From the synchronous learning that I have experienced as a learner, the sessions that seem to go most smoothly are the ones in which the facilitators have a sense of ease and comfort with the content, the platform, and the participants. As with face-to-face learning, I get the most out of learning in which the facilitator connects with the participants and finds ways to create opportunities for reflection and interaction.
Specifically, the last learning session that really stands out to me is from the Centre for Implementation Science. The session facilitator was very passionate about the topic. She had clear expectations of the participants for the session, and then created simple but effective ways for us to interact. She walked us through the content, asked questions, and then gave us a chance to respond by discussing with others and then providing input by selecting our response (marking up on a presentation slide).
One last strategy that I find works well for me as a learner is to have access to an overview of the content prior to the session so that I can review and have some baseline understanding before needing to absorb more information in real-time.
I am curious about how the students responded by marking up the presentation slide. What is a whiteboard or did they have access to the PPT content slide with a marker? This fascinates me in that I wonder how my front line workers will contribute to the board when I am presenting. Will it be an interruption or an opportunity for a deeper conversation. Given that my synchronous session are only one hour how do I manage the time with input from 20+ students.
So many questions. Thanks for prompting my imagination.
I have very little experience teaching online. However one strategy I have used and that I think helps, is using break out rooms and having students work on something as a small group. This allows for discussion within the group. The group can then bring this back to the main room for a larger discussion.
Those are some great questions Alan. I am hoping we will get some of them answered. I am also interested in being on the learner end of a class to find out what it is like.
Hi Denise - breakout groups is a great idea. It can sometimes take a bit to get set up but its worth it - they will be demonstrated in next week's session. One thing about Ultra is the need to take a snapshot of the whiteboard in the breakout room if they want to share with the big room. Moderators can enter and exit breakout rooms too so it is good andragogy in that way as well.
Hi - just to let you know that in ultra participants can also write on the slide presentation as well. I was part of a session where we used a slide as a defacto poll - "mark where you are on this scale". Great method for pre assessment! Worked well.
Thank you for those insights. Great info on preparing more questions and being clear about expectations. The course I am teaching right now is a non credit but I would like to push them to engage more, reflect and share their discoveries.