Mapping Collaborative Expertise in Schools and Districts
Updated: Aug 1, 2019
Dr. Paul Bloomberg, Author and Founder, The Core Collaborative Learning Network
As principals, district leaders and teachers, we always discuss the importance of of quality collaboration, transparent communication and relational trust in the successful launch and implementation of school or district learning initiatives - yet we don’t use systematic methods to measure collaborative expertise.
When schools and districts engage in Organizational Network Mapping, they can map the quality of how they collaborate and learn together. High performing organizations across all sectors demonstrate the ability to continuously improve and innovate. To develop a culture that supports this level of innovation and performance requires a focus on both the people and processes that generate significant progress.
Change and innovation should begin with a thorough understanding of how well or poorly individuals collaborate together and then move on to process improvement. In this paradigm, it is people first, process second. Leaders now have access to the best science to view how individuals work together and how learning really gets done in organizations. It’s called Organizational Network Mapping.
Organizational Network Mapping allows educators to see the people side of their organization. Network mapping helps all stakeholders see:
how teams collaborate and the frequency of information exchange connected to school initiatives
the visible and intricate details of a school or district's organizational structure
how a school or district’s learning organization currently operates and functions
how well or poorly teams are connected
With this added insight of a school or district’s social and cultural system, we can then co-create ways to build upon what works, fix what’s broken, and improve the way people collaborate, communicate, learn and work together.
This system-perspective provides the foundation for successfully improving the processes that guide organizational learning and overall school or district performance. We can also integrate scales focused on relational trust, collective teacher efficacy and innovation to help us understand the quality of organizational learning in any school or district.
The Core Collaborative has teamed up with global scholar and professor, Dr. Alan Daly. Professor Daly is Chair and Professor in the Department of Education Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Listen to Alan describe the power of Organizational Network Mapping on The Core Collaborative Youtube Channel.
The biggest take away from Alan’s research on high performing organizations is - RELATIONSHIPS MATTER! His work with understanding social networks, suggests that ‘informal’ webs of relationships are often the chief determinants of how well and quickly change efforts take hold, diffuse, and sustain. Focusing on the pattern of relationships FIRST - represents a shift in the way we approach educational reform.
How does your school or system measure the quality of collaboration to increase high-quality organizational learning?
To learn more about social network theory and Organizational Network Mapping check out Alan’s TCC Master Class Webinar on our Youtube Channel. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about gaining a deeper understanding of how your organization learns together.