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IEA Affiliate Week: Let’s Get Digital — Ripple-Effect Mapping in the COVID-19 Era by Sarah Goletz and Jennifer Taylor

Jennifer Taylor

Hello! We are Sarah Goletz and Jennifer Taylor with the Indiana Area Health Education Centers Network Office (part of Indiana University School of Medicine).  Today, we are going to overview how we moved our Ripple Effect Mapping (REM) Session, a usually vital, in-person event, online. 

It is weird to think that just over six months ago, we could meet our colleagues and partners without thinking twice about social distancing, mask mandates, and if we have enough hand sanitizer for everyone to use.  As we watched the ripples of COVID-19 cancel meetings, conferences, and events that had been in the works for months, some of them years, we knew our events were next on the chopping block. We weren’t fazed by canceling most of our events, but how do we navigate this new landscape so that we can continue to engage in participatory evaluation in a virtual world? 

We love to conduct REM sessions. It’s a great way to better understand the impact we have in a community beyond surveys and quantitative data. We were excited to share this method with our peers at the Indiana Evaluation Association and really did not want to cancel it. Our first thoughts were, ‘…can this even be done virtually?’ and ‘…how can it be done virtually?’.  

A REM regular session has 12-14 people, paired up to group interview each other and report out, while a mind map is created in live person. It is a strong, connection-based activity that allows for networking in addition to seeing the connections in real-time. It sounded daunting to do virtually, but we believe it’s doable.  Below we have outlined the main steps to REM and how we plan to modify the steps to accommodate a virtual platform, in this use-case, Zoom.

Cool Tricks:

  • In-person attendance moves to Zoom (or similar) platform where participants are requested to use both video and audio. Gallery view recommended in Video Settings
  • Paired appreciative inquiry interviews will utilize Zoom’s Breakout Room Feature, with auto-return set to the larger presentation.
  • Paired report out can occur using the Full Screen-Share so participants can see the co-facilitators conducting mind-mapping real-time while still having the ability to see each other.
  • Theme validation participants can use the Full Screen-Share so participants can communicate with the facilitators and each other as we close out the event.

Hope this helps anyone who is scratching their head trying to figure out the best plan of action to move a REM session virtual! We are excited to see how this goes with our colleagues on October 16, 2020!

Rad Resource: If you are interested in learning more about REM, a great resource is A Field Guide to Ripple Effect Mapping, available for FREE at https://conservancy.umn.edu/handle/11299/190639.

Feel free to get digital with us as we navigate this new terrain!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Indiana Evaluation Association (IEA) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from IEA members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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