Knowledge and learning
Knowledge and learning is among the key pillars identified in the ECOLISE strategy and one of the three major areas of ECOLISE work (along with communications and policy). It builds upon prior work on the part of many ECOLISE founder members and is strengthened by the involvement of specialised members with core expertise in research and/or education.
The foundation of the Knowledge and Learning pillar is the realisation that processes of collective action learning are at the heart of everything that community-led initiatives do. These learning processes, which may be formal or informal, take place at all levels: within task groups implementing specific projects, in the ongoing development of any local initiative, and in the emergence and operations of the wider networks that link and support initiatives at regional, national and international scales. ECOLISE itself seeks to operate as a learning organisation, and to support its members to develop to the fullest possible extent their nature as learning networks.
The Knowledge and Learning working group supports these aims through activities in several areas:
- Liaising and consulting closely with member organisations to help understand, articulate and seek to address their needs concerning access to and usage of information
- Developing shared resources for the generation, documentation and communicate of relevant knowledge, collectively forming a knowledge commons
- Compiling, linking and finding synergies among relevant activities already undertaken by member organisations, particularly educational offerings and research-related activities
- Supporting specialised members with expertise and standing in relevant fields to make these more readily available to organisations, initiatives and projects throughout the network
- Initiating and joining new projects and help address documentation and reporting needs at all levels throughout our networks
Main page: Knowledge and learning challenges
Key background challenges relate to the inadequacy of existing dominant mechanisms and institutions for creation and sharing of knowledge, which operate in a highly competitive environment marked by pressure to achieve markers of success hard to reconcile with the knowledge and learning interests, expertise and needs of community-led initiatives and networks. Experience suggests that these reflect a more fundamental culture clash between societal addiction to growth and obsession with separation, and the ethical commitment of most community-led initiatives to sharing and cooperation.
Attempts to bridge this divide draw on the efforts of many community-led initiatives, networks and coordinating organisations and engaged and value-led approaches in academic research and education to which many ECOLISE specialised members are committed. These efforts focus on creating inclusive, adaptable, practice-relevant knowledge on an open source basis and facilitating their use and ongoing development by user communities. Implementation raises specific challenges in terms of engagement, useability and maintenance, which the knowledge and learning working group is seeking to address.
Main page: Knowledge and learning for policy