By Silas Wandera, Ed.D.
Published: June 1, 2020
Gather-ed is a digital collaborative, small group social learning platform. Social learning takes place through interactions in which Group Members learn, share, debate, discuss, network, provide feedback, and strengthen professional connections, orchestrated by the team mentoring and coaching skills of the Group Leader. Therefore, Group Leaders play a pivotal role in driving the success of their group. But what is the value of the experience to the Group Leader?
What are some of the benefits of leading a group on Gather-ed?
Knowledge Sharing. Experts at Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy attest that the value of knowledge sharing is a critical role for a team leader. Team leaders are influencers in a group. “Knowledge sharing does not happen automatically in a team, and the team’s leader has an important role to play in making it come about” (Srivastava et al., 2006). While Group Leaders are selected due to their subject matter expertise, in a small group setting, Group Leaders also have the potential to learn and gain new insights from their Group Members.
Mentoring opportunity. Data gathered in a study conducted by Taylor et al., 2009 to assess the influence of mentorship and role modeling on developing physicians concluded that both established and aspiring leaders believed that mentorship and role modeling played a significant role in their professional development. Gather-ed is focused on providing a platform for clinicians at all stages of their career to serve as mentors and coaches to colleagues with similar interests.
Improving leadership skills. Although Group Leaders bring a wealth of leadership experience to a group, there is always room to enhance leadership qualities. Communication on The Real World at the University of Minnesota argued that group members shape the character of a Group Leader. Group Leaders will tend to adapt and refine their leadership skills based on the behavior of the group. In a small group setting such as Gather-ed, facilitation demands a high level of creativity. Group leaders hone their skills by adapting to these group dynamics.
Opportunity to be part of educational innovation. Distance learning is rapidly evolving, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, with educators actively exploring how to go beyond video web conferences and webinars. Gather-ed Group Leaders are on the cutting edge of a new type of distance learning experience that prioritizes mentor-led learner interactions and peer-to-peer engagement. As “early adaptors,” they will be able to present first-hand the value of this type of model to other clinicians and educators.
Of course, the most important benefit of leading a group on Gather-ed is the acknowledgement that patient care is being enhanced by meaningfully engaging with a small, connected group over an extended period of time, and helping group members achieve greater clarity of complex clinical challenges.