1. Cases
  2. Politicians


GroenLinks brings people together through social learning. The political party had already discovered that a social intranet can increase political clout by providing a shared platform for the hundreds of councilors and aldermen and the many volunteers across the country. They can unlock knowledge and use each other's experience at Plek.

  • Secured learning environment
  • Information gathered available in one platform
  • Meet all participants in advance

Recently they took a new step, says Maya Swaans, manager of the Academy of GroenLinks. ‘Last year we started and trained a talent class by using an online social learning module. The purpose of this training was to train people as representatives of GroenLinks. Each group consisted of twenty-four persons, divided into groups of six people. For them this academy was a test: does the House of Representatives suits me? Do I want to take that next step? And we were able to find out: does this person fit within our party GroenLinks, what kind of competences does the participant already have and what should he or she further develop?’


‘We built the module for e-learning together with Plek. The trick was to set it up in such a way that it would take the participants as little time as possible, but that they would be busy with learning new things online between their training days. These are all people with a very busy agenda, as councilor, alderman or director of a care cooperative. We had to seduce those people to work and to learn together.’

That collective (online) learning went well beyond expectations, says Maya Swaans. ‘For example, participants had to prepare a debate the night before. They received all their input via Plek. At that time, they were unable to call their trainer, but they were able to consult with the group. I was very happy when I saw that they were discussing the question: how are we going to tackle this?’


In the view of Maya Swaans, it is also pleasant that the online environment contains everything the participants need. ‘We also made videos of the candidates. They are only available on Plek. There, everyone could also give feedback on other participants. A great example of that: participants were given a difficult interview assignment with a very bold and resolute interviewer. We have asked participants to provide feedback on each other after seeing the video. They took it very seriously, and came up with very elaborate and useful comments.’

Since the information was very confidential, our online environment had to be secure. ‘We also looked at the interaction with Plek. For example, if participants were given an assignment to describe why they wanted to become a Member of Parliament, all participants in their group could saw and respond to it. Normally, this only happens on the first training day, but now the participants had already introduced themselves in this way. This made the learning process even more effective.’

The talents came together during an introductory weekend and on three training days. There, Plek was also the platform where all of the information and assignments were collected.

‘The beauty of the learning module was that people were not only learning on specific training days. They also continued with asking each other questions in between their trainings.’


Maya Swaans was a bit hesitant beforehand, using a social learning module for a talent class. ‘But everyone was positive afterwards. It sort of became a community where people shared photos of themselves in pyjamas while they were still preparing for an assignment.> ‘The beauty of the learning module was that people were not only learning on specific training days. They also continued with asking each other questions in between their trainings.’

GroenLinks has plans to also set up a talent class for prospective aldermen, says Maya Swaans. ‘Next to that, we also see opportunities to stimulate intermediate learning more.’