Virtual Communities, Real Connections

A Case Study on Building Capacity and Collaboration Through Online Peer Learning

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Webcast Abstract

Peer learning is increasingly being used in the public and nonprofit sectors as a professional development strategy, helping employees address challenges and opportunities related to their jobs as well as organizational mission and goals. When people with similar roles or functions convene to learn from one another, they create a powerful "brain trust" to help clarify approaches, build skills, and troubleshoot complex issues more quickly and efficiently than any one employee could do on their own. Participation in facilitated peer learning groups has been shown to decrease employee isolation, accelerate learning curves, stimulate innovation, reduce burnout, and strengthen dedication to the larger mission.

Peer learning can be particularly effective for government and nonprofit entities, where the need for expertise is strong, yet training and development resources are limited. Using technology, organizations can create strong peer learning networks that build staff knowledge and capacity for a fraction of the time and cost of sending employees to onsite training programs, conferences, and other events.

In this live interactive webinar, participants learned about the purpose and benefits of virtual peer learning groups, and explored models and best practices for creating these forums using an online platform to maximize participation, encourage deep and relevant learning, build long-lasting connections, and grow organizational capacity both efficiently and cost-effectively.

Questions Addressed

  • Some of the survey-triggered issues our panelists have identified are:
    • What exactly is peer learning and how can it be used to strengthen organizational capacity?
    • How can government or nonprofit leaders create peer learning groups that enhance knowledge, skills, and resources in a cost-effective and meaningful way?
    • What are some peer learning models and practices that work well in virtual environments?
    • What are some practical first steps for leaders interested in starting peer learning groups, or enhancing learning communities already in place?


presenter Sue Brundege MA, CPBA
Senior Facilitator, Consultant, and Coach, Integrated Work
presenter Lance A. Simon, CGMP, CVEP
Moderator and VP Client Solutions, iCohere
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