Friday, December 21, 2007

Engagement and usefulness

Further reflections on the Ames videos... looking at them from a research viewpoint, what is the value and contribution of this research? One thing that keeps occuring to me is that practitioner skill in and of itself is not the goal, it's creating engagement and usefulness for the effort. What is the point of using a tool like Compendium (or any other tool) when you're working with a group of people, trying to make the time you are spending together (the session) valuable. What constitutes value is situationally specific, of course (i.e. there isn't just one kind of value).

From an ideal point of view, Compendium sessions would be deeply and energetically engaging, the representation as much of a focal point as the participants' interactions with each other, the two interweaving with each other.

In some of the sessions, things the practitioners (the mappers and facilitators) do move the session in the direction of representational engagement and usefulness, in others they either don't do those things or do other things that in some way prevent or sap engagement and usefulness.

Characterizing the spectrum of those things and those ways feels like it could be a contribution.

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