3-2-1 Digital Facilitation – A Retrospective

In this course, Facilitating in Digital Learning Environments, we have been able to experience our learning…as learners, and, as facilitators. This offered us an opportunity that is uniquely experiential because of this dual perspective.

In this post, I’m revisiting my initial 3-2-1 blog on August 30, 2020 from a retrospective point of view to illustrate how my thoughts have evolved over the past four weeks.

3 thoughts or ideas about digital facilitation based on my course experience

  1. Initially I questioned whether or not digital facilitation could be effectively interactive. As a result of my experience as a learner in the facilitation weeks designed by my peers, it’s abundantly clear that creative design practices can result in very engaging and interactive learning activities.
  2. I also suggested that a moderated forum would act as a means to encourage engagement, despite the challenges of time and space. I’m pleased to say that the Mattermost discussion channels provided ample opportunity for me as a learner to fully connect asynchronously and synchronously. My team also modeled this approach successfully as part of our design framework.
  3. And finally, in my original 3-2-1 post, I was concerned that virtual environments incline us to always be “on”. To be tethered somewhat to our online experience. And to some extent that was applicable from both a learner standpoint and that as a facilitator. However, I would suggest that with more practice, I would be able to navigate these challenges more effectively as this was a first-time experience for me.

2 questions about digital facilitation based on my course experience

Early on in this course, I was curious about the impacts of the pandemic on digital facilitation. As a result of this course, I would say that the accelerated learning imposed on educator’s world wide on a macrocosmic level was experienced by us on a microcosmic level. In that our experience as digital facilitators (and learners) were influenced by our collective experience of the pandemic in ways that are obvious on a conscious, as well as sub-conscious level.

  1. So, my first question would be: In what ways are we adapting to digital facilitation not as a choice, but as one that is imposed on us, based on the restrictions of our new world?
  2. And secondly: In what ways will we question and observe these adaptations as we collectively evolve in the next phase of the pandemic?

1 metaphor or simile about digital facilitation based on my course experience

It’s occurred to me that I’m not entirely sure if we’re evolving, as in progressing, or if we’re actually undergoing a different phenomenon altogether. Are we advancing? Or is the isolation caused by the pandemic, intended to force us to search for a deeper truth in our human existence? Big questions I think we should ask ourselves as the year of 2020, one of incredible transformation, winds down and our future emerges as hazy and  unformed, awaiting us to define its shape.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Photo by SOULSANA on Unsplash

Community of Inquiry in e-learning

To view my infographic and embedded video, click here: CoI infographic  

In my work as a Learning Designer, I design e-learning curriculum for external clients. The administration and facilitation of the e-learning is actually done by the client’s Learning and Development personnel. As a result, for the purposes of this blog post, I am outlining how I would utilize the community of inquiry (CoI) model if I were the facilitator.

I will begin with a definition of what the CoI is. It is”…a group of people who come together, have a discussion, reflect on those discussions, and then come up with some kind of new understanding, or new meaning, based on the critical discourse and the reflection that happens” (Lalonde, 2020, 1:20). In conjunction with this definition, for reference, the CoI model is comprised of three, distinct categories, which are: social presence, cognitive presence and teaching presence. In this post, I will use this definition, along with a brief exploration of facilitation strategies, that I believe will effectively engage learners in online communities in each of the three categories.

“Social presence is the ability of learners to project their personal characteristics into the community of inquiry, thereby presenting themselves as ‘real people’” (“The community inquiry”, n.d.). To enable learners to do this, I would encourage them to model my behaviour by posting an introductory video and a profile at the onset of the course. Additionally, learners would be prompted to participate in online forum discussions throughout the course (Anderson, 2017).

I would develop cognitive presence by posing questions and inviting discussion/feedback from the learners and encouraging them to resolve and apply what they learn in the context of their roles. In so doing, the dynamic of critical thinking that is a crucial component of cognitive presence is demonstrated by the learner (Anderson, 2017).

The role of facilitator in the category of teaching presence is characterized by “…appropriate amounts of interjections through direct instruction, so as to maximize development of cognitive presence without reducing opportunities for knowledge construction by students” (Anderson, 2017, para. 17). Thereby, empowering an authentic collaboration between learners and the facilitator.

Ultimately, creating a CoI based course involves the integration of all three categories, which allows for an organic exploration of the course materials by inviting the learners to co-create their learning experience.


Anderson, T. (2017). How communities of inquiry drive teaching and learning in the digital age. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://teachonline.ca/tools-trends/how-communities-inquiry-drive-teaching-and-learning-digital-age

Genial.ly link https://view.genial.ly/5f53d8ca98363d0d81ec8fc3/vertical-infographic-community-of-inquiry

Lalonde, C. (2020, August 22). Facilitation in a community of inquiry. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nv1bUZv5PLs&feature=youtu.be

The community of inquiry. (n.d). Retrieved from https://coi.athabascau.ca/

3-2-1 Digital Facilitation

Following the course outline, I’ve structured my post in three subsections with regard to the topic of digital facilitation.

3 thoughts

  1. It can be incredibly creative because of its technological affordances, but not always very interactive, unless a facilitator intentionally incorporates this element in their design.
  2. I believe it’s important to encourage interactivity that is robust and defies the challenges of asynchronous engagement. An example this would be a forum that is moderated by the facilitator and allows learners to participate outside the boundaries of time and space.
  3. My third, and last thought, relates to the image I chose. I’ve observed that virtual environments can be a daunting from the standpoint of a lack of the ability to remove oneself from the increased expectation to engage online. Lately, I’ve been intentionally shutting my laptop and phone off. This development is particularly ironic as I enrolled in the MALAT to upgrade my skillset in digital learning. I’m curious to see how the evolution of my career aspirations align, or realign, as a result of my personal experiences as a learner, and designer.

2 questions

  1. Has the pandemic changed the landscape of digital facilitation forever?
  2. If so, what’s the silver lining of the impacts?

1 image

  1. For me, as an extroverted introvert, the amount of ‘face time’ with my colleagues, both at work, and in the MALAT program, since working virtually beginning in March has proven to be challenging. You always have to be ‘ON’ and that’s difficult for many people. So, this picture of a cat, with Zoom fatigue resonated.


Photo by Changbok Ko on Unsplash