I had the pleasure of attending the edayz08 conference in Adelaide last week. The highlight was definitely the Keynote speaker, Jonathan Finkelstein, who also ran a workshop on ‘online Facilitation in Elluminate’ which I attended. Here is an overview of the conference (not everything, but some of the parts which I have taken notes on).
Brad Beach: What makes online learning work?
Brad is the Flexible Learning Manager for GippsTAFE, who have 4,000 totally online enrolments.
What makes it work?
Communication (between teachers and studetns)
- Teachers don’t need to write the content
- Flavour is added via communication
- Online facilitation is the key
Nobody writes a textbook before they teach a class, so why do we expect to write online content?
Viable class sizes are more easily achieved in online learning and there are good profit margins
There is an increased demand for teachers with online facilitation skills and soley online teachers and e-moderators.
A simple plan for online facilitation:
MONDAY– Release a chunk of content
MONDAY AND TUESDAY– Release discussion topics and email activity or assignments
WEDNESDAY– Elluminate session
THURSDAY– Repeat real time Elluminate session
FRIDAY– Catch up day (summarise and support)
Jonathan specialises in online facilitation. According to him,teachers need to be like a magician!
“Let’s be clear — not magical powers – not the power to make something float, just the skill to make people believe that it i”
Some of Jonathan’s points about being a magician (and other things):
- a magician makes it engaging, but let’s not confuse engaging with entertaining
- it’s more about holding people’s interest
- Keep your own sense of wonder
- For your own sense of wonder, focus on the learner’s response
- when you do a magic trick, you might know the outcome, but the person seeing it for the first time doesn’t – focus on the effect
- It’s easy to get bogged down by the process and tools
- techniques are interesting as a magician, but it doesn’t guarantee audience will be impressed
- props are fun — but it’s the impact on the learner that’s important — make sure to make the connection to impact.
- Don’t go beyond the obvious, sometimes the simple is best
- Sometimes a magician encourages critical thinking — How’d he DO that? My assumptions are all wrong! Let me try that!
- You also need to respect your audience and their knowledge and experience
- Make sure your audience feel good about things (help them to realise their own skills)
- You can’t make them feel that you’re putting one over on them
- Direct attention where it needs to be
- Be yourself/challenge yourself/learn new tricks
- the more human the learning environment is the more likely people are to learn
- Use real world objects over constructed ones
- Objects don’t make sense without the story
- Slides shows should make no sense without YOU
- We need to be the story teller
- Good magicians never share/ Good teachers share everything