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Knowledge Cafe - The Group
Peer Assist brings together a group of peers to elicit feedback on a problem, project, or activity, and draw lessons from the participants' knowledge and experience.
Peer Assists may be useful when:
You are starting a new job, activity or project and you want to benefit from the advice of more experienced people.
You face a problem that another group has faced in the past.
You had not to have to deal with a given situation for a long time. You are no longer sure what new procedures to follow.
You are planning a project that is similar to a project another group has completed.
Learning from your peers; someone has already done it:
Communicate the purpose. Peer Assists work well when the purpose is clear and you communicate that purpose to participants.
Share your Peer Assist plans with others. Consider whether others have already solved the problem; they may have similar needs.
Identify a facilitator external to the team. The facilitator is responsible for managing the process so that meeting participants reach the desired outcome.
Schedule a date for the Peer Assist. Ensure it is early enough to do something different with what you have learned.
Invite potential participants who have the diversity of skills, competencies and experience needed for the Peer Assist. Avoid the usual suspects. Peer Assist works well with six to eight people; break up larger groups so everyone has the opportunity to voice experiences and ideas.
Be clear on what you want out of the Peer Assist (usually options and insights) and plan the time to achieve them.
Allow time to socialise in order to develop rapport.
Allow a day and a half for the Peer Assist. Schedule time to Tell, Ask, Analyse and Feedback.
Spend time creating the right environment for sharing.
Plan the event to allow a balance between telling and listening.
Listen for understanding and for how you might improve your own activity.
Consider others who might benefit from this knowledge, then share it with them.
Commit to actions and keep the Peer Assist team updated.
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After Action Review
More Information/References/Related Resources:
Peer Assist learning module:
Collison, Chris; Parcell, Geoff. 2004. Learning to fly: Practical knowledge management from some of the world’s leading learning organizations. Capstone, Chichester, GB. 312 p.Web site:
CGIAR KS toolbox
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