topic and completing a Coaching Information Form.  Then, working as coach and client, they engage with each other in a coaching relationship through the four stages of Discovery, Dream, Design and Destiny.  Presenters will frame the experience throughout the day by demonstrating and constructing experiences which will allow participants to enter, create trust in and move towards change.  Balancing theory and practice sharing, participants will be offered an artful blend of examples, techniques and stories based on the presenters’ research and experience.  The intent of the workshop is to give individuals who may wish to practice Appreciative Coaching, the theory and hands-on knowledge and tools they will need to move forward.

Before I leap off into the dreaming vision for my own professional development, I want to begin the practice of appreciative inquiry and apply it to some of my consultancy projects this year. I have a chance to expand my repetoire of consultancy services through the AI process and I would like to plan well for success – designing for destiny.

One major project I can use to practice AI this year is LearnScope – a multi faceted, multi layered professional development strategy for teachers and practitioners in adult education. LearnScope has successfully changed the practices of many teachers in Australian TAFE and ACE organisations over the last seven years. Teachers have been collaboratively and creatively setting new standards of excellence for flexible delivery of competency based courses over the last 7 years – much of which can be traced back to their own experiences and professional development  in LearnScope and other Framework supported projects. My AI project with them will discover the best of their practices and assist in identifying and sharing how best to leverage these towards the design of continuous improvement strategies.

The AI process will be transparent and visible to all stakeholders within a purpose built wiki space. The wiki space has multi purposes – to display the achievements of the LearnScope and Elearning teams in Victoria for the elearning environment; to provide information for LearnScope teams and participants; and to enable practitioners to view the entire AI process unfolding over a period of six months.

Today I opened a discussion forum over at KnowPlace after participating in the ‘Webheads in Action’ online conference. The topic is Appreciative Inquiry – an approach for educational research. From this I hope to capture some input from other ‘webheads’ and continue to gather information about ‘best practice in AI’.

I have observed the strategies used by two major Australian educational researchers in 2006 and have valued the results of their research. These two projects: Innovate and integrate: empowering new practice in elearning and Social Software for Learning  have been an inspiration for me to proceed with AI as an effective research tool.

I’ll be back soon to bring you further developments in my learning about AI.


Author: coachcarole

Coach Carole is the name by which many of you will know me - in my role as coach and mentor for teachers, project teams and networks facilitators. I work independently as an elearning consultant for my business Macro Dimensions.

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