Understanding people and social dynamiques
Sociometrics is a method that allows groups of persons to identify commonalities and to get an overview of networks and structures thereby helping the group to break the ice. Depending on the setting where it is applied, the method may require a high level of interaction among participants and it is suitable for large and small groups.
Use this method to:
- Visualize social systems and understand complex structures.
- Connect large groups, develop and expand networks.
- Foster sharing.
- Create an open and welcoming environment.
Steps to apply this method to:
- Define the purpose of the learning activity and prepare a series of questions or statements accordingly that relate to the participants themselves. For example, if the purpose is to introduce participants to each other, then the set of questions may include: nationality, country of residence, hobbies, etc. Alternatively, if the purpose is to understand participants’ previous knowledge before starting a training, then formulate questions about the subject matter.
- Define the tool that you will use, familiarize yourself with its functionalities, and prepare the online space. Consider the use of a collaborative whiteboard, an annotation- or a polling tool.
- Brief the participants and explain the learning activity.
- Start the learning activity by asking the participants the first question, and instructing them to proceed as explained previously. For instance, if using a collaborative board or annotation tool, invite the participants to gravitate to the space or group that is most relevant to them.
- Repeat the process 1 to 3 times with different sets of questions or statements to encourage the largest possible mixing of participants.
- Debrief in plenary to reiterate key observations and collect reflections from participants. Depending on the time available and size of your group, you can briefly interview participants and ask them to elaborate on their choices or answers.
It can be an effective approach to ice-breakers.
- FunRetrospective: Explorer, Shopper, Vacationer, Prisoner
- Collaboratively create maps on Padlet
- Using annotation tools for collaboration on Zoom
- Dots data visualisation on Mentimeter
Download Session Plan Example
UN INTER-AGENCY TASK FORCE ON SOCIAL AND SOLIDARITY ECONOMY - 2