Learning and Evaluation/Archive/Learning pattern introduction

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Learning Patterns: The what, the why and the how

Prepared for Grantmaking retreat, March 26th, 2014. Some notes available at this etherpad.


You want to help volunteers within the Wikimedia movement capture important lessons they learn, in a way that other can easily access and benefit from those lessons.


Document important advice, heuristics, and solutions to recurring problems in learning patterns.

The Wikimedia learning pattern library (LPL) is intended to serve as a collaboratively-created resource to help community members pursue mission-aligned activities.

What is a learning pattern?[edit]

Learning patterns are Design Patterns.

“Each pattern describes a problem that occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem.” ~ Christopher Alexander, A Pattern Language

Basic format of a pattern[edit]

a common pitfall, recurring scenario, or useful goal
steps, guidelines, considerations, examples, use cases for addressing the problem
See also
related patterns, relevant external resources (on and off-wiki), references/evidence cited in the "problem" and "solution" sections of the pattern

How to create a learning pattern[edit]

  • Mine existing reportage: browse "Lessons learned" from PEG reports, as well as IEG reports.
  • Reflect on your own experience pursuing mission-aligned activities
  • Organize pattern hackathons where people brainstorm and create patterns

How to use learning patterns[edit]

What's next for learning patterns?[edit]

  • Surface the LPL within the IdeaLab, suggest relevant patterns to idea-creators
  • Make "paper patterns" for Wikimania 2014; hand them out during GLEE events, include in conference materials, display them on a board at the grantmaking booth
  • Develop better methods for searching, sorting, and endorsing patterns
  • Suggest patterns to IdeaLab idea creators
  • Build pattern-creation into reporting: prompt grantees to create & contribute to patterns in the LPL as an alternative reporting requirement

See also[edit]

Related patterns[edit]

Event planning & execution
Project planning
  • Expert involvement: when and how to involve people with special expertise into your projects
  • Feedback cycle: when and how to elicit stakeholder input on your project

Related resources[edit]