Communities of Inquiry in crisis management exercises

Öbeg, Lena-Maria; Nyströ, Christina Amcoff; Littlejohn, Allison and Vrieling-Teunter, Emmy (2019). Communities of Inquiry in crisis management exercises. In: Littlejohn, Allison; Jaidmark, Jimmy; Vrieling-Teunter, Emmy and Nijland, Femke eds. Networked Professional Learning Emerging and Equitable Discourses for Professional Development. Research in Networked Learning. Springer, pp. 55–68.



Employees working in diverse settings such as schools, shops and government organisations have to be prepared for crisis situations, for example a school shooting, extreme weather flooding, a health pandemic and so on. In these situations they have to deal with the unexpected which makes it difficult to anticipate what they need to learn and how. This chapter examines how employees learn to deal with crisis situations, specifically focusing on whether a crisis management exercise could contribute to the development of a community of inquiry (CoI). The CoI model is chosen as the underpinning theory because it is assumed that learning communities create awareness, trust, and support knowledge sharing, which are necessary pre-conditions for collaboration in crisis management situations. The study uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative data to analyse a simulated crisis exercise. The first round of analysis evidences that the exercise does not contribute to the development of a learning community. Digging deeper into the data in a second round, the results show that the CoI model does not reflect the various types of learning communities that develop within a crisis management exercise, such as home communities, cohort communities, specialist communities and local working groups. A key recommendation is that the CoI model should be expanded to include these four community types. Four additional key concepts appear important for community development in crisis management exercises: adoption of the various group, considering important partnerships, value creation and visibility. The extended CoI model could help to plan, monitor and evaluate professional learning of learning communities in future crisis management exercises.

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