In the past if I was working with a group and they wanted to stay in touch after the programme we would exchange email addresses but beyond this is was little random. It was the same with longer programmes where there was often no real contact between participants in between the sessions. I have found Google Groups to be an easy way to help create a community of learners.
With Google Groups you can set the group up so that it is a private group and invite the participants to join. Your role is of a moderator for the group which often means encouraging contributions. Individuals will often want to stay in touch or communicate between sessions but forget to do so, reminders from the moderator can help with this.
The Group format enables participants to share files and to post updates on their progress. This works really well for action learning groups. As a moderator you can watch the progress of the group and see what materials they engage with after the programme. You can also post up new material to share with the group.
If the group has been set up to support a longer running programme it is a way of checking on progress before the session and it prompts individuals to prepare for the session.
To set up a Google Group you will need to have a Google “sign in”. This doesn’t mean that you have to sign up to Google mail, you can just use a normal email address and a password. You can opt to be emailed every time someone adds to the group which is helpful if you are moderating a group so that you can respond quickly if there is a problem.