Case 7: Do not get too ambitious

We started the Polish pilot with a group of 35 people (from 5 different day-care centres of two different organisations), aged from 13 to 21 and varying in background, personal motivation, level of civic involvement, social abilities and digital skills. Most of the youngsters did not know each other prior to joining the pilot.

We seemed to believe that the internet was a miraculous power that would allow for perfect integration straight away and for overcoming any obstacle or difficulty in the group process. As a result we ended up with a number of problems and even conflicts within the group:

  • The oldest participants did not feel like working with the young ones
  • The hard-working participants got annoyed at the lazy ones
  • The passive partcipants and teachers were hard to be motivated online only and offline communication was hard because of the distances between all the centres
  • There was not enough room for everybody to participate in an action (35 was a far too big number of people to be involved in the work) - as a result, some participants lost interest
  • Discussions on chat were useless (there was no effective communication in such a big group)
  • Instead of improving communication skills we ended up with communication problems

At the moment of closing the pilot our group consisted of 15 members aged 14-18. We can say that througout the pilot they became friends, although they met only 4 or 5 times in real life. They can effectively communicate and organise small events for other people. They are really motivated and open for cooperation.

If we had not been that ambitious, we would not have faced that many problems within our pilot. We should have started with agroup of 15. We might have had 35 by now...