The new 3-2-1 blog post – Refelction on facilitaition week

The past 8 weeks have saw a rewarding learning experience of facilitation in digital environments. In retrospect, here is the reflection and update on my previous 3-2-1 blog post (to see my original post, please click here).

Point 1: To promote interaction is the key

Unlike the initial choice in my previous post, the first point that concerns me after the 8 weeks’ learning is facilitators’ leading role in promote interaction in the digital environment. This choice comes from both my own experience involved in the course design and management over the facilitation design and the learner of the rest 3 teams. The significance of leading interaction and maintain the impetus of each participant cannot be emphasized more over the facilitation week, from the ice breaker module, to the synchronous session. It is the transition from social interaction to academic interaction and critical discourse that moves the learning community from social presence to cognitive presence and leads to deep and meaningful learning outcome (Vaughan et al., 2014).

Point 2: Facilitators’ role as a learning coach

While facilitators encouraging interaction is imperative to social and cognitive presence, their role as a cheerleader comes to me as the second key point. In the digitalized environment, students would encounter various impediments, whether these be technological problems, confusion over course content, or just lack of learning enthusiasm. All these problems had happened to me throughout the facilitation weeks, and it was where the facilitators who provided great support in dealing with all these problems. This role of learning coach is justified over the experience, it is to provide subject over to students, to teaches them to throw a spiral for themselves (Bull, 2013).

Point 3: Do not overburden learners

This point is the very one that I have ignored over the facilitation week. This is also reflected in the feedbacks of many learners. It is also one of the requirement of the facilitation assignment; however, I didn’t realize the learning pressure until I experience as a learner of other teams’ course.

2 questions you have about digital facilitation.

The two questions in my previous post still remain over the learning experience. To create a humanized digital learning community and how to create a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere in virtual classroom is still ranked as my top concern; however, I did learn from the facilitation session, both as a learner and teacher, to learn to use ice breaker strategies to start conversations among teachers and students, thus facilitating social presence. Particularly, as a learner over the facilitation week, I also learn the importance of giving special attention to individual students who are less involved in interaction.


I still remain my metaphor of the role of facilitator in digital learning environment, who is expected to act as a conductor and arranger of an orchestra. In my former expectation, the facilitator should also ensure every student receives equal consideration, and I would add another point from my experience from the facilitation week: facilitators manage and ready to change the design over the implementation according to the feedbacks of different students, so as to make the course content to cater to discrete needs of individual learners.


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

Vaughan, N. D. 1960-, Garrison, D. R. (Donn R., & Cleveland-Innes, M. T. A.-T. T.-. (2014). Teaching in blended learning environments : creating and sustaining communities of inquiry LK  – (NV-1 online resource (viii, 142 pages) : illustrations.). AU Press.

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Eric Yu is a dynamic English Second Language Instructor in the areas of distant learning. He holds a Bachelor degree from the Shanghai International Studies University and is currently studying in the MS degree from Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC, Canada. Since moving to Canada in 2011, he acclimated himself to the local anculture, and quickly built a cross nation online learning practice, getting involved in IELTS teaching and other online training projects between China and Canada. Eric Yu currently lives in Shanghai, China and work as the team leader of online after-school education in Global Eduation of Puxin Limited. He loves music and is fascinated to search for rare CDs and LPs of rock and jazz musicians in 1960s. Eric Yu has performed well in a diverse range of team environments, from every corner of the world. He lives in Shanghai, China but travels around the world frequently both for work and leisure.

3 thoughts on “The new 3-2-1 blog post – Refelction on facilitaition week”

  1. Hi Eric,
    I’ve been wondering how online facilitators promote learner interaction and during this course, my default is to rely on what we do to engage teenagers in the face-to-face classroom. Humour works for sure. But most teenagers, especially the at risk, will engage with learning if they think their teachers care. Caring involves reaching out in whatever way possible, usually privately. In my mind, I’m calling it “collecting the stragglers” meaning those students who for some reason, cannot keep up with the group. I plan to follow my heart in the online world and do the same. I plan to reach out privately and show learners I care.

    1. Hi Wendy, thanks for sharing your ideas about the facilitaiton online. I totally agree with your point that it is important to show learners the care and support of their teachers. From my personal experience, I am also less engaged in the interaction online, both due to the language barreir and to the techonology problems (I need to use VPN to connect to most platforms such as Mattermost, teams or discord). However, when there are discussions where someone would frequently ask me for my ideas, I would have the impetus to share my experience, regardless of the impediments. And from my work with students, I also have the same feeling as yours: when I show more willingness to support to students, they would be more likely to communicate with you while other peers tend to keep silent in online classrooms. The appraoch really work.

  2. Eric, these are really great observations. I know you had challenges in fully participating in the course and I appreciate the extra effort you went through to participate.

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