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January 07 , 2010

Herding Cats Through the Gate to Cyberspace


Virtual collaboration and learning (VCL) technology seems tailor made for large-group interventions. An expanding array of tools appears to hold great potential for organizational change and learning.

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To name a few, example tools include:
- Web-based meetings
- Asynchronous discussions
- Data sharing
- Group document editing
- Just-in-time training
- Online surveys
- Keyword searchable document repositories

However, change consultants or organizational development professionals who anticipate a swift, easy introduction of technology may be in for a rude awakening. Without appropriate facilitation, any VCL initiative may flounder along with the intervention it was intended to support.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Four Types of Cats
- Non-Adopters
- Early Adopters
- Late Adopters
- Middle Adopters

Principles, Applications, Challenges and Proven Solutions

- Principle 1. A successful VCL initiative must have interest and meaning for the group.

- Principle 2. Once a tool is in place, leaders must actively and repeatedly draw attention to its availability, modeling its use and best practices.

- Principle 3. Virtual communications and learning technology must be useful and usable.

- Principle 4. The quality of the VCL experience may be positively influenced when participants are trained in best practices and provided with easy access to answers for frequently asked questions.

- Principle 5. The same design cycle applies to the introduction of virtual learning and communications technology as to any other planning process.

- Principle 6. The introduction of virtual communications and learning technology is a continuing, rather than a one-time, process.

Conclusions and Implications

Resources and Links

About the Authors

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