UPDATE - 2nd Jan
A very nice person has just commented that the link to the dissertation is no longer working. I've put it instead on a wiki - here's the new link to my dissertation
Right, I've set up a website so that I can actually put my dissertation online and link to it - what a faff! I just wish blogger allowed you to upload documents, instead of only linking to them. Hey ho.
Apologies for the rather, er, basic site, and all the ads...it's a free site, you get what you pay for (or don't pay for) I guess. Avoid the advert popup nightmare by just going to the dissertation (see link below).
This action research study examines the contribution a group blog can make to the training and development of project managers and indicates that blogging effectively supports knowledge sharing and learning.
Three cycles of research provided evidence that blogging has utility as a tool for informal learning, enabling the capture and dissemination of experience based knowledge. Project managers taking part in the study realised benefits such as access to previously unattainable knowledge and information, and increased exposure to alternative practice. The similarity of the context of the experiences, advice and guidance submitted to the blog and the project managers working context enabled effective learning transfer.
Postive reactions to anonymous posting indicated a culture which does not support the open sharing of mistakes and failures, preventing project managers to learn from and mitigate against these mistakes recurring. Anonymity provided a degree of protection to those concerned about possible repercussions from contributions but prevented the development of more productive collaborative relationships.
Participants were reluctant to post, a possible indication of an inability to identify good practice with value to others. Although interview responses indicated that the blog encouraged reflection on practice, further development of project manager’s skills in reflection may facilitate an increase in the sharing of tacit knowledge and good practice.
The need for management support was indicated throughout the study. The relative importance of learning must be raised to encourage the prioritisation of learning and managers need to show their support by allowing more time for participation on the blog. The management of the blog itself was received positively, indicating the need for facilitation and moderation, however the community responded negatively to over and under management indicating that a light touch is required when facilitating a group blog.
The study demonstrates therefore, that a group blog has considerable potential as a tool for informal learning and may be effectively used alongside formal training interventions. However, a well developed ability to reflect on practice along with an open, supportive culture of sharing are required to maximise the potential of blogging for learning and knowledge sharing.
Click here for the full dissertation