Online facilitation

As part of my work, I’ve often spoken and written about what it takes to manage or facilitate an online course. Whether it’s a short, 2 week MOOC, a longer 10-13 week module, or a full 2-4 year degree, the needs and time and effort to effectively support online and distant learners.

I had a conversation with Robin Gissing on LinkedIn recently, on aspects of his work and experience in learning and facilitating online courses, which he has backed up with a great series of LinkedIn posts. He started these in direct response to the news of the spread of Covid 19 / Coronavirus in the UK, and the hype about universities and academic colleagues needing to get their materials online.

I”m sure the list will continue to grow, so I’ll keep adding the links here, but please connect with Robin on LinkedIn to read them directly too. Robin is clearly knowledgeable and, as I know from his work, experienced in this area – he’s taken care to keep the advice on activities like this to be technology agnostic. Something many of us are very interested in these days as a reliance on a specific platform can be too limiting in the medium or long run.

[EDIT – It seems I jumped the gun in publishing; Robin’s LinkedIn posts are limited to his network only. You have two choices, you can connect with him on LinkedIn and read the original, or click the [SEE POST HERE] link and see the screenshot – posted with Robin’s full permission, I hasten to add!]

  1. General Advice – This is all stuff when you think about it, is obvious. But even a seasoned online facilitator will forget some of these points, as will your participants. [SEE POST HERE]
  2. Ice Breakers – These are important, especially for folks who have never done this before! They’re a little way to create teamliness, get creativity flowing and allow people to make that first jump into saying something if shy. [SEE POST HERE]
  3. Structured Brainstorm – Much like how a brainstorm works in a face to face context, a structured brainstorm can take many forms. However, here’s a suggestion that works well online, but with a slight technical learning curve to maximise effect. [SEE POST HERE]
  4. Roadmapping & Ideation – This particular type of workshop is more complex to do online, however it is possible. [SEE PART A AND PART B HERE]
  5. Webinars – If you need to present back some information, a webinar format is the best way to do this, and is a traditional form of online engagement. [SEE POST HERE]
  6. Breakouts – Sometimes you want to split people up to discuss discrete elements. You can do this, but it’s harder to get people back in the room, so there are some ground rules. [SEE POST HERE]
  7. Q&A – Use the tools available to you to allow for Q&As during the session. As a facilitator, you can use some of the break times to review the questions and provide answers when people get back. Don’t dwell on this though, and ensure you stick to timings. [SEE POST HERE]
  8. Feedback – This one relates to feedback, and why it is especially important at the moment. [SEE POST HERE]

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash