Coming to Wikimania Stockholm? Sign up for Learning Days!

How do we make knowledge creation truly participatory for every community on our planet? The Wikimedia movement has been growing steadily, with more volunteers joining, and new affiliate groups created every year. Affiliates represent our movement at the local level and are charged with organizing activities and events to get people and organizations involved in the creation of the sum of all knowledge. In the years between 2014 and 2019, Wikimedia movement affiliates tripled: we went from having 50 affiliates to 151 (and we keep growing!). It grew more in this last five years than it did in its first 11 years of existence.

English: Wikimedia Conference 2018 Learning Days
WmCon2018 LearningDays 26.jpg () by AWang (WMF), CC-BY-SA-4.0.

How do we ensure that this growth is sustainable? In 2013, we started the Wikimedia Learning and Evaluation initiative to build a culture of accountability and learning within the movement. After 5 years implementing Learning Days, we are now also offering a new, evolved curriculum: Training of Trainers, in-person training that incorporates our communities’ higher levels of experience. The next opportunity to receive this training will be at Wikimania Stockholm, on August 14 and 15. Learn more and sign up!

Piloting structured training: Learning Days

We at the Wikimedia Foundation had observed for several years how communities took on to adapting initiatives that were successful in different parts of the world. A good example of this is the program Wikipedian in Residence. In 2010, Wikipedian Lyam Wyattsuggested this role at the closing speech of GLAM-Wiki congress: a person that would be in charge of training the staff group in a museum, archive, library, or gallery (GLAM) on how to use the Wikimedia projects to promote their collection or archive. The idea of this program was so attractive that several Wikimedia communities replicated the model, and today, there are more than 125 Wikipedians in Residence all over the world.

English: Wikimedia Conference 2018
Wikimedia Conference 2018 – 017.jpg () by Jason Krüger for Wikimedia Deutschland e.V., CC-BY-SA-4.0.

While replication has always played a big role in our collective learning as a movement, it wasn’t sustainable or necessarily yielding the desired results for local communities. This is why in 2013, we started the program Learning Days, with this foundational question: are your activities and events helping you reach your goals? These two days of professional training included workshops on program design and evaluation, how to create a theory of change and logic models, how to measure success, and how to do storytelling for engagement, among other topics. In the course of 6 years, through 11 implementations of Learning Days, and with other learning resources developed, we have seen affiliates’ proposals and reports improve significantly in terms of setting clear program goals and targets and then executing and measuring the impact of those goals.

Throughout this journey, we identified some Wikimedia communities had more advanced learning than others, and we incorporated this knowledge as part of the curriculum: in the last iteration of Learning Days, half of the sessions were facilitated by community members. These were more experienced Wikimedians that were stepping up to share their skills with their peers.

An evolved curriculum: Training of Trainers

English: Wikimedia Conference 2018
Wikimedia Conference 2018 – 012.jpg () by Jason Krüger for Wikimedia Deutschland e.V., CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Today,  our movement finds itself at an interesting turning point: we now observe multiple specialized skills within the movement and higher levels of expertise. How can we make room for experienced movement organizers? It is time to evolve our capacity development proposal to support these needs, too. This is why we developed Training of Trainers, an in-person training curriculum to develop Wikimedia movement organizers into skilled trainers within their home communities. This new curriculum seeks to increase capacity for structured, reflective, and effective training of learners, to improve understanding of and confidence in community members’ own role and style as trainers, and to create a global network of trainers who share knowledge and best practices. The goal is to develop community leaders into skilled trainers, that can share their skills with others, in order to scale the movement in a sustainable way.

The first implementation of this new curriculum took place at the Wikimedia Summit, a conference held in Berlin earlier this year. After the training, over 71% of participants increased their confidence in their mastery of all of the training’s core skills.

These outcomes encourage us to explore the possibilities of this new proposal even more, and we have been working to improve this curriculum in several areas. This is what we hope to offer at Wikimania 2019 in Stockholm: a combination of enhanced curriculums that can apply to a variety of  Wikimedians, and find better ways to collaborate. To participate, register to attend Wikimania, including the pre-conference days. Find more information and register by July 31st!

Originally posted on Wikimedia Foundation News by María Cruz on 2 July 2019

Introducing Wikimedia Space: A platform for movement news and conversations

Today, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Community Engagement department is launching Wikimedia Space, a platform for movement organizers, affiliates, contributors, partners, and the Foundation to share news, questions, and conversations.

Learning from others has been the bedrock for development and growth in our movement. With this platform, we want to promote these sorts of enriching exchanges by welcoming people from every background to build strong and diverse communities, breaking down the barriers for entry to our movement, and focusing our efforts on facilitating collaboration, including from communities that are new to our movement.

Wikimedia Space is a single place for collaboration, comprising Blog and Discuss hubs. The Blog section provides a movement-wide platform for project updates, recent events, and shared learnings. We have designed editorial guidelines that allow everyone to share their news with others.

At Discuss, anyone can start conversations, comment, like, and bookmark other people’s comments, both in public and closed groups. Wikimedia Space also allows anybody to add an event, which can be discovered in a calendar or a map of the movement. We want this new space to be safe and welcoming, especially for newcomers, and this is why it is governed by a code of conduct, and relies on active community moderation.

Map displaying Wikimedia events around the world.

Wikimedia Space is currently a prototype, built on WordPress and Discourse. While at present it only operates in English, it will evolve to include multiple languages in the near future. Our plan is to gather feedback from early adopters from across the movement and iterate this version of the platform to suit Wikimedians’ needs. This project is only possible with your participation. Spread the news and join Wikimedia Space!

What stories can you find in the Wikimedia Space?

The Blog section of the space is dedicated to stories by the movement, from the movement. We want to know what inspires you, what you are learning from, and what new innovative ideas you are trying. Why is what you do important to achieve our shared movement goals? We want to hear about it.

In this space, we will also publish stories from Wikimedia Foundation teams that are aimed at community members—things like community news to tech-focused updates, for example. We will also feature reports, interviews with community members, and community profiles. In the near future, we aim to integrate newsletters from different topic areas in the movement.

We have defined editorial guidelines with a template for community members to submit ideas, which can be done via WordPress. In order to promote conversations, each story published in the news section will create a new topic on the Discuss side of the website.

What questions and conversations can you find in the Wikimedia Space?

Discuss is the space to enquire about and collaborate on all things Wikimedia. It is an open, welcoming forum to exchange and develop ideas publicly or in closed groups, among other things. We believe that by centralizing questions in a single place, we improve access to knowledge about the movement, making it easier for newcomers to join Wikimedia as active contributors.

Screenshot showing how to report uncivil behavior.

In Discuss, users can move up in trust levels based on their contributions over time. This will, in turn, give them access to additional features, enhancing the experience for contributors.

Discuss also allows Wikimedians to add events and view them in a calendar and a map, a tool that enables the mapping of Wikimedia activities all over the world. Many of the initial features in this space constitute great tools for community organizers, and we look forward to adding new developments in the near future, like the ability to post messages across different platforms.

Create your account

This space will not be possible without your participation. If you have always supported newcomers, this is the space for you to share your knowledge. If you have questions about how to start contributing, this is also the space to learn the many hats you can wear in our movement! If you are a community organizer, this is the space to promote your group and your events; please share this project with your local community, and encourage them to participate in the new Wikimedia Space.

Check out About Wikimedia Space to learn how to make this space personalized for you, and what new features will be coming. Take a look at the editorial guidelines to see how to publish blog stories, then read over the Space’s code of conduct.

Follow the project’s page on Meta-Wiki to learn about our vision, problem statement, and other documentation about this project. Help us expand Wikimedia Space: add your voice, share your questions and knowledge with the wikiverse!