Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Recommendations/Invest in Skills Development
Connection to other recommendations
his recommendation proposes the idea of prioritizing skill development throughout the Movement. It is supported by the ‘Manage Internal Knowledge’ recommendation.
We must invest in both individuals and partner organizations to develop the indispensable technical skills needed to contribute, as well as people-centered skills, such as communication, conflict resolution, and intercultural dialogue, to enable the cultural change we envision. This requires various methods, among them, a platform that is equitable, transparent, and contextualized, relying on distributed knowledge and expertise.
Currently, training and mentorship are generally inaccessible across the Wikimedia Movement. Our communities struggle to grow and thrive consistently. Newcomers face a steep learning curve and often get discouraged and leave, while seasoned Wikimedians are neither encouraged nor empowered to scale their contributions in the Movement. Stakeholders are frequently isolated, forced to reinvent the wheel instead of accessing, leveraging, and building upon existing capacities. When it does exist, skills development is unevenly distributed, with well-organized, well-resourced projects or groups having greater access to resources than others, and barriers (linguistic, technological, cultural) preventing others from accessing training opportunities and materials.
Because we are planning to build a more distributed organization intentionally, the Movement-wide skills imbalance may risk being amplified, unless investment for skill development and training is designed as a priority from the start. Developing the skills of our communities is a necessary prerequisite to achieving the strategic direction in 2030. We will not be able to reach other goals without them.
To equitably invest in skills development for both stakeholders and partner organizations, we recommend an approach based on several actions. We must start by reducing the need for skills development programs through more effectively leveraging the knowledge we already have. This will involve assessing and mapping current skills that are present as well as those that are needed to support the overall needs of the Movement. This can be done by creating more fluid user experiences and enabling easier access to existing information thanks to effective internal knowledge management.
We must build solid learning pathways for individuals and organizations, both online and offline. Online, we should create a coherent and fluid learning experience, preferably through a platform or network of material, offering a wide set of contextualized learning resources about both Wikimedia projects and Movement processes. This includes “learning packs” oriented toward newcomers (individuals, affiliates, or partners), including welcome packs, growth plans, toolkits for them to enter and thrive in our Movement, and delivering skills recognition (eg. through open badges certification) to acknowledge the result of the efforts.
Offline, capacity building should be distributed at all levels (individual, local, regional, global), and include multiple formats (train-trainers programs, training, mentoring, coaching, workshops, clubs, camps, conferences, and hackathons), creating a dense network of peer-support for both individuals and organizations to grow. This will require both local empowerment so that people can decide what is best for themselves, and global cooordination and evaluation, so that all stakeholders can learn from each other, continually improve, and be recognized for their expertise through a shared certification system.
For skills development to grow steadily and equitably, it will need solid investment in terms of resources and staff, with a focus on under- and unrepresented communities. We propose support by a dedicated unit, or a coordinated effort from Movement entities’ staff members to work together tightly, keeping subsidiarity in mind as a principle.
- Create a user-friendly, multi-lingual, multi-formats platform to host training materials, enabling autonomous and self-directed learning, peer-learning, mentoring, and networking.
- Design “learning packs” for individuals and organizations joining our Movement to embed skills and knowledge development within all of our practices.
- Allocate substantial human and financial resources to skills development to contextualize support with dedicated, coordinated, global, and local staff and partnership programs.
- Create a system of skills assessment, mapping available and missing skills, and delivering official skills recognition (e.g., through open badges certification).