What do teachers have to unlearn is the question of PD; can’t just layer things on. Learning in a new mode (i.e. online) helps in the unlearning/relearning process – so, what are they “unlearning” as they learn to teach online?
Examples of the kinds of things that are “different” / need to be relearned; important skills for teaching students “Inquiry model” we use in online PD applies to classroom
A core document that anchors our approach to building a learning community and preparing online facilitators; Strategies we model in the training course
Share own introduction and reply to each person in the orientation session. Try to make personal connections to participants as much as professional ones.
Facilitators need to be comfortable repeating themselves! Deliver goals and expectations at the outset and repeat them along the way by weaving them into forum replies and group emails.
Send private emails to check on missing participants, to remind participants of items they need to complete or to send a compliment about their performance. Respond as soon as possible to questions or concerns. Use email in multiple ways – group and individual
Avoid “over-facilitating” and focus on strategies that get participants talking with each other After the orientation, facilitators can back off my replies to participants if others have already replied. Use techniques to reply to several participants at once or to summarize ideas at key points, i.e. “Joanna, Dave and Lindsey mention instructor presence as a key component in an online course. What do you think?” In group emails, emphasize the importance of sharing ideas with their colleagues.
Pay attention to TONE, VOICE, and STYLE – one of our sessions focuses on developing online voice; your style impacts the style participant will use. Move the discussion forward when replying to a participant. Ask an open-ended question related to the topic of discussion or mention a topic related to the discussion to open other areas of discussion. In your group emails encourage participants to use similar techniques.
Check the discussion frequently enough that people know you are there and reading the posts; Participants will not participate / check as often as you, but they will want to see a sign of your presence when they come in!! Think about how to redirect when necessary – don’t just read and hope it gets to its goal without your guidance Stagnant discussions do not facilitate learning. Increase the traffic in the discussion forum using mid-session group emails or individual emails to drive participants to the discussion. Recognize the few who have participated, i.e., “Carol, Mark and Neil have added some important criteria for building a learning community in an online course. What do you see as critical components? Add your ideas to the discussion!”
Move off-topic discussions to other forums, like Casual Chat, etc and redirect the conversation Turn the topic back to the discussion! If your participants are talking about the game Tetris, ask them how an online discussion is like a Tetris game? If they are talking about a recent football game, ask them how the players on a team are like a group of participants in an online course.
The weekly emails provide strong guidance for the sessions goals and activities – very helpful in moving participants along! Look for points in a session where participants may have some difficulty and address it before they get there!
Be willing to make adjustments on the fly, as needed, to meet the needs of your participants! What needs to the audience have beyond the content? What do you need to add or subtract. As a facilitator, the job is to be flexible and use the content to meet participant needs. For example, in a recent email to a group of counselor faculty in the facilitation course: “SESSION FOUR ACTIVITIES **NOTE** SKIP ACTIVITY 1a. and 1b. The session refers to practice in providing feedback to one of several final projects. Unfortunately these projects are not useful for counselors. So, we will skip these activities and focus instead on a review of the portfolios required for each CCTI counselor course and their rubrics. ”
Write a full session summary to post or summarize the previous discussion in a short paragraph in your group email for the next session.
For online PD
Blc facilitating 071614
Effective Online Facilitation
July 16, 2014
Identify key questions about online facilitation
Discuss the power of connected learning and
online learning communities
Learn about tips and strategies for effective online
Engage in hands-on collaborative activity to address
key facilitation scenarios and challenges
What does it take to be an effective online facilitator?
How do we create engaging, reflective online
discussions that support deeper learning?
How do facilitators maintain participation
and build strong learning communities?
How do facilitators keep discussions on
target and focused on the core goals?
Why are facilitators important for building effective
online discussions, or are they ?
Your questions? Small group discussion about
why you want to learn about online facilitation
“The illiterate of the 21st
century will not be those
who cannot read and
write, but those who
cannot learn, unlearn,
What’s Different About Online Discussions?
Content: different structure
Technology: increasing choice and capability of tools (a plus)
Technology: accessibility must be addressed;
technical glitches occur regularly (a challenge)
Social dynamic: different interaction methods and
pacing to address cohort and individual needs
Discussion: new facilitation strategies needed; importance of
Assessment: new tools available and new strategies needed
Ten Tips for Effective
1. Make everyone feel
welcome and heard;
create a comfortable
2. Establish clear goals
and expectations at the
9. Make sure the
audience and the
content are in sync
10. Bring closure to each
topic before moving on
Online facilitation takes time and care: “building it” is
not enough to expect “they will come” or stay
Online learning community models foster reflection and
inquiry based approaches
Tone and online voice matter
Opportunities for regular feedback are important
Technology must support, not overwhelm facilitation
Online facilitation requires specific strategies: training
and practice in the online environment are critical!
EdTech Leaders Online Facilitator Course topics:
Learning Community Approach to Online PD
Skills, Strategies & Techniques for Online Facilitation
Strategies for Assessment, Feedback & Evaluation
Preparing to Facilitate a Specific Course
Using the Course Management System Instructor Tools
Leading Meaningful Discussions
Motivating and Meeting the Needs of Adult Learners
Organizing and Finalizing Your Facilitation Plan
Example with social media incorporated to enhance online community
Scenarios – Discuss in Small Groups
Log in: http://moodle.etlo.org
Username and password: blc
Facilitating and Implementing Online PD
Scroll to: Discuss
Small groups will work on individual scenarios
Importance of Learning Community Models
“Learning is social, and we will
all get better at our projects and
at learning from each other by
social learning together.
In the right context, all of us can be more innovative
than any one of us.”
-John Seely Brown, USC and Deloitte Center for the Edge
Barbara Treacy firstname.lastname@example.org
EdTech Leaders Online http://edtechleaders.org
Education Development Center http://edc.org