Lessons Learned from the Gateway Academy Co-Creation Process
Kristy Amacker is a senior web strategist with CGAP’s Gateway Academy where she works with the team to define requirements and articulate a vision for their online learning hub. She is passionate about collaborative approaches to designing and developing technical solutions that share knowledge.
In summer 2016, CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, a global partnership of 34 leading development organizations, housed at the World Bank) convened over 70 people from 14 different countries for a two and a half day Collaboration & Co-Creation workshop in Nairobi, Kenya to help shape Gateway Academy program design and approaches. This innovative initiative, funded by The MasterCard Foundation, is developing an e-learning marketplace to offer online, mobile and blended (both online and in-person) courses focused on financial inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Gateway Academy is working with training providers, financial service providers and e-learning experts to generate high-quality course content, build communities of practice and conduct on-going research to understand user needs.
Gateway Academy is a collaborative, stakeholder-driven initiative. It brings together those from the demand side (notably financial service providers) and the supply side (training providers, content experts, financial inclusion experts, instructional designers, advisors and innovative e-learning/m-learning experts). The point of the workshop was to convene these stakeholders to inform Gateway Academy program design and approaches.
Working with such a large and varied group of stakeholders presents a tremendous opportunity as well as various challenges. The team from the Gateway Academy wanted to share some initial observations on this type of collaboration gathered during our inaugural event.
1. While divergent perspectives are critical, it’s important to establish a common frame of reference to facilitate a productive exchange of ideas. The initial portion of our agenda made sure we were starting from a shared understanding of the opportunities and challenges around eLearning and financial inclusion in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa. We heard from a variety of speakers on such topics as
- “Regional Insights into the State of Financial Inclusion and Capacity Realities”
- eLearning Innovations
- Instructional Design and Course Planning
- Cases from Financial Services eLearning in SSA
2. Be realistic on what can be accomplished over two and a half days. Building on our common frame of reference, we spent a great deal of time surfacing issues and identifying pain points. Participants were forthcoming and frank about the challenges surround capacity development generally and eLearning in particular around financial inclusion in SSA. New ideas and thoughts were offered for moving forward, exactly what we were hoping for from the workshop. Many of those new ideas were still high level and begged additional questions. At the end of our time together, we had sharpened our focus and refined the next set of questions to explore. Which brings us to our next point…
3. Collaboration is an ongoing process – plan for it and communicate about it. Deepening our connection with our training and financial service providers set the stage for ongoing engagement on the issues that the workshop helped to crystalize. Some of our means of ongoing collaboration include:
- Ongoing online knowledge sharing with participants—Gateway Academy set up a community of practice on eLearning and financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa via LinkedIn with 59 members.
- Learning Circles—Gateway Academy created several Learning Circles and made time and space for them to meet at the Collaboration & Co-Creation Workshop. Each circle matches a
- Financial Service Provider
- Training Provider/Content Expert
- Online Learning Firm
- Online Instructional Design Consultant
- Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Partner
- CGAP Team Member
- Project Manager
Gateway Academy is facilitating the work within each circle and knowledge sharing between circles and more broadly throughout the initiative to inform its ongoing development.
- External Advisory Board—Gateway Academy is creating an external advisory board to guide ongoing program development. This group will draw from workshop attendees and beyond.
In addition to these planned opportunities for collaboration, Gateway Academy is communicating with our work shop attendees, keep them updated on progress, including how their thinking has helped to shape it.
Gateway Academy would love to hear from others about their experience of collaboration and co-creation with stakeholders. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to share our learning as this initiative develops.