7 TIPs for online facilitators
Learning is no longer limited to classrooms. Thanks to new digital technologies distance and time are not anymore a barrier to gain knowledge. Nevertheless, to ensure participants receive the most of online education, the instructor must be also effective online facilitator. There are some tips and tricks that can be easy followed for great group work.
1. One of the essential elements for great group work is the creation of productive and active learning environment. The effective facilitator will be the one leading the course so he will be the one designing participants experience and learning process during the course. It is important to build a reliable and trustful connection. This could be not an easy challenge to surpass as the communication through a computer screen, tablet or mobile phone in general can give the feeling of isolation and distance.
2. In online reality it’s important to introduce yourself as you will be the one leading the course. At the very beginning present yourself, describe shortly your skills and experience related to the course. If possible, encourage all participants to do it through a way or a platform they feel at ease: video/ text/ pictures etc. It’s a small and simple act who brings the group closer and speed up the trust building process.
3. Another small but useful tip while delivering an e-course is to strive to emphasize on discussions not on lectures. Even if you are the one providing the information, always ask questions that pertain to the course topic, so participants can explore the subject through their own perception and have a deeper understanding. Participants should feel appreciated and their opinion valued.
4. When possible, try to include different types of learning “tools”. It’s good to use videos, audio/ reading exercises, interactive presentation. More, you can bring real life example to discussion, quote famous citations and much more. The essential is to be on the same vibe with the group.
5. Our next useful tip for smooth group cooperation is to provide group instructions and etiquette guidelines at the beginning of the course. They should be clear and making learners aware about how they can better participate and collaborate in an online group.
6. Monitor participants progress through the course and give feedback. It is simple and of great use. By this way you can see who is participating actively, if someone is not following up as needed the group, if someone needs additional support etc. so you can react properly. By giving feedback you can guide the working process into a concrete direction if needed, cheer up the motivation and bring it back at high levels by honoring their efforts.
7. Groups can be as diverse as people are. It’s good to keep it in mind that not all learn and process information the same way and speed. Some of participants might need help from time to time with additional question or clarifications. Course facilitator should be readily available and open to provide the needed support. It’s good to provide participants with your contact information.