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

What happens when things really do change? Rethinking the design of an online facilitation workshop

Re: Apologies - guilt/ reflecting on our telephone interaction

by Sylvia Currie -
Number of replies: 0
The number 1 rule here in SCoPE is never feel guilty! Don't worry Nick!

Yesterday I took a long stroll with my dog and listened to our telephone conversation. I find that's the best way to really listen. I realize how much I miss in the moment, especially when I was so preoccupied trying to figure out where the wrong phone numbers came from! blush Sorry for all the confusion! But what a fantastic opportunity to see our excellent facilitators Nancy and Nick coping so well under those difficult circumstances!

One BIG theme that emerged during our session was the many faces of online facilitation. I needed a pen and paper during my walk to track who said what, but some interesting contrasts were made.

conversation >>>> deep dialogue
high volume of information >>>> focused discussion
exchange information >>>> facilitate learning
multiple contexts  >>>> education context
loosen ring around groups  >>>> tighten ring around groups
mechanical facilitation >>>> deeper human interaction
rapid exchange >>>> slow down
basic >>>> developmental

It's interesting to think of these contrasting elements in the context of new technologies (I believe it was Derek who said "a new tool every fortnight"!) and new facilitation roles and skills. New tools are improving our ability to:
  1. capture and revisit our interactions,
  2. see information in new ways, from multiple perspectives, and
  3. visualize our work together as improvable objects (I believe it was Gordon Wells that introduced us to thinking of text as "improvable objects" in his work on dialogic inquiry)
  4. create together
This is all exciting stuff. But in the hurly burly of all the activity that is made possible by Web 2.0 tools and whatever else, it seems necessary to remind ourselves that we shouldn't forget the basics. Does this rethinking discussion sort of have that whoa! feeling about it? We need to rethink, but we can't forget the part about slowing down, focusing, deepening...