Friday, April 19, 2013

Another web 2.0/social media training workshop is over. But...

Amuda, Justin (facilitator) and Linda
Agricultural research scientists, faculty staff, development practitioners in the agricultural and rural domain, and information professionals in Africa are slowly turning to web 2.0/social media to support their networking activities and for accessing and disseminating information more effectively. The use of web 2.0/social media requires new knowledge and skills and for the past five days, I have been sharing my knowledge of social media with 20 enthusiastic individuals at a Web 2.0 Learning Opportunity workshop in Accra, Ghana.  These individuals are actively engaged in agriculture and rural development, agricultural related research, agricultural information management, and media. They were selected from among 47 applicants who had expressed interest in the training workshop.

The workshop was hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - Institute for Scientific and Technological Information (INSTI) and supported by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) and the Regional Office for Africa (RAF) of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). The content focused on developing social media strategies, using social media tools such as Twitter, blogs, wikis and LinkedIn in building communities and knowledge sharing, and content licensing using Creative Commons.

Since 2008, I have conducted several training workshops on web 2.0/social media. Sharing knowledge with the workshop participants is the easy part of any workshop for me.  The hard part comes after the workshop and it has to do with the participants.  At the end of each workshop that I have conducted, I ask myself the following questions:

  • How many workshop participants will go on and adopt the social media tools that were introduced to them?
  • How many blogs created during the workshop would continue to be populated with content? 
  • How about tweeting? Will they continue to do so?

I have several examples of blogs created by some participants at the
Doreen and Esther from CISIR-INSTI
workshops in 2010 and 2011. Today, these blogs only contain content that was posted during practical work during the workshops. It is worrying. Several factors contribute to this state of affairs. Experience has shown that a good number of participants turn up for training workshops and that is all. There is no after life. In addition, some of them do not have access to suitable technical infrastructure and policy environment that support the use of social media in their institutions. Therefore, no matter how much some workshop participants would want to continue using social media, once back in their work environment, it is back to business as usual.

It is a challenge to think that a large number of people who may be taking part in a training workshop may not have time and opportunities to practice their newly acquired skills. Social media is personal and I always expected participants at my workshops to take a personal decision to adopt social media tools and integrate them in their professional life.

I have done my part!


  1. One of my colleagues attended, and he seems to have turned into a Twitter devotee.. plus Facebook of course. I do find it quite interesting that many librarians/information workers here in Ghana don't seem to be that interested in social media for professional purposes

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  4. I am one of the participants who attended a Web 2.0 workshop you facilitated at INSTI-CSIR, Accra-Ghana in 2009 and I have adopted the technology and have gone on to teach so many people more especially Lecturers, Librarians and Researchers in Academic and Research institutions in Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. So Dr. Chisenger there is hope..............

    Check my blog
    I just return from a two day web 2.0 workshop at the Kumasi Polytechnic participants were so grateful