Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Week 5 - Summarise my learning

In response to the questions posed in short.
1. What is online facilitation - the best word to describe OLF is 'guiding'. The dictionary states guiding involves assisting in an unfamilar area / accompany and explain / to supply counsel / to supervise in an advisory counsel. I see it as walking beside and providing support and structure to the learner / audience.
2. What skills do you need for OLF - patience, empathy, good problem solving skills, excellent communication skills - verbal, writing and listening, technical and topic knowledge, open manner to build a feeling of trust in the audience so they feel comfortable in an often an unfamiliar area, self reflectiveness
3. How does a OLF build an online community or network? - be present online often and in a meaningful way, use different avenues / applications, be strategic, use key words, utilise online social network access opportunities, word of mouth is powerful both online and in the real world, build your online identity to suit what and who you are wanting to attract as a network
4. Key things to remember when facilitating? - be prepared, have many back up plans, know your subject well and the technology, try to have a second person as a back up for support, be enthusiastic, be open to change and new ways, possess a healthy dose of self reflection and ability to laugh at one self
5. Difference between teaching and facilitation? - After reading week 3 - week 5 readings I feel that both terms are very similar. I think the old definiton or connation of teaching has a different meaning to that which is seen today. The old thought of teaching (all expert, all knowledgeable, powerful being telling the student the information - is slowly dying) being replaced by a 'faciliteacher' one in the same. Someone who guides, supports, encourages the learner to find / see for himself, explains and counsels when necessary and supervises as they walk along the journey of learning together - is more of what I see a faciliteacher doing.
6. Netiquette - the rules and manners of online communication


  1. Hi Jillian,

    I'm not sure that facilitation and teaching is exactly the same thing. We have been exploring this idea with the theories and processes involved in student centred teaching and situation learning as the foundation of our Bachelor of Midwifery. In some ways, student centred learning enables the student to drive the agenda, to learn what they want to learn when they want to learn it. Situated learning on the other hand takes the position that there are certain required things (skills, competencies, knowledge, behaviours, attitudes etc) that need to be clearly defined and measured so that we can produce competent midwives at the end of the education process. The students will be given information, experiences etc in a building upon knowledge skills etc way, starting with the basics. They will be tested every step of the process, using different modalities, to make sure they embody the new level of knowing, both cognitive and embodied/kinaesthetic (some could say that's the same thing). They will not be able to progress until they meet the standards. We have chosen situated learning, but consider there will be student centred and facilitated aspects to their educational program.

    I'm interested in your thoughts. I hope I've explained myself well. :-)

  2. Hi Jillian, I'm interested to know a little more about netiquette - what one thing would you pass on about netiquette to people who are unused to oinline communication?

  3. HI Sarah, if I was explaining netiquette to someone for the first time, I would try and equate it to some knowledge they already have by saying - netiquette is the written social and/or professional guidelines for communicating in the online environment. In the real world we learn from a young age how to communicate with people by how we speak to people, address people, write a letter correctly, interpret body language etc to help us understand what they are saying. So it is in the online world. Netiquette is about learning the social rules of online communication through written text.

  4. Hi Carolyn, thank you for your comments. I think this would be a good discussion to be had on skype or Elluminate as there is so many points to consider and debate. I think it is important for the discussion that an agreed understanding of the definiton of the terms (teaching, faciliatation and learning) are agreed upon so that we are all talking about the same thing. I have found that there are alot of overlapping characteristics and skills and so I feel it is not always easy to keep the terms seperate. To gain a deeper understanding of the topic, I went into Sarah's resouces and found a blog (Working out the difference between teaching and facilitation) which she had written about her experinces last year in this course where she was a facilitator only and then had to take on the role of teacher and facilitator. She states 'I understand the issue of power and control, and how that can affect the students' learning experience. I also agree that my role is not to tell students what to do but rather guide, steward or curate them to their own understanding and creation of learning. At the same time, there will be times when I am the expert and students will learn from my 'telling'."
    I feel this blog talks about the guide that I mentioned in my blog. Even when we are 'teaching students, are we not also guiding them to understanding, to build upon their previous knowledge, leading them to areas unknown to discover further? These 2 roles (facilitation and teaching) have their differences but there are also lots of similarities or crossovers. Maybe the 2 terms can not exist in complete isolation to each other but rather a good faciliteacher knows when to use his/her skills and knowledge in each area to get the best result for the learner?
    Not sure if you have the time but I would love to chat further about this subject on skype or Elluminate and maybe we could get some other opinions on the subject. Look forward to your feedback.

  5. Hi Jillian: I do agree with you that these two are interconnected--sometimes one weighs more heavily on the teaching needed skills and competencies (I teach school counselor students as well as doctoral level education students) and often one is able to allow the process of self-directed learning to emerge naturally. I therefore agree that a good facilitator knows when and how to use both strategies to enable the community of learners to grow individually and as a group. I do think another aspect of facilitation and also of good teaching is being able to step aside and allow individuals within the group to support each other, form sub-groups, as was mentioned somewhere, and explore the subject in the unique way that meets their needs. Sarah is a great model for that.

  6. Thanks Susan, I do think that the old method and even perception of teaching where a teacher stands out the front delivering the information with little input from the class is a thing of the past. Whilst there are times of information transfer where an expert in the topic delivers the information, the ability of the teacher to engage the students and involve them in the learning process has hopefully changed for the better.