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Knowledge4Policy: State of Play

During a recent internal European Commission training, published here, Knowledge4Policy’s “PolicyLayer” generated a lot of interest, but staff are even more interested in our approach to online communities.

Earlier this month I ran a 90-minute training course on Knowledge4Policy (“K4P”) for the “PolicyMaking Hub”, an internal professional development programme for policymaking in the European Commission. The training session was popular and well received: almost 50 people showed up, and a repeat was requested for 13 October (EC staff can already register).

Although “PolicyMaking Hub” training material is generally limited to EC staff, the EC agreed we could publish it here, so you can watch the entire recorded videotraining if you wish, left (warning: 1 hour!).

In the interests of transparency — and, to be frank, the hope that others might share their experience with similar initiatives — we’ve also published a series of short videos taken from the training’s various chapters below, followed by analyses of the polls we ran throughout the training.

Knowledge4Policy: What & Why?

Does what it says in 5m35s:

Knowledge4Policy: Audience Research

With two very different audiences to satisfy, we looked for relevant audience research to guide K4P’s development. We found none, and so did our own. Here’s what we found:

Note: we’ve published three posts on our audience research — start with:

Building the Policylayer

Among other things, our audience research showed K4P needed a “Policylayer” to make scientific knowledge more accessible to policymakers.

Landing Pages, Featured Topics & Tools

So far we’ve rolled out new Landing Pages for each Knowledge Service, as well as Featured Topics: highly structured interfaces to help policymakers make sense of K4P knowledgebase content in particularly important domains:

Note: the policylayer was usability-tested last October with volunteers from around Europe who responded to this post:

Next for the Policylayer? Major Reports

Based on this report, we’ve recently conceived another component for the Policylayer, currently being considered by the K4P Platform Steering Group:

What’s next? New CMS, new design & communities

After we finish moving to Drupal8 (content management system software) we will be able to adopt a new, community-friendly design before adding community features. This video sets out our approach to online community:

What did the audience think, and what did we learn?

If you plough through the entire 1-hour video, you’ll see that we regularly paused for audience feedback via questions and polls.

The largest groups were knowledge and data managers, followed by policy advisors.

The first poll simply established who our audience was, using audience classes from our initial audience research.

Despite the predominance of knowledge and data managers, the audience showed greatest interest in our approach to online community, to be developed once we’ve finalised our migration to Drupal 8:

While community was of greatest interest, all features scored well, so we appear on track to creating a useful site for audiences as diverse as researchers and policymakers.

Plans and technologies, of course, are all very well. As set out in a concluding slide, we face many challenges turning plans into reality. Meeting those challenges will be critical to successfully building a community on Knowledge4Policy:

What do you think?

We’d love your thoughts, ideas and useful links, so don’t hesitate to share them by responding to this post, submitting your own or by Tweeting to @EUScienceHub.



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Mathew Lowry

Mathew Lowry

Piloting innovative online communications since 1995. Editor: Founder: Personal Hub: