* After Action
Discussion forums and Q&A forums are places on the Internet or an intranet where users can post messages for others to read, answer and comment on. Often the discussion is hosted on a website, while users interact through their email system. Various emails or posts are presented as "threads", with each thread being a single topic, and with the posts presented in chronological order.
Discussion forums are for open discussion within a learning community, with discussions often lasting for a long time, and frequently changing focus over time (known as "topic drift"). Q&A forums are specifically for answering questions. An employee can raise a question on a specific topic, and anyone in the community with knowledge or advice to share can answer. Some Q&A forums send the questions only to a group of experts (such as the "Ask Anglo system in AngloAmerican). Others send them to the whole community. Q&A forums are "ask the audience" technology. They can be a lifeline for individuals isolated from their community of practice
Discussion forums are valuable when practitioners around the company are addressing similar issues and wish to have a forum for testing ideas. Q&A forums are valuable when knowledge and experience are distributed around a global learning community, and where members of the community can help, teach or advise each other. They provide rapid access to knowledge and solutions.
A Yellow Pages system is an index of "who knows what" - a knowledge directory for the organisation. It enables you to find people to help you, and to help people find you. It is an easy way to locate anyone working in the business, based on their knowledge and expertise. The system allows you to create your own personal home page, including your contact details, your picture, your CV and links to other information - in fact, anything you want to say about yourself. Yellow Pages can link with information already held about you on other databases, such as the company email directory. Yellow Pages can also create membership lists for communities, and allow you to search for communities as well as individuals.
A video conference is a meeting of people to "confer" about a topic, where the people are in more than one location, but use two-way video and audio transmissions to hear and see each other. The term is generally used for meetings of more than two people. Alternatively, a video conference can be a way for a single person to present to audiences in other locations, and to answer questions. Video conference is popular in many global companies, and is supported often by dedicated rooms and high-specification technology. Desktop video conferencing is also an option, involving the linking up of two or more computers so you can see and listen to each other live. This has the added benefits of informality and spontaneity.
Videoconferencing often supports the ability to use a "whiteboard", where one participant can write and draw in a window and everyone else sees exactly the same thing. Also pictures and scanned documents can be shared. A video conference is a good solution for a group of people, based in different locations, to hold a live interaction. It is greatly helped if they have already met face to face and so know each other. It is less useful as a format for meeting people for the first time. Video conferences work well for check-ins and progress reporting. They may be less satisfactory for decision-making or reaching consensus. All parties will need access to videoconferencing technology. This may require them booking dedicated video conference suites in their respective offices. For desktop videoconferencing, all parties need the same video conferencing software installed on each of their machines (for example Microsoft NetMeeting). Some instant messenging software supports video conferencing. All parties will also need a broadband connection.
A complex video conference will need an online facilitator. Rules for video conferencing are
A telephone conference or "conference call" is a meeting between a group of people conducted over the telephone. A telephone conference is a good solution for a group of people, based in different locations, to meet for a discussion. It works best when the people already know each other, having met face to face. Common applications are client meetings or sales presentations, project meetings and updates, regular team meetings, training classes and communication to employees who work in different locations. Conference calling is viewed as a primary means of cutting travel costs and allowing workers to be more productive by not having to go out-of-office for meetings.
Conference calls can be designed so that the calling party calls the other participants and adds them to the call. In most cases, the participants are able call into the conference call themselves. They do so either: by dialing into a "conference bridge" (a specialized type of equipment that links telephone lines), or by using a special telephone number set up for that purpose. Usually, most companies use a specialized service provider who maintains the conference bridge, or who provides the phone numbers and PIN codes that participants dial to access the meeting or conference call. Most domestic and office phones already offer an option for three-way dialling.
Last updated Aug 2012. Contents Copyright Knoco Ltd.