How do you prepare to teach/facilitate your face-to-face or asychronous online courses? What preparation strategies do you use that could also serve you well in preparing to facilitate synchronously online?
I work with adult learners who have diverse abilities, ranging from folks who can read at a Grade 3 level, to folks that have been enrolled in "regular" College programming but have been unable to complete for a myriad of reasons. They come to us because they have heard we are nontraditional and hands-on - we move as a cohort through lessons, labs, service learning and on-the-job training. Each student has an individualized learning plan, but we work together as a group, everyone working to their own skill level.
- Learning outcomes: What do I want them to learn today? Follow up to student questions, goals, learning outcomes? For synchro, why am I choosing to do this lesson live instead of asynchro? Can this skill even be taught in synchro or is best handled in another way?
- Learner-centred: How do I make my topic presentation as short and effective as possible, with supportive material for those who want to take it further? Give learners choices, opportunities to contribute their own learning. Research, create, co-create organically! Consider who your learners are to bring in elements you know will make the lesson more engaging, like a humourous video to disrupt learner fatigue, or having students assist in presenting portions of the lessons. Student moderator.
- Play: What can I get them actively doing that will have them experience this learning? Can they make something together? In groups or in pairs? Will they do something alone? What prep does this activity require? Is there a different kind of job for everyone, are people being challenged in their roles? For synchronous, alot of consideration should go into effective and engaging digital software tools that can be accessed on share screens?
- Trouble spots? What about learner buy-in? Be transparent - can learners see the value, connect to course and or personal learning goals? Have conduct guidelines been created so everyone knows how to "be" together, as online behaviour is still covered by conduct policies? What if the tools crash out while I'm using them, or tech disasters occur - what's Plan B?
- Clear instructions - how do I make this easy to understand so the activity can happen quickly and easily? What kind of support needs do I anticipate? Are there places where peers can mentor one another?
- Connection - how can I make myself available to folks with questions, or needing more instruction? How do we reassure and encourage our learners doing new things, taking risks?
- Build in time to de-brief and reflect the learning, address questions and share humour. Closing circles :)
I know I'm missing some things, but I appreciate starting to experience the link between what I already do F2F and how this might translate to a Synchro session.
I too have a history teaching students who struggled within a 'traditional' learning environment and needed more f2f, individual and active learning. I am impressed by your clarity of thought and laying out your thinking and response to what you might do.
I am inspired to incorporate your value statements and questions into what I am trying to do.
Wow - what an incredibly rich document Laura. This is a great group of questions for any educator to think through in their own facilitation - thank you.
I second Asif's comments. Thank you for sharing these thoughts.
The words " learner buy-in " caught my eye as being so essential to course design.