This Environmental Scan research & report represents one component of a multi-year and multi-phased project: to foster development of an active online community of practice for settlement sector practitioners across Canada.
The general areas of investigation were:
Numerous dimensions of communities of practice were researched. Looking for opportunities to learn from other online communities of practice, the research encompassed aspects of the settlement sector practices, as well as reaching beyond. In this component there was a concentration on Information Communication and Technologies (ICT) - seeking to find new uses of digital and online technologies, as well as effective methods and strategies to activate and engage communities.
A key aspect for shaping a way forward is to understand how settlement sector practitioners currently use Information, Communications & Technologies (ICT). Through a national survey, practitioners were asked to reflect upon many aspects of how technologies affect their work.
The survey tool endeavored to draw a snapshot of current ICT practices, to gauge levels and types of use within the sector. The survey was deployed by the National Advisory Committee umbrella organizations to settlement practitioners across Canada. A ‘needs and wants’ picture emerged through the practitioners’ responses. This information gathered begins to form a picture of what practitioners are looking for: not only to do their jobs; but also revealing various frustrations and indicating where certain impediments occur. The report sections entitled Survey and Current Digital Practices within the Settlement Sector outline these in more detail.
With this snapshot of practitioner ICT-uses as an important backdrop, many exciting online hubs were surfaced through the research process. In the report section entitled Reviewing current communities of practice an array of hubs is presented as a foundation for discussion. Included as well, the appendix contains several in-depth case studies examining different online communities of practice. These samples are presented to members of the sector to study as models with thought-provoking facets, modules, & designs: