LRNT528: Online Facilitation Strategies in a Digital Learning Environment – An Infographic

Full size PDF infographic poster: Online Facilitation Strategies

To help drive a successful digital learning environment (DLE), Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes, & Garrison (2013) explain that an effective facilitator should “create the climate, support discourse, and monitor learning such that presence can emerge and inquiry occurs” (p. 46) in which the learner will engage with the curriculum, collaborate with peers, and act as academic participant. Over time, many methods, and principals have evolved to aid in the facilitation within DLEs to support what Dunlap and Lowenthal (2018) describe as the learner’s “interplay between teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence” (p. 81). It is prudent that the facilitator must understand “when to shift gears or add new tasks or resources and when to let the learners wander off and explore their own interests” (as cited in Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes, & Garrison, 2013, p. 46).

The infographic Online Facilitation Strategies in a Digital Learning Environment depicts five principals in the facilitation of a DLE. The infographic development was restricted to a personal selection of five principals, Learning Coach, Valve Control, Clear Expectations, Inviting Discussions, Synchronous and Asynchronous. While each principle is invaluable, it should be noted that all five work in conjunction to effectively create and deliver robust DLE.

To start the facilitator should become more of a Learning Coach in order to help guide the learner to “develop high levels of competence and confidence” (Bull, 2013, para. 4) in the curriculum they have been handed. However, there should be control of how the sometimes overwhelming presence of curriculum is delivered to the learner. Through the method of Valve Control, the facilitator can present or focus on smaller chunks of material to help the learner better absorb the content (Bull, 2013). In order for the learner to best navigate through a sometimes complex DLE, it is expected that the facilitator should also set Clear Expectations of how the cohort will communicate and the time required for each stage (Boettcher, 2013). Clarity of may also reduce stress of unknown requirements and help create more of an environment of professionalism.

Engagement and interaction are key to any successful DLE. Inviting Discussions should invoke curiosity, reflection and instil thought-provoking communication within the online cohort (Boettcher, 2013). Interaction should also be delivered in a Synchronous and Asynchronous method. Synchronous delivery allows for more personal engagement with the professor and peers. While, asynchronous provides the ability to the learner to work at their own pace, anytime and anywhere (Boettcher, 2013).


Boettcher, J. V. (2013). Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online.

Bull, B. (2013). Eight Roles of an Effective Online Teacher. Faculty Focus.

Dunlap, J. C., & Lowenthal, P. R. (2018). Online educators’ recommendations for teaching online: Crowdsourcing in action. Open Praxis, 10(1), 79–89.

Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Athabasca University Press. Chapter 3: Facilitation (pp. 45-61).

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