Phil Collin’s quote on learning correlates with the value of Let’s Connect – A peer learning program and the benefits that go with it as Learners and Sharers are challenged and supported with a social environment of learning, resulting in better participation and ultimately higher knowledge retention in Organisational skills, Interpersonal skills, governance, Wiki-project related or technical skills, programmatic and tactical-related skills among others.
“In learning, you will teach, and in teaching, you will learn.”-Phil Collins
How we connected in Kwara!
The Let’s Connect Peer Learning Program in Kwara is the first implementation of the Let’s Connect 2nd program phase led by Barakat Adegboye and coordinated by Bukola James, Rhoda James, Linason Blessing, and Miracle Abayomi James, who are the Let’s Connect participants in Kwara, Nigeria helping to organise learning spaces in their region around topics of interest and provide access to financial and logistical support through the Wikimedia foundation rapid grant fund with support from the Let’s Connect Working Group.
The learning group in Kwara, Nigeria, is made up of thirteen(13) Wikimedians, including the facilitators, who are all registered Let’s Connect members that seek to share their knowledge and also learn from one another as they continue to develop their work within the Wikimedia movement. The knowledge acquired by these participants during the course of this training is to be further shared by the participants, within their various communities. This avenue help to create an open and safe learning environment for participants, to develop different skills focusing on program organisation, Programme tactics, community engagement and evaluation, as well as other skills related to Wikimedia projects.
Our Learning Goals and Impact
“Collaboration allows us to know more than we are capable of knowing by ourselves.”– Paul Solarz
One of the program’s goals is to create a horizontal and flexible form of learning amongst group members and provide them with a comfortable and safe environment for different stages of learning: not only gaining knowledge, but putting that knowledge into practice, receiving constructive feedback, reflecting on what was learned, and making the learning process more socially connected and fun. This will help members increase skills and abilities through diverse formats and connections. The connection for Let’s Connect Kwara is made up of the following:
- Learning Clinics: Let’s Connect Kwara held two learning clinics in November and December 2022 with 20 participants in virtual attendance. The clinics focused on the learning needs of their participants using case studies to share and learn from. For instance: the first (1s)t learning clinic focused on Basic Wikidata use and how it can support other projects, and the second (2nd) learning clinic focused on event organising which lasted for 2 hours via zoom. For this program, the team organised two learning clinics for a group of 20 participants and trained them on some specific Wikimedia skills.
- One sharer to multiple learners: This approach of Let’s Connect Program Kwara is to enable participatory learning among sharers and learners.
See our Connectors Testimonies!
Mubarak Akanni: It has been a great ride with everyone here, and the efforts put in place by everyone, especially the organizing team cannot go unacknowledged. Well, it has been an awesome experience; the sessions with the speakers, the games with the moderators, the active participation of the team members, the efforts of the team leads, the resources shared (scholarships and reading materials), the training and practices we all had indulge in. Since the commencement of this program, I have learnt and connected with new people (Accurate, Rukayat, Ramatu, etc) I was able to learn more about wiki data (how to add data, how to run queries, how to generate data for usage). I also learnt how to organize projects and the necessary factors to consider, such as planning, goals, evaluation, teamwork, management and allocation of available resources.
Ramatu A Haliru (Mrs). Let’s connect program has exposed me to so many aspects of Wikimedia products such as Wikipedia, wikidata Translate, Query builder, and wikicommons in terms of adding citations, info boxes, maps, categories etc. Also, project planning, implementation and leadership skills. Finally, I am so happy to meet wonderful facilitators and participants during the program.
Olufemi Samuel: The visionary that focused on technology, thriving experience in the wikimedia movement (Let’s connect)… Gave me this platform/team to learn, but this is now table stakes for every participant that wishes to operate at the level they did. Let’s connect (Kwara state) has ignited/awakened the hidden part in me to maintain the level of; Productivity, creativity, increases in self-sufficiency and Effectiveness. I then began to observe my attitudes as a leader and guide my behaviour and decision-making based on these skills learnt (e.g Wikidata query service, Wikidata games, planning & management. ) to mention but a few. Thanks for the combination of advances and larger experience shared thus far (ALL THE TEAMS).
Steps Developed to Deliver This Program
Planning: This began in September 2022 with a series of activities, to identify the main approaches or strategies needed to achieve the changes and initiate the activities that will be developed and delivered during the program. We identified three strategies to adopt for our deliverables which include;
- Participation in Learning Clinics: these Learning clinics are two-hour live workshop-like sessions to learn, share and practice skills. It requires that participants take some time to review the learning materials beforehand which takes approximately 1 hour of their time and also to engage with the learning material after the session which may take a minimum of 3 hours of their time with the hope that each participant will be part of 6 learning clinics organised within Let’s Connect, either directly by the working group or other community members that are part of the program.
- Organizing Learning Clinics: We hope to organise two learning clinics open to participants in Nigeria. However, we were able to organise 2 learning clinics which were open to participants within and outside Nigeria. These learning clinics were organised according to the skills that participants in Lets Connect Kwara want to develop using a pre-need assessment survey.
- One-Sharer to multiple learners: Upon completion of our learning clinics, for the next steps we will be embarking on a delegated teaching approach where participants will be divided into three (3) groups to hold four (4) one-on-one connections so as to promote learning and encourage Knowledge sharing with others. This indicates that each group of 4 learners will collectively work together and share their skills among themselves within the Kwara Let’s Connect Peer Learning between now to February 2023. We hope that each participant will go on to share their learning with other Wikimedians who may or may not be registered members of the existing Let’s Connect learning clinic.
During our planning stage, we also carried out other activities such as drafting proposals, receiving rapid grant funds, creating learning clinics resources, determining the topic/skill to share, defining Let’s Connect participants to invite and organising the registration form, designing the Learning Clinic session structure and learning outcomes, social media publicity, creating feedback/Evaluation survey form among others.
Implementation: The implementation for the first Lets Connect Kwara is expected to run from November 2022 to March 2023 with 2 learning clinics and One sharer to multiple learners within the period of the first implementation. However, due to the needs of participants, we will be rounding up the implementation in February 2023. Some of the activities carried out during the implementation include:
- Before the session: Prior to the online learning clinics, learning materials are shared with registered participants via a dedicated platform followed by a registration form to collect their details for disbursement of data scholarships of 30 USD as endorsed by the Lets connect working group. This is to support participant connectivity before and during the sessions.
- During the session: The training sessions usually last 2 hours with a moderator to give an insight into the activities lined up, which is usually led by the project team. The facilitators present the topic to the participants and also give a full theoretical and practical explanation of the topic for 30 minutes. This is then followed by a game session which is expected to last for 10 minutes before the commencement of the second session. Lastly, this is usually a Q&A session where the questions from the participants would be taken and answered accordingly as well as a practical hands-on using the Jamboard.
- After the session: At the end of the learning clinics and one-on-one connections all learning materials are made available on the Let’s Connect Kwara meta page for public use, followed by an evaluation survey to get feedback from participants.
Some of the resources developed during the 1st and 2nd Learning clinics are stated below:
- Basic Wikidata use and how it can support other projects.
- Linking of Wikidata to other Wikimedia projects
- How to run queries on Wikidata.
- Tools to easily create items on Wikidata.
- Financial Planning
- Program/project Planning.
Evaluation: As part of our learnings for the first implementation we hope to better understand upon the completion:
- If the lets connect peer learning program provides a safe and inclusive learning environment for participants?
- If the opportunities offered by the program and the processes are clear to participants?
- If participants have learnt and shared skills that can be applied to their Wikimedian activities?
- If we are building collective capacities that can further support Wikimedian communities in our context?
- whether or not the support offered through this funding has helped to reduce barriers to participate in the wiki- spaces?
- If the learning methods are adequate for participants’ needs and interests?
Challenges Faced during the implementation of the Let’s Connect Peer Learning Program in Kwara
- Time constraints: The Lets’ connect participants are made up of both students and working class who at some point may be very occupied with official duties and may not be available on weekdays leaving the organisers with no other options than to schedule learning clinics for the weekends mostly in the evening.
- Inadequate commitment: Some of the participants do not show adequate commitment towards the activities assigned to them without giving deadlines as they tend to drag behind and procrastinate with the activities of the learning group.
- Time management: Due to a delay on the part of participants to join the learning session on time, the program schedules are delayed until at least 70% of the participants are in the meeting before we can commence the clinic properly.
- People tend to learn more through physical interactions: It is said that physical engagements enhance discussions and ensure people engage better. Hence we discovered that only the experienced Wikimedians tend to be more interactive during the online sessions making the new editors not actively engage in discussion without using the Jamboard.
- Inadequate technological know-how or use of communication tools such as Jamboard, google sheets and Google Docs.
- To solve the issue of time constraints it’s advisable that participants choose the most appropriate time that will be convenient to join the learning clinics and one-on-one connections when filling out the needs assessment survey. Also, organisers should create documentation /report for each training held and share it with the participants as the sharing of zoom recordings alone might not be enough to assist the situation. Because some participants might request the video recordings and not have the luxury of time to watch them.
- One way to increase commitment to the Lets Connect Peer learning program is to implement a system of providing partial financial or data support to participants before the program begins, with the full amount of support being given out only to those who complete each training session. Additionally, organizers could consider offering certification to those who successfully completed the program. This approach addresses connectivity issues that may arise and provides added motivation for participants to fully engage and complete the program. Another way to increase commitment is to request participants to submit a report before the disbursement of scholarships as evidence of their participation and engagement.
- Constant reminders via calls, text messages and electronic messaging can increase the prompt attendance of participants and enable effective time management.
- To enable the effective participation of all participants it is recommended that the learning program adopts a hybrid mode of training that suits all learners and sharers. Based on our previous Learning Clinic experience as organisers, we have come to understand the need for diverse learning styles and the needs of participants when designing a training program. A hybrid approach, which combines both online and in-person elements, can be an effective way to reach a wider range of learners. This allows for flexibility and convenience for those who prefer online learning, while also providing opportunities for in-person interactions and collaboration. Additionally, providing multiple methods of sharing information and knowledge, such as through videos, written materials, and group discussions, can ensure that all participants have the opportunity to fully engage and understand the material.
- To assist participants with little technological know-how it is advisable that organisers set asides some hours before the training to guide participants on how to use the Jamboard, Google Docs and Google Sheets before commencing the training. Facilitators can also share a video, document or infographics showing how to use the communication tools.
In conclusion, “Peer learning” is a valuable method of acquiring knowledge and solidifying understanding, and programs like the “Wikimedia Let’s Connect Peer Learning Program” provide a structured setting for individuals to engage in this type of learning. It’s a great way to continue lifelong learning and improve one’s skills and knowledge in the Wikimedia movement.Bukola James
Barakat Adegboye (Project Lead): is a Wikimedia volunteer from Nigeria who has gathered experience from contributing (as a facilitator and as an editor) to various Wikimedia projects like Wiki loves SDGs, WikiGLAM, 1lib1ref, Wikidata for Libraries and Librarians in Nigeria, Wikidata for Novels and Novelists in Nigeria, WikiLovesLibraries and so on. She was also a facilitator for Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom, Nigeria and Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom for Secondary School Students in Kwara. She is the General Secretary of the University of Ilorin Wikimedia Fan Club. She is a trained educator who is passionate about learning and sharing knowledge and has gathered experience through her contributions to the above-mentioned projects and others, over the last two years.
Bukola James: (Co-Lead): She is a fellow of Wikipedian in African Libraries, the first Certified Trainer and Project Lead for the Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom program in Nigeria. She is the founder of the Wikimedia Fan Club, at Kwara State University and has led and co-organised several other projects such asWikiLovesLibrariesNigeria 2022, 1Lib1Ref Kwara 2022, WikiGLAM Awareness for Librarians in Kwara State, Wikidata for Libraries and notable Librarians in Kwara State, Wikipedia awareness for Library and Information Students in Nigeria, Wikidata for novelists and their novels, and then let’s connect peer learning program in Kwara. She is currently a Special Advisor of the Wikipedia and Education User Group.
Rhoda James (Facilitator): is an experienced Wikimedian, who has participated in various Wikimedia projects (as a facilitator as well as an editor) namely; 1lib1ref, WikiGlam, Wikidata for Novel and Novelist in Nigeria, Wikidata for Libraries and Librarians in Nigeria, Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom Nigeria, among others.
Linason Blessing (Facilitator): is an experienced Wikibrarian, she has participated in various Wikimedia projects such as WikiLovesAfrica, WPWP, Wikidata (Media personalities in Nigeria), Winner of WPWP Kwara and Wikidata Media personality in Nigeria, WikiGLAM Awareness for Libraries and Librarians in Kwara, Wikidata for Libraries and Librarians in Nigeria, 1lib1ref 2022 Kwara, etc. She led the Wikipedia awareness for Library and Information Science Students in Nigeria and was a facilitator for the Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom in Nigeria, Let’s Connect Kwara, among others.
Miracle James (Moderator): She is an experienced Wikipedian who has participated in several Wikipedia edit-a-thon, she is passionate about improving and promoting free knowledge, and also the culture and heritage of Nigeria and Nigerians on Wikipedia.
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