Using Action Learning in GSS Facilitation Training

Using Action Learning in GSS Facilitation Training

Pak Yoong (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) and Brent Gallupe (Queen’s University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-930708-32-7.ch010
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Although electronic face-to-face meetings are increasingly being used by organizations to improve the productivity of their strategic planning teams, design task forces, quality circles, sales management, and other organizational groups (Alavi, 1993; Dishman & Aytes, 1996), the rate of adoption of the technologies to support these meetings appears to be slowing (Grise & Gallupe, forthcoming). A possible reason for this reduced rate of adoption may be the difficulty in training competent electronic meeting facilitators. These facilitators play a key role in electronic meetings that use computer-based group technologies or group support systems (GSS) to assist the group in tasks such as generating ideas, evaluating alternatives and developing action plans. The purpose of this chapter is to describe how an action learning approach was used to train traditional meeting facilitators in the tools, techniques and processes of electronic meeting facilitation. This chapter begins with a description of action learning, in particular the three schools of action learning. The second section explains the nature of the “experiential” school of action learning and the GSS facilitation training program used in a research project in which 15 facilitators, already experienced in conventional meetings, were trained to become facilitators of electronic meetings. The final sections describe some lessons learned and implications for organizations training their electronic meeting facilitators.

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