Learning the Art of Online Facilitation: March 1-21, 2007

Online Facilitation - the current landscape

Online Facilitation - the current landscape

by Nick Noakes -
Number of replies: 15
We've started to talk about the last ten years and we have varying experiences and I hope people will continue to add their learning experiences, their takeaways there :-)

So looking at the online facilitation landscape now, what does online facilitation, in all its forms, look like to you in 2007?

Is what we learned in those workshops, and through participation in the
discussion forums/lists still current?
In reply to Nick Noakes

Re: Online Facilitation - the current landscape

by Frederica-Azania Clare -

Hi All... smile Here is where I do online facilitation today... (http://www.nabuur.com) (AFRICA, BURUNDI, Kamenge Village.) The site will be "upgrading" soon, we addedwikis, recently. It will be interesting to see what else evolves ... I'll let you know. Pax, Azania (http://www.azania.org)

 

In reply to Nick Noakes

Re: Online Facilitation - the current landscape

by Robin Yap -

Online learning has moved towards social learning in my field of outsourced training, rules on facilitation has blurred the lines between teacher-student andragogy models to sometimes just guides to learning. It is an interesting shift. Instructors are not always SMEs but know how to navigate various systems that the learning in some of the classes that I consult in have become more bidirectional than its ever been. You remember how we used to say that we learn from our students? In my current reality, we really are learning from our learners. They come to class more for the social connectivity and the shared experiences, it seems (and maybe to take time off from work). The learning is more roundtable and the students actually expect that.  

Using the Web 2.0 tools further enhances the learning environments. As we become more attuned to the value of these tools, our sessions will become more enriching and hopefully will have increased takeaways for our learners.

As an aside, as one of the directors at ibstpi, along with some colleagues I'm in the process of building online learner competencies to capture the experiences and requirements of learners to assist the facilitators and instructors. I'm on data gathering phase (and yes, I have IRB approval for this study) and will definitely post our findings once we have enough responses.

PS: my shameless plug if you don't mind - if you'd like to be part of this ibstpi global survey on online learner, please click here. thanks.

In reply to Robin Yap

Re: Online Facilitation - the current landscape

by Nick Noakes -
I'm really starting to feel these shifts too Robin. Although not inside my university workplace as teaching-learning are still very traditionally orientated here (f2f, content transmission on the whole). I wonder if Frederica is too as she mentions a wiki, Frederica?

Are others here experiencing these shifts in their practice?
In reply to Nick Noakes

Re: Online Facilitation - the current landscape

by Frederica-Azania Clare -
http://www.nabuur.com/modules/villages_issues/index.php?villageid=141&actionId=4091 HOPE THIS REVEALS MY WIKI ... Unfortnately, since we are an online "community," I developed this one myself. See why I am promoting and proposing the developent of www.yebo.org ??? Pax, Azania
In reply to Frederica-Azania Clare

Re: Online Facilitation - the current landscape

by Frederica-Azania Clare -

Hi All...

I started a reply earlier, and made a DRAFT to return to for editing...I printed it out...so I know it's in the SCoPE "MOODLE" somewhere... I can't find it to edit and post. Help please!

Thanks. Pax, Azania 

 

 

In reply to Frederica-Azania Clare

Re: Online Facilitation - the current landscape

by Sylvia Currie -
Azania,
We don't have a "draft" option in SCoPE forums so any messages you composed but didn't post to the forum would not be saved here in SCoPE. The only suggestion I have for saving drafts is to use a separate text editor and copy/paste your message when you're ready to post it. Thankfully you did print a copy!

In reply to Nick Noakes

A good facilitator is hard to find

by Sylvia Currie -
A few weeks ago Leigh Blackall posted this to his blog:
"...good facilitation services are very very hard to find. Of all my contacts, I can think of very few that I think would be a good facilitator..."

He later expands on it further suggesting that the term facilitation is used somewhat loosely in the context of teaching, and that there needs to be a clearer distinction between what we mean by teaching, and what we mean by facilitation.

Like many things Leigh Blackall says, it really got me thinking thoughtful Nick asks if what we have learned about online facilitation over the past 10 years is still current. Leigh has me wondering if we're all even talking about the same practice. Is it really true that a good facilitator is hard to find? And how about a good facilitator in 2007... or in the upcoming years. Is our landscape changing faster than we can define our practice?
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: A good facilitator is hard to find

by Derek Chirnside -

I've not read Leigh's posts.  I'll track them down (I get 'forbidden access" at the moment)

But I know what he means.  I've not really posted much in this forum because I'm going through some serious re-evaluation of my practice (which I learned the way most of you have, a mixture of doing it, informal learning communities and books).

I have had a bit of a crisis of confidence, and some doubt on some of the basics I have included in my "How to Facilitate" workshops and seminars.  Only some.  I still love passing out paper and getting participants to write responses to difficult posts using the ideas in Sarah's book written with George Collison etc http://www.amazon.com/Facilitating-Online-Learning-Strategies-Moderators/dp/1891859331 This aspect of practice HAS lasted the distance.  I think.

But: Web 2.0 has altered the landscape.  So has skype (the basic entry level VOIP in common use), and wikis.  Not so much blogs - in my opinion.  Then add in Youtube and Google video.  And an improved view of community.  I think the notions around the standard model of community and online facilitation are intertwined.

The questions I have at the moment include: Who am I? What is the best way to approach my practice and challenges?  Especially in the light of a transition from a small College of Education to a larger University I am currently undergoing.  I have asked myself "Can I make the transition, and do I belong or fit here?")  Wouold I rather go back to the classroom or go to the beach.

I've recently sent out a fateful e-mail: the e-mail to announce the beginning of the thought processes and interactions to ask the question "This group of people (180+) do we/you have the wherewithal to grow into a community after 25 months in a formal prof dev project?"  Teachers.  I'm on a roadshow at the moment with three workshops to meet the 50 or so 'lead' teachers in the project.

One workshop down, two to go.  I feel like "what I did in 2005 with a similar group" is not enough.

Nothing that is significant to do with the practice or domain has emerged.  It's been politics, turf wars, time pressures, budgets and budgets and yet more budgets, memorandums of agreement, priorities . . .

Facilitation is an art.  I have a number of memories of seeing a response online by someone - and saying "Hmm, what's the facilitator to do here?" and being gobsmacked by the deep wisdom and creativity in a response.  How do you learn this?  Do you learn it?  Do you catch it?  Do you gain through reflection from modelling . .  and move on to there?

I think I know what I'm doing at the moment.  I could describe it like this: meet around 10 people a day in the context of these workshops.  I have 30 minutes.  (Actually 17 minutes yesterday) in this time I'm to float the ideas around the launch.  And we will see what happens when we take things online.  People say things.  I'm trying to pick out the significant issues and sensitive points.  Then I plan some dialogue sparkers, some e-mails to shoulder tap (The comment you made in xxx, how about posting more on it?), some questions, some help (a number of people talked about zzz, now here is some further info.  What do you think?)

Quite different to the other part of my lfe: formal taught courses.

I was once hugely more confident in my postings than now.  Go figure.  Who am I to be dabbling in the lives of these people and the huge numbers of kids & parents they impact on?  It's a sensitive and gentle place to go.  But I see things in my mind.  I hear a comment in a domain sessions, I see a poster, I see 'click' a link, or a cause/effect . . .  and something occurs to me that could be done.  I've got ipod recorded fragments.  Some snaps of the whiteboard and I think "This is worth everyone knowing".  Fun eh?  I'm just worried that the basic secret to faciltiation is the intense interpersonal online/forums/skype connections made with individuals and small groups in the community.  In this case, stamina and finance questions emerge.

Hotel breakfast sessions with people there hqave been great encouragements.  I've put all my insecurity on the back burner, and will present a vision for a vibrant alive, nurturing community once again in 25 minutes time.  Maybe it will happen.

Here is a snap I took 5 minutes ago.  Small and blurred for obvious reasons, but you'll get the idea. - Derek

 

 

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In reply to Nick Noakes

Online Facilitation in a Web 2.0 world

by Nick Noakes -
In what ways do you think web 2.0 is impacting online facilitation?
In reply to Nick Noakes

Re: Online Facilitation in a Web 2.0 world

by Derek Chirnside -
Throught-lets on the effect on participants:
  • More power to participants/members/"the facilitated"
  • More distributed identities of same
  • Challenges to perception of identity
  • more channels of communication
Has implications for facilitation . . .
In reply to Derek Chirnside

Re: Online Facilitation in a Web 2.0 world

by E.A. Draffan -

I have the next couple of months to explore Web 2.0 from the accessibility point of view and the impact the use of assistive technologies (AT) has on the communication aspects etc.  Any clues from others as to how they have worked with disabled students and the impact their skills and abilities have had on facilitation and output would be very gratefully received.  

I feel the time disabled students have to collaborate in a social on-line setting may be more restricted because all studying tends to take longer.  However, I am hoping we can find ways to overcome these difficulties with a wider variety of interactions being made available such as audio blog (podcasts), mind mapping etc.  thoughtful

Off to CSUN (Disability/Technology conference in LA) next week to pick up more tips.  Will pass on all I learn.  Hope to link up with Catherine Fichten sometime to share project ideas - we are passing on planes going through London next week - maddening!  Best wishes E.A.

 

In reply to Nick Noakes

Re: Online Facilitation in a Web 2.0 world

by Carolyn Campbell -

Great question Nick, & one that's got me thinking.  I think I have more questions than answers.  I'd love to hear from those who are using 2.0 tools now.

I'm tempted to say that many of the ways we teach online expand with Web 2.0, not change.  There are a lot of constants in good teaching, whether online or offline, in physical places or virtual ones, with first-generation tools or with blogs & wikis.  (I think that Nancy's idea of "learning together" is definitely a 2.0 competency.) 

However, when I look at the list of competencies that Henry Jenkins and others have said are necessary to engage (let alone teach!) in a Web 2.0 participatory world, there are some very different words in the list.

http://www.henryjenkins.org/2006/10/confronting_the_challenges_of_6.html

Play?  Performance?  Appropriation?  Multitasking?

How many of these skills need to be woven into our teaching?

In reply to Carolyn Campbell

Re: Online Facilitation in a Web 2.0 world

by Nick Noakes -
Great point Carolyn. I wonder if and how we are weaving play, performance, appropriation and multitasking into our personal learning too! So are you the reader of this? And if you are, how and in what spaces?
In reply to Carolyn Campbell

Re: Online Facilitation in a Web 2.0 world

by Nancy White -
It might be fun to describe stories of when we have embodied Jenkin's competencies (my notes in purple just to throw in a few to start):

Play -- the capacity to experiment with your surroundings as a form of problem-solving

Performance -- the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery

    • I have a bit of a question here about the need for "alternative identities" in order to improvise and discover. Maybe this is because at nearly 49 I'm comfortable doing that in my skin as it is!

Simulation -- the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real world processes

    • I think about what Nick did in 2nd Life, what many of the learning games designers are doing, but also what I'm doing as I "play" with my friends on http://www.twitter.com to see what the tool might do. So for me, simulation and play often merge. Hm, also performance.

Appropriation -- the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content

Multitasking -- the ability to scan one's environment and shift focus as needed to salient details.

Distributed Cognition -- the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities

Collective Intelligence -- the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal

Judgment -- the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources

Transmedia Navigation -- the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities

Networking -- the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information

Negotiation -- the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.

I also see these as another way of expressing much of what I've come to describe as the 8 competencies of online facilitation (you can see variations on the slide deck here).

What I really notice is that we have to redefine facilitation, as Derek has intimated, as an act of participation of many, not just "the facilitator," when we are in a networked situation.

In reply to Carolyn Campbell

Re: Online Facilitation in a Web 2.0 world

by Ian MacLeod -
I hope that one of the things that the use of Web 2.0 tools will do for online facilitation is give learners more options to create and develop learning spaces that better suit their learning styles and needs (PLEs?). What this could mean for us as online facilitators is a need to be aware of and conversant in a broad spectrum of tools and technologies in order to assist learners in maximizing their learning opportunities and environments.



Ian