Riding the CAMEL


Who’d have thought that an idea with its origins in a self-help group formed many years ago by a number of small farmers in Uruguay could have anything to do with the development of a Community of Practice for people wanting to share experiences of e-Learning and learn from one another!

The CAMEL project stands for Collaborative Approaches to the Management of E-Learning, a project funded by the HEFCE Leadership, Governance and Management programme in the UK. It set out to explore how institutions who were making good use of e-learning and who were collaborating in regional lifelong learning partnerships might be able to learn from each other in a Community of Practice based around study visits to each of the partners’ institutions.

What caught my eye is a “Do-It-Yourself guide” to setting up a Community of Practice using the CAMEL model that they’ve published. Originally available on CD ROM, HEFCE have now made it available to view online, or you can download a ZIP file and view it on your computer which is what I did. The guide contains some really useful information, and includes a series of short video clips. I was also intrigued to see an old favourite of mine – the Johari window -used in their section on “Ground rules and trust” in the guide.

There was a lot in this guide that reinforces the findings of the online PD community we calledT4T4T that we ran in NZ a couple of years ago, although the CAMEL approach is more structured and provides some really useful resources to help individuals and institutions plan their participation in the CoP.

For a perspective on how to develop a community of practice aimed at finding out more about e-learning through the sharing of ideas and experiences I’d recommend this resource.

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