Networking for Learning

Building on the complexities of change learned in Making Change Happen and Systems Thinking, Systems Changing™, Networking for Learning simulates complex inter-school relationships. Originally developed for Britain's education ministry to accelerate a policy encouraging primary schools to collaborate in multi-school networks, this simulation is for administrators and high level district staff who want to understand the macro and micro levels of change in complex systems. It integrates all of the research of the other two games, along with years of professional experience around collaboration, professional learning communities and large scale change initiatives. As in the other simulations, participants constitute an improvement team tasked to help five prototypic schools (or organizations) join together to plan, implement and monitor a range of activities that will build trust, encourage teamwork and collaboration to tackle significant problems that have resisted solution and in so doing, enhance learning and teaching within and across their schools. Learning networks focus on learning of students, all staff, leaders and other stakeholders, as well as building capacity for knowledge sharing, ongoing learning and skill building.

Only for educational school systems at this time, a group session with NfL requires a leader with advanced facilitation skills, a deep understanding of organizational dynamics, and prior experience with the simulation.

LEARN MORE about Networking For Learning

Networking between schools has taken off in many countries.
Collaborating with other schools has the potential to enhance learning within schools. It also creates the potential for everyone involved in educating children and young people to feel a collective sense of responsibility for ensuring that all students in the network can progress and achieve, and that one school's improvement isn't at the expense of other schools. A network focused on learning is one in which a group of schools join together to plan, implement and monitor a range of activities that will enhance learning and teaching within and across their schools. Learning networks focus on learning of students, all staff, leaders and other stakeholders, as well as building capacity for learning and sharing knowledge between schools. It's well known that developing learning networks isn't easy. Networking for Learning has been developed to support network leaders at all stages of the process: when planning your networks; to encourage reflection on what you have been doing; and to help you think strategically about next steps.

Networking for Learning Strengthens Your Network
This interactive tool has been designed to simulate your experience and the people you work with as you develop learning networks. Anchored firmly in research, it draws on ideas from an earlier simulation about educational change (Making Change Happen) that is a popular professional development tool in North America, and was first developed in England. Its main objective is to deepen your own learning and understanding about successful networks for learning and teaching by: raising and promoting understanding of critical issues involved in developing sustainable learning networks and deriving benefit from them; facilitating reflection on these issues in the context of developing your own learning networks; provoking dialogue and problem-solving among colleagues that informs network planning, initiation, development and sustainability; promoting collaborative learning; helping you consider the extent to which your networks are focused on learning; and what approaches at different points in time are likely to have the best chance of success.

In Networking for Learning You Play The Consultant
You and your colleagues are asked to adopt the mindset of a team of consultants helping an imaginary group of five schools to create a learning network. You have to work as a team to make decisions about what needs to happen. Your team has a simulated three years to accomplish two goals: To move most members (characters) of five diverse schools through the stages of change associated with the development of a sustainable network – from when they are 'exploring' the idea to when it is 'sustainable'. To produce as many student benefits and as much increased staff, school and network capacity as possible through improvements in learning and teaching growing out of the network's progress and success. Networking for Learning covers the bases. Just some of the issues covered in the simulation are: broadening ownership and participation; building and maintaining trust; getting the right kind of support for your network; refocusing the agenda; communicating what you have learned; and evaluating whether you are making a difference. There are also many others.

"We used this tool to help establish our learning networks and to tease out how we could engage people more deeply."

“In using Networking for Learning I found that colleagues were involved in real dialogue about change. And we had a lot of fun doing it. It was an animated session!”

“This was a very valuable learning experience …I can identify my staff with all the characters.”

The Deluxe Version

This version includes people cards and printed materials, for those who like the computer, but want some tactile experience.