Well…we’re underway – today we launched the April 2016 offering of Facilitating Learning Online (offered through BCcampus). It’s an exciting new approach and some significant changes in content and facilitation – at least that’s what Beth Cougler-Blom, Sylvia Currie, Leonne Beebe and Myra Rhodes will be testing and supporting in the next five weeks!
Back in early February, BCCampus and Royal Roads University invited FLO afficionados (Faclitating Learning Online workshop) and FDO grads (Facilitator Development Online) to participate in a two-day Design Sprint at the beautiful RRU campus, tucked into the trees and overlooking the water on the northwest side of Victoria. What a place to disconnect from regular work demands and focus on improvement and innovation! A bit of an overview can be found here: https://proflearn.bccampus.ca/flo-design-sprint/
Sustained by the awesome snacks, lunches and beverages organized by the Professional Learning Team from BCcampus, we did a “deep dive” into the collected FLO feedback and our own experiences of Facilitating Learning Online – the five week workshop that RRU developed in-house and then shared through an OER contract and BCcampus took to the educators of BC and adapted and molded and reshaped since early 2015. We all recognized that we had to address the “overload” issues reported by facilitators and participants – despite the enthusiastic feedback about the transformational learning that occurred for many students, we wanted to make it better and more “do-able” for teachers who needed a chance to practice and develop their skills as online instructors.
- removed the cursory consideration of online design – set aside for future development into a stand-alone (or complementary model) so that people could really focus and learn about issues of online design/development in terms of learner success;
- agreed on a primary focus/purpose: to develop a foundation of skills and knowledge about facilitating learning online;
- reduced workload and start-up anxiety for facilitation teams by scripting examples of instructions and scheduling and ideas for structuring learning activities for peers within FLO;
- eliminated duelling sessions within a week – reduced weekly facilitated learning activities to three – Week 2,3,4;
- converted the two weekly mini-sessions to “stream team” activities and added one (workload and time management) – facilitation tasks will be spread out over the five weeks (raises potential questions about “noise” for learners – we’re going slowly with this model);
- test drive one of the “new” types of facilitating activities – a “stream” team supported by LeonneB, that will encourage and support a specific topic throughout the five weeks of the workshop (in contrast to the “weekly” boundaries around the other facilitated sessions).
- other changes to reduce confusion and allow participants to focus and build community and practice facilitation techniques and strategies!
Wheww! We’ve taken on a lot but it should make this an amazing and constructive learning experience for participants – and for all of us. So many possibilities and richness of learning. I’ll be keeping a personal journal and trying to report regularly in these blog posts. We hope to have a lot to debrief and share with our guiding Committee and others.