My earlier 3 questions were very general but the answers have drawn out some of the people's main concerns and have enabled us to focus on some specific issues. A colleague of mine (Tim Sims) used to say that the evaluation process was a bit like fishing (where you just cast around to see if anything bites!), then hunting (when you know there is something there and go looking for it) then shooting (when you have something clearly in your sights).
It feels like the first 3 questions (i.e "What would you like to see the network do more of " etc) were the fishing bit and these next ones are are the hunting questions!
I have deliberately entered each question as a separate post so that there is a comment box under each one. I hope this will make it easier for people to respond and also make it easier for me to sort out the answers. I'm sure this is not good web design but I always find it a bit daunting to have to respond to a single post with a lot of very different information in it. At least this way you can leave out any questions you don't feel you can answer.
I know everyone is busy but I really would like as many people to comment as possible so that we get a cross section of views.
Meanwhile, hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and have a good New Year!
What is the network's market position? Who is is targeted at? Trainers or researchers? Is it an homogenous group?
Was there sufficient market research conducted to find out whether this network was needed and by whom? Do we know that there is a definite gap in the market that we are filling? How were the needs of the end users determined?
Are top down networks usually doomed to failure? Is it inherent in the nature of a network that it should evolve bottom up? Do communities evolve organically or can they be artificially created?
Exactly what added value does this network bring compared with local or national networks?
How do we overcome the language issue? Should we have a series of easily accessible pages for local / national networks and reduce the English language content? Should this site become a 'meta-network' site?
Do e-conferences actually do anything to add value to the network or do they just attract those with an interest in the topic immaterial of whether they are network members?
Should we worry about the fluidity of the network users and should we be concerned about stability and sustainability or just let the network follow a cycle and die away when it reaches its 'sell-by' date?