Guest Blog by Michael Coghlan, leading online learning expert
There are many different models for delivering learning online. Some online learning requires very little interaction between the educator and the learners once it is up and running. These models support learning which requires little more than the learning of facts.
Any form of online education or training that requires the discussion of content needs some measure of facilitation. That is, the educator is required to guide the learners through the course through a series of activities, as would happen in a traditional classroom environment.
Most people do better at online learning where there is a social component that allows communication between learners themselves, and between learners and educator. Enabling these kinds of communications is a core skill of the online educator or facilitator.
Another core skill of the online facilitator is conducting online workshops using a virtual classroom or webinar room, as well as knowing how best to combine these online interactions with face to face training, or with other self-paced materials delivered online.
The best way to learn how to facilitate online is to be an online student first. Only then do you get the feeling of what it is like to be on the receiving end of the online learning process. Then you know what works and what does not work as an online student.
In an online facilitated course for educators, participants get the opportunity to take turns in facilitating mini-online events and get to experience a broad array of online learning approaches. Participants also get to reflect on their learning experiences through debrief discussions about the effectiveness of each approach. And of course, they get plenty of helpful feedback to assist them develop your own online facilitation practice.
Facilitating online is essentially about initiating and managing effective communications between learners themselves and with the educator. It is also about crafting online experiences that help people learn effectively but to do this effectively, an educator requires much practice.
Want to learn more about how to effectively facilitate blended and online learning environments?
Why not join Michael Coghlan, an internationally renowned online facilitation expert. Michael is leading a five week “Facilitating effective online learning environments” online course starting on 7 April 2015. Click here for more information and to register.
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This guest blog was written by Michael Coghlan
Michael has been working as a creator, facilitator, and thinker on issues to do with the internet since 1997. He was a co-founder of the Webheads online community of practice, and one of the first teachers in Australia to teach online. Until recently he worked as an eLearning Facilitator for TAFE South Australia, and is a member of the Australian Horizon Report Advisory Board that advises on future trends in educational technology.