About Knowledge Mobilizaton for Settlement (KM4S)

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Hi. My name is Marco and welcome to Knowledge Mobilization for Settlement (KM4S).

Why yet another site?

The short version:

Lost of research gets created about and by the immigrant and refugee-serving sector.

Front-line practitioners and agency leaders aren't sure what's useful for them. They don't have the time to waste to search for reports (there are so many sites, much research is behind a paywall), figure out if they might be useful to them (WIIFM?), and how the research might impact their work.

I want to help identify best practices, tools, resources & research & make information accessible to a time- & resource-strapped audience. Whether it leads to enhanced management capacity or front-line service efficiencies & effectiveness, the goal is not simply to read interesting research, but have it impact their daily work in some way.

Much activity, research & practice happens locally & below the radar of in the sector. Or it's simply inaccessible. How many researchers consider front-line practitioners a key audience to outreach to or involve in KM activities?

My goal is to surface innovative approaches to service delivery, provide information in more accessible formats incorporating effective multimedia approaches that match information consumption trends.

The long version:

This site comes out of an idea and grant application I worked on with Gerard Keledjian.

We didn't get funded. Boo. But I think the idea is an important one, so I'm building this site anyway. We'll see how it rolls out. If it becomes something useful for the immigrant and refugee-serving sector hopefully we can get some future support.

What is Knowledge Mobilization (KM), you ask? I've written a summary over here.

Why do we need to talk about KM? Because Settlement Work is complex. And it's only going to get more complex. I've mused about it here (warning, 34 minute video. But so worth watching!):

What is Knowledge Mobilization for Settlement

Below is the original ambitious vision. It's scaled back, for now. But I wanted to post it here so you have a sense of what we were planning to do, and accomplish.

The overall goal of this 5-year project is to build on & enrich the emerging National Community of Practice - SettleNet.org - by creating & sharing best practices & relevant research summaries. This will increase sector dialogue & discussion to encourage & improve knowledge sharing/transfer within the sector, as well as between immigrant and refugee-serving organizations & outside actors.

This project is driven by an expressed need identified by the sector.

In conversations I have with sector folks they constantly wish there were better ways to find, share, and discuss projects, new and promising practices, and interesting approaches to serving newcomers and communities.

The reality is that there are many places where this information exists. But if you don't know where to look, you won't find it. Too often a great and insightful report is produced, shared in an inaccessible journal, and added to the pile.

Making information accessible and actionable is key

In many cases the research is inaccessible to a busy, over-worked, settlement practitioner audience. It usually also misses the WIIFM (What's In It for Me?) factor. Why should busy settlement practitioners take up their valuable time reading through a 100 page report? How will it make them better at their work? How will it improve their outcomes?

Our goal with this project is to identify best practices, tools, resources & research & make information accessible to a time- & resource-strapped audience. By encouraging reflection, connections & discussion within the sector (here or on SettleNet.org). We want to work with sector actors to turn that information into actionable knowledge that they can apply directly in their organizations. Whether it leads to enhanced management capacity or front-line service efficiencies & effectiveness, the goal is not simply to read interesting research, but have it impact their daily work in some way.

Much activity, research & practice happens locally & below the radar of in the sector. Or it's simply inaccessible. How many researchers consider front-line practitioners a key audience to outreach to or involve in KM activities?

Our goal is to surface innovative approaches to service delivery, provide information in more accessible formats incorporating effective multimedia approaches that match information consumption trends (according to a Cisco report, online video will be responsible for 80% of global Internet traffic by 2022). This will include video (from recording presentations to interviews, to livestreaming), effective use of other multimedia approaches, such as journalistic approaches to video interviews of experts, as well as “Talk Show” style information videos.

Our Research Snapshots & Promising Practice Profiles will ensure that complex, lengthy & hard to find information will become accessible. We will identify interesting research (both within & on the sector, as well as research that would be of interest to the sector) that is buried in reports, PDFs & academic networks, & bring them alive for CoP participants & others, tailoring the description & focus for specific target audiences.

Research Snapshots are great research summaries pioneered by York University's Knowledge Mobilization unit.

They're a great way to make research information accessible. Not sure if you should read the entire report? Read a 2-3 page snapshot and decide if it's for you. Our goal was to add information to Research Snapshots for specific sector audiences. Front-line practitioner? Definitely read chapters 3, 4, 7, and Appendix II. Manager? Chapters 1-4 are key for you.

You get the idea.

We want to make information available in different formats, curating content, encouraging analysis, & facilitating discussion, sharing & direct application of new or unknown information taking the sector to a new level of service knowledge that will increase innovation, effectiveness & efficiency. We want to help immigrant and refugee-serving organizations become more able to respond to new & changing trends & opportunities which will increase their capacity to respond to their clients’ needs, & improve their integration & settlement outcomes.

Collaboration with a national Community of Practice

Our activities are particularly centred on enhancing and building on SettleNet.org by providing accessible, timely & relevant access to information the sector wants and needs, when it needs it, in formats that are accessible to them. We will expand access to promising practices, research and information to any organization or individual working to help newcomers integrate into society. Our current networks & sector connections are national & allow us to reach a broad range of organizations, from large to small urban centres, rural communities, & service providers of different sizes, capacities & service delivery approaches (including Francophone-serving organizations outside Quebec).

A project like this requires a national approach, to build on the excellent work being done in local & regional settings & ensure that these are shared beyond their geographic or topical restrictions. It also requires continuity, momentum and ongoing service provider engagement so that learning and sharing becomes an enjoyable habit. The virtual conferences and meetups, webinars and livestreaming will engage the sector over the full five years.

Knowledge & capacity-building efforts through original research, video creation & specialized awareness resources will only bear fruit if target audiences consume the materials & understand how to incorporate them into their daily work serving newcomers, helping them integrate into society.

KM4S only succeeds with you

We are connected to the sector. We would actively seek stakeholder input, feedback & contributions to ensure their information & knowledge needs are explicitly met. A multimedia lens will accommodate different learning styles, preferences and time constraints. Providing numerous ways to engage with the project over time will foster community. Using these approaches will ensure that the final message that intended target audiences receive is targeted information about why a resource or practice is relevant to them, and help them move from information to knowledge to action.

Unless these resources are pulled together through a knowledge mobilization/brokering approach, they will not be fully used or leveraged. A national dialogue might increase the possibility of their lessons learned being applied, or practices replicated by other organizations.

Taking original research & resources & synthesizing them concisely into easily consumable products like Research Snapshots, or Promising Practice Profiles will increase the likelihood that they get on an organization's radar, are considered relevant, & are actually read or consumed. Our approach provides the necessary knowledge brokering between researchers & other creators to ensure that their valuable work gets consumed by the right audiences in the sector. This will be important when it comes to specialized knowledge domains or specific client groups.

KM for Settlement will provide the necessary sensemaking for groups to understand how these resources are relevant to them & can contribute to their work in newcomer settlement and integration.

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