CMM-informed perspectives on creating online learning environments

Lilya Shienko, a 2021-2022 CMM Institute Fellow, has co-authored two book chapters with CMM Institute Board member Barton Buechner. These chapters are extensions of her Fellow’s project work in which she extends her fellow’s project work.

The first chapter by Lilya Shienko* and Bart Buechner, “Co-constructing belongingness—Strategies for creating community and shared purpose online: The social construction of community and meaning”, is included in the recently-released 2023 IGI publication Community Engagement in the Online Space (M. Dennis and J.D. Halbert, Eds.)

The book seeks to introduce readers to novel ways to enhance community-building in online environments for both education and business. Lilya and Bart’s chapter was drawn from Lilya’s experience with her CMM Institute Fellows cohort, who participated in online collaborative sessions and exposure to concepts of CMM theory through shared “common core” readings and discussion of applicability of various aspects of CMM to individual projects. In this chapter, Lilya and Bart describe how gaining awareness of the dynamics of the way groups co-construct their social reality together added life and dimension, as well as a sense of belongingness, to the way she experienced the online collaborative space with other CMMI fellows, and expanding connections to members of the broader CMM community. The chapter can be previewed and downloaded independently from the book at the publisher’s website:

The second book chapter co-authored by Lilya and Bart on “Getting ‘unstuck’—Transforming lived experience of veterans in transition to civilian life” is a part of a soon-to-be-released IGI publication, Using Innovative Literacies to Develop Leadership and Agency: Inspiring Transformation and Hope (E. Ben-Yosef and L. Pinhasi, Eds.) The focus of this book is on innovative concepts of literacy that promote self-leadership and agency for individuals and communities.

Lilya’s chapter was a collaborative effort with a student veteran, Kathlyn Worrell-George, who employed reflective writing exercises to understand problematic experiences of her personal story of transition from the military due to a career-ending injury. In this case example, “literacy of lived experience” is presented as a form of self-awareness that draws on concepts of phenomenology, somatics, and the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) as interpretive heuristics for analyzing the way meaning has been made of poignant life experiences. Personal stories of lived experience are examined from both individual (embodied) and collective (social systems) levels, using conceptual tools (including the CMM Hierarchy, Logical Force, and Daisy models) to help visualize the constitutive forces in play, and to visualize other possibilities for re-shaping the communication dynamics. This form of “literacy” is presented as a way to help individuals exercise self-leadership through an acquired capacity for co-constructing more coherent (and desirable) social realities after living through a disruptive experience.

This book is still in press, with release anticipated in mid-2023. A “preview” of the book, including a full abstract of this chapter, can be accessed at

*Lilya Shienko is a doctoral student at Adler University in the Industrial and Organizational Psychology program. Her dissertation (now in progress) uses a CMM approach to assessing the way that employees make meaning of their engagement in personal social media in the workplace, and the impact this has on job satisfaction. She is using a CMM-informed research method for this dissertation, based on the CMM Research Manual (S. Littlejohn & N. Rascon, Taos Institute, 2017).

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