CSL In Session – Information For Facilitators
The Vision of CSL In Session
CSL In Session classes are grounded in the view that knowledge is socially constructed, and that learning involves
interaction, not just with content, but with experts and with peers.
This means that you’ll be presenting a digestible amount of thought-provoking, relevant content, and then facilitating
an engaging interaction among participants. In addition to the content you deliver, participants will learn from the
contributions of their peers, and through the process of crafting and sharing their own contributions within the session.
This is a bit different than the standard one-way dump of information that tends to happen in the standard “webinar.”
We’ve described CSL In Session to potential learners in the following way:
1) Classes are interactive, and participation is central to the learning.
2) Learners leave with distinct takeaways that can be immediately applied.
In an ongoing way, we’ll attempt to set expectations through our marketing that participation is expected of attendees,
and in fact essential to the success of each class. We’ll also prepare together (facilitator and producer) to aim for this
level of interactivity and potential for timely application.
Some help with preparation
It’s helpful to get clear on what learners will get out of this. After the session, what will they know, and what
will they do? The second question is important, since a major facet of CSL In Session is distinct, immediately
applicable takeaways for learners. Thinking of 10 important takeaways? Maybe it’s best to have two or three!
Keep in mind: adult learning is problem centered. Can you frame your session around this view?
Consider this: if learners can get the same information from a document or recording, there’s little point in
having a live, online session. The real value for the learner is in being there live, critically thinking about and
responding to your questions, and interacting with others around your content. How can we support this?
In the best case scenario, you’ll be developing a class where you’ll present a manageable amount of content,
taking up half of the class time or thereabouts. The remaining time—interspersed throughout—is used for
interactions where learners are tapping in to their existing knowledge and experience, and sharing that with you
and with fellow learners. If you prepare thought-provoking questions or discussion topics, these will allow
learners to access their own existing knowledge (and see Socratic questioning below for some ideas). You can
then facilitate the conversation so learners are able to integrate your material with what they already know.
Your class – ideas for before and after
Are there thought-provoking questions you can disseminate in advance of the class, that can get potential
learners thinking in advance about the issues, content, and their own existing knowledge and experience on the
Is there a handout you can create that learners can take away to help with 1) memory support or reinforcement;
and/or 2) application and implementation? Possibly an “assignment” that learners can complete or relate with
that supports application and implementation? Can they follow up with you on it?
Are there related articles or resources you can compile for more on the topic?
You can leverage the CSL In Session website to disseminate your related documents, post related resources, and
solicit comments from learners, thus maximizing potential takeaways.***Have a link to Slideshare and you can
upload your things without having to edit the CDE webpage every time you have a new presentation.
Your class – the flow
1) We’ll start with some kind of welcome exercise, possibly using tools the learners will use during the session (e.g.
whiteboard, chat to introduce themselves or give their experience on the topic, etc).
2) Could you have a 2nd
person go over the ground rules so that learners will see specifically how to participate, and
hear about expectations for their participation?
3) It’s a great idea to state the need for learners at the beginning. Why are they there? What can they expect to get
from the hour? Why is your topic important to them? Why should they care? What problems does this solve
4) You’ll launch in to your content delivery/interaction mix. Consider including information on the structure of the
class, through an outline or similar.
5) How can you close so that learners get clear on their takeaways? How can you support integration and
application of the material?
6) Learners will receive an outcomes-based survey after the class.
Ideas for interaction and use of tools
Chat brainstorm/discussion – can be used in conjunction with raised hands/check or X, or everyone can
o “If you’ve worked in customer service in other industries, type in chat – what industries did you work
within?” Facilitator or producer then goes through them, asks follow-up questions, etc.
o It’s a great idea to speak the names of learners: “Sue is saying that she’s had great customer service
experiences at Nordstrom. Sue, would you explain further?”
o Consider having learners comment on peer contributions in chat.
o Adobe Connect allows for multiple chat pods, which could be used side-by-side for pro/con or similar
kinds of discussion.
o A strategy around chat discussion is to put questions back on learners to provide answers. This is a way
to get participation and peer interaction going, and to leverage other experts in the room.
Use raised hands or other feedback tools – “use the green checkmark if you’re ever worked in customer service
in another industry” etc. This is a springboard to more discussion in chat.
Allow learners to write on the whiteboard to share ideas (these can also have the value of being anonymous).
We can manage group size by narrowing e.g. “those with last names beginning A-F, tell me what customer
service means to you.” Also, is there a way you can incorporate drawing?
If something is relevant out on the web, have them visit a site and come back within 2 minutes, then discuss or
share something about the experience.
Use the note pod to take notes on the discussion. Notes can be made available after the class. A note pod can
also be used as a Parking Lot for off-topic items, or items the facilitator can follow up on after the class.
Use the poll pod, or, allow learners to mark on a whiteboard as if it was a poll or quiz – e.g. list some things on a
slide, ask participants to mark the one that’s most important, then have them explain why. Note that polls and
quizzes need to support the instruction!
General guidelines for teaching online
Another of your roles is that of broadcaster. It’s helpful to learners if you keep your energy up, talk to
participants conversationally, and use a dynamic voice. Voice inflection is your only way to gesture in the online
It’s best to change the pace, interspersing your content delivery with activities, peer discussion and feedback,
rather than lecture for 30 minutes and then ask for questions.
Note that teaching and facilitating online, especially when learners aren’t able to talk, can be difficult. Therefore
the interactivity is good for you too – it’s the primary feedback you receive since you can’t see or hear your
Be specific about what you want learners to do during exercises – exercises are more effective when the task is
Avoid quickly moving cursors, polls, windows, anything viewable to learners. This could be a poor experience for
those on slower connections.
Relax, and have fun!
CSL In Session - Leadership