A new role: eLearning Guide
Professional training via CD-ROM flopped. Why? Because we took the instructors and coaches out of the picture. The learning process breaks down when "untouched by human hands." A ringing phone interrupts a standalone learning exercise, and CD-ROM courses become shelfware.
eLearning has enormous potential for making learning faster, more thorough, less tedious, more challenging, less expensive, and more fun, but if we try to cut costs by removing people from the equation, eLearning will be but another failed experiment. Learning is social. People learn from one another. The Internet turbocharges learning because it brings people together.
in many ways. They "attend" virtual presentations, seminars,
and classes. They participate in online discussions, both realtime and
anytime. They connect with fellow learners, learning coaches, mentors,
facilitators, and others by email, video conference, telephone, messaging,
and voice chat. They get together when they hit a bump in the road (help
desk) or at a scheduled time (office hours). To make the most of a virtual
learning environment, most learners need a Guide.
New role for instructors -- eLearning Guide
Classroom trainers have always worn many hats. The eLearning environment adds more. The on-line role is more challenging but more flexible and varied. The new job is to answer questions, to coach, to steer, to encourage, to lead -- but not to instruct. There's less travel and more variety. Let's call this new role "eLearning Guide."
The Guide's role changes over time. At first, the Guide spends time kicking things off, defining boundaries, organizing the learning process, and explaining how things work. The Guide sets expectations and monitors participation.
With the passage of time, more and more responsibility for learning shifts from the instructor to the learner. The Guide becomes more a mentor, coach, advisor, and trouble-shooter.
As learners become more experienced and a group culture takes hold, the Guide spends less face-to-face time with learners, real or virtual. But as the group matures, the Guide will need a greater depth of subject-matter expertise (to noodle through the issues groups of learners couldn't figure out for themselves.)
"Sage on the stage" becomes "guide on the side"
A responsible on-line facilitator needs:
for the Online Instructor: Keep It Interpersonal comes from The Chronicle
for Higher Education.
What an effective guide does
Patti Shank, Managing Partner of Insight Ed breaks the actions of an effective on-line Guide into administrative, facilitation, technical, and evaluation tasks. (She assumes the Guide already has credible content knowledge, understanding of how people learn, and a desire to teach.)
The primary goal of these competencies is to assure smooth course operations, improve adherence to policies and procedures, and enhance learner comfort level and retention. The instructor’s actions provide the framework for learning and reduce learner apprehensions related to course content and procedures.
The primary goal of these competencies is to enhance cognitive outcomes related to course objectives and foster community and collaboration among class participants. The instructor’s actions improve learner satisfaction with the course and program.
The primary goal of these competencies is to assure that technical aspects of the course are running smoothly and learner barriers due to technical components are quickly overcome. The instructor’s actions help make the technology relatively transparent to the learner.
Tips for Teaching Online in Real Time from Centra
Use Interaction to Motivate, Engage, and Involve Learners Facilitating Web-based training is like being the host of a very lively talk show. It is your job to keep your viewers motivated, engaged and involved. Web-based training programs delivered with Symposium are not passive experiences! To be successful, make learners part of the program by using the techniques outlined below.
Engage Learners Engage learners by asking them to participate verbally and intellectually. As a facilitator, the easiest way to engage students is to ask direct questions frequently. Ask learners to comment on a presentation, share their observations, or answer a direct question. Turn the tables by encouraging students to initiate questions to the instructor, as well as to other learners. Intellectually engage learners by asking them to think how the course is related to their experience and to consider other points-of-view.
Vary the Interactivity Vary the interactions to keep learners attention. Lessons can include lectures, debates, role-plays, quizzes, question and answer sessions, Web Safaris and breakout groups.
|Free training for eLearning Guides from Placeware every Monday and Tuesday. Naturallly, these sessions focus on using Placeware software but you'll pick up plenty of pointers on eLearning Guiding in general.|