Networked Improvement Communities: Bryk lectures Bristol 2014

‘Making Systems Work – whether in healthcare, education, climate change, or making a pathway out of poverty – is the great task of our generation as a whole’ and at the heart of making systems work is the problem of complexity. 

Prof Tony Bryk, President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching,  spent a week with people from the Learning Emergence network, leading a Master Class for practitioners, delivering two public lectures and participating in a consultation on Learning Analytics Hubs in Networked Improvement Communities  (background).  A key idea is that in order to engage in quality improvement in any system, we need to be able to ‘see the system as a whole’ and not just step in and meddle with one part of it.

This is an approach which links ‘top down’ measures of performance with a ‘bottom up’ approach to organisational improvement, including all stakeholders in understanding and analysing the problem  and developing shared ‘aims and purposes‘. Having identified a ‘high leverage’ problem for improvement and a community generated driver diagram,  attention is focused on processes which need improvement and will contribute to achieving the shared purpose. Commitment to a common measurement model  and multiple rapid prototype interventions which proceed as part of a shared network of improvement, enable the networked community to ‘learn fast, fail fast and  improve fast’.

These slides are from Professor Bryk’s public lecture…links on this page will take allow you to access some more practical slides from the Master Class.

six principles of networked improvement communities

1.  Make the work problem-specific and user-centered.
2.  Variation in performance is the core problem to address.
3.  See the system that produces the current outcomes.
4.  We cannot improve at scale what we cannot measure.
5.  Anchor practice improvement in disciplined inquiry.
6.  Accelerate improvements through networked communities.

Learning Analytics for NICS

The social learning infrastructure required for a successful Networked Improvement Community is both organisational and virtual. Learning analytics and virtual learning networks can rapidly speed up the process of sharing learning and feedback of data from prototypes and enhance the speed and quality of improvement.  A workshop on Educator-NICs: Envisaging the Future of ICT–enabled Networked Improvement Communities shared current knowledge and know how providing an exciting vision for the future of learning analytics (leading to these reflections on Bryk’s work and learning analytics).

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Simon Buckingham Shum Copyright © 2015