The past four weeks has been an informative and interesting learning experience for me. As a learner, I really valued the opportunity to be exposed to different online facilitation environments and styles. The topics that were chosen and the variety of design elements used each week provided diverse approaches to showcase what facilitation can encompass. As a facilitator, I experienced the thought, consideration and design process that was needed to facilitate a learning experience.

As a reflect upon my initial ideas on facilitation, I feel that I am able dig deeper and look at each area more specifically. The knowledge that I have gained and have witnessed, provides me with a more comprehensive understanding of digital facilitation and the elements that take to make the experience an enriching one for learners. With the course nearing its completion, I understand that digital facilitation:

  1. requires understanding of different roles that I must adapt to and take on as a facilitator. With awareness and knowledge of my own facilitating style, I can better identify areas of strength and areas of growth.
  2. requires more than an instructor being present and answering questions. Incorporating the Communities of Inquiry (CoI) framework to the development and design process is important. This supports the creation of a positive and engaging experience. For instance, a lack of instructions or poorly managed expectations early on can cause learners to become frustrated and disengaged.
  3. requires growing knowledge of different tools and resources that are available to enhance the digital facilitation experience. When used correctly accordingly when designing the facilitation experience, tools can provide an enriching and engaging opportunity to its users.

Two questions that I still have are:

  1. Ideally, a facilitation experience will have enough time to build community and create a safe space for learners before we dive into the core of the learning experience. However, that is not always the case. What are approaches that I can take to adapt to changing facilitation expectations and environments?
  2. In an educational setting, feedback in an important part of the learning process. Besides surveys, how else can facilitators in the “real world” get open and honest feedback on their experience?

Lastly, I chose to include an image of a sail boat that captures my thoughts on what digital facilitation is all about. The outdoor elements represent the various challenges that facilitators need to navigate through. This can include and not limited to: the variety of learners, deciding content, the use of technology and time. The gear and equipment of a sail boat represents all the tools and resources that facilitators can utilize help them navigate through the elements. Depending on the weather situation, the captain will need to decide how to tie the knots and decide which direction to move the sails around for ideal travel. Similar to facilitation, the facilitator must adapt and be agile depending on the elements they are faced with. With the knowledge and combination of the appropriate tools, they are able to facilitate an online learning environment that is collaborative, engaging and reflective.

 (Hayes, 2018)

Reference

Hayes, K. (2018). Sailing Casco Bay Maine [Online Image]. Unsplash. https://unsplash.com/photos/-BcnpZHZJx4