Ladders of Participation

Old and new models

(WORLD) Back at the turn of the century I was busy working my way around a couple of local authorities here in the UK. I ended up in one where the Chief Executive took a shining to me and basically allowed me to write a job description for the post of 'Corporate Youth Officer', focussed on embedding youth participation into the councils operations—it was the first ever post of its kind in the UK.

One of the things I held dear at that time was Roger Harts 'Ladder of Participation' (which is still very much in use today and which every youth professional knows backwards across the globe):

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Spring forward into the latter end of the last decade and I'm delivering keynotes and masterclasses to several youth services across the country (and world) and mashing up the above ladder with another one which show how people use the web (below is the latest verion):

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Looks familiar, huh? Maybe great minds were thinking alike here or maybe the Forrester guys were inspired by Mr Hart?

All I know is that participation as a term and model can be substituted for many of the social media phrases such as conversation, community and/or user-generated content, and maybe that's why I feel so at home in this space as I've been doing stuff like this for over a decade.

8 thoughts on “Ladders of Participation”

  1. Appreciate you taking the time to comment David and to add in your take plus links to other stuff.

    Checking out Tims post reminded me of the Hear by Right Matrix (which I actually developed in my old role after they bought out the first iteration and I needed something to apply it, was well chuffed when they incorporated into their 2nd edition) – like you say, old melts into new and into old again :-)

  2. I’m very impressed by this update of the ‘Ladder’. I may also use it in my other role as an OU tutor on a WWYP course that already uses the ‘ladder’ and Hear By Right to discuss issues around the participation of young people.

  3. Thanks Yvonne – use away, just pop back and let us know what the students think / get out of it please… failing that, if you need a guest person to come in and deliver a talk/masterclass then just let me know…

  4. Hi DK & David. I have had the benefit of your inspirational training DK (in MK) but doubt if I or the OU could afford you. I checked out the link David thanks..and that is another useful development of the original theory. One of the best things about the web is that it enables far more people to make their views known and get involved in change. However, I’d heard that young people use the net for socialising far more than for either getting information (unless they have an assignment to write)or being involved in their communities. Do you think that is true ?

  5. Hy there Yvonne – you might want to delve into The Web Makes Me Feel stats a little where we’ve found “learning (q&a)” is actually the second most popular reason why young people use the web positively.

    Like we always say, the web is simply a foil for us all – therefore if you’re younger and friendships are more important then that’s what you will use it for ;-)

    As for our price, we actually dropped our entry level training package cost in this announcement.

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