Mapping for Change

Over the last few years I have been working with colleagues (Donna Lanclos and David White) on the Visitor and Residents process. These resources are now available and ready to use, with this post, Donna’s and Dave’s adding some of the the context.

Visitor and Resident as a continuum of observed behaviours works well; and it provides an antidote to the nonsensical reference to technology and different generations, such as Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants, Touch Screen generation and other assumed technocentrist terms. In the continuum below, the visitor end represents online behaviours that, for example, leave no social trace (but they may leave a data trace), or where the user treats the web as a set of tools, performing defined tasks, such as shopping or reading information. The resident end may mean engaging with others online, having a digital identity, for example taking in part in discussion forums or writing product reviews for things they have purchased online.

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My interest in the process is around what it can tell us around behaviours. Initially the an axis was added, as shown below, to identify if individuals behave differently in their professional role and personal lives. This can be useful when individuals reflect on the various ways in which they are digitally active and their motivations for being so.

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For staff and organisational development there are immediate benefits in this process in getting people to understand where they are, and then identifying what aspirations they may have. Furthermore, once individuals are familiar with the concepts of visitor and resident and start to map their practice they can apply different terms to the y axis to help them understand their behaviours in different roles, spaces or even different courses they may teach.

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In developing the model further I was looking for a way to engage individuals and teams in understanding what their organisation does with digital. This needed to be underpinned with a critical understanding of visitor and resident and how people behave online, but on an alternative y axis — in this case broadcast and engagement.

James Clay, who used the mapping process for curriculum design purposes, and I ran a large scale workshop at Jisc Digifest 2016 using the idea of mapping elements of an organisation using this idea of broadcast and engagement. Below is shown a delegates map of where they they see the institution being active and engaging online (in this case as either individuals or at an organisational level) and also those areas where the information is being pushed with little or no active engagement, essentially just broadcasting.

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And again, depending on purpose, this can have a variety of y axes, see below.

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In Donna’s blog post about the release of the resources she said

“The maps are not the point”

So what’s the point? It all depends on the person doing the map. Or even the person running the workshop. New ideas emerge all the time when we start reflecting on practice. The mapping process is a way to articulate that reflection in a way that is meaningful to each individual. For some it might be a baseline for them to identify where they want to change practice. Others may want to use it as way of articulating how they communicate with other people. The point is that you get out of the map what you put into it.

The process, for me is the point.

When people seek to either develop their own practice, or lead change, then going through the mapping process and developing insights is essential to form a baseline, to see where you are. Then you can look at your strategies, your aspirations, will your map allow you to navigate to them? For me the process you go through not only allows you to map where you are but also it can give you the route you need to take going forward.

Digital Mapping Workshop