Got skills? Five abilities every online facilitator should develop

When facilitating courses in Moodle™/Joule you will need to exercise new teaching methodologies and refine some of your existent skills in order to maximize the learning experience of your participants. While many of these skills are something you already employ in a face-to-face classroom it can be confusing as to how to apply them online or in a blended classroom. In this blog post we will look at the five abilities every online facilitator should develop.

1. Communication

Instructors need to be clear and concise in communicating with students regardless of delivery mode. However in an online environment tone of voice and body language are lost due primarily to using the written word. One way to get around that would be to use written emotional queues like “I say this in jest” or “I am sorry” or emoticons (depending upon context).

Communication does not have to be limited to just text. You can post video responses or podcasts to help wrap up discussions and lead students into new ones. By communicating effectively with students you can create a sense of inclusion which helps build community.

2. Engagement

Every teacher has a bag of tricks that they use to engage their students in the learning process. Many of those same instructional strategies can be employed in the online or blended classroom with some modifications. Additionally new ways of teaching can be successful by using the activities and resources within Moodle™.

For example you could encourage a love of reading through the Book module or by creating a “choose your own adventure” story in a Lesson. And if you flipped the classroom you could spend more time face-to-face exploring your students’ interests and what they learned while still having time to help those who need it.

3. Classroom management

Paperwork. No one loves it. And students lose it all the time whether they are 5 or 65 years old. Classroom management can become easier when moving online since everything is in one spot. Going paperless is one step to effective classroom management; another is using your time effectively. Students have access to course materials 24/7 and you will need to manage how you spend your time responding grading and interacting with them so that everything gets done on time.

4. Feedback

Giving feedback can seem like an art. The core of good feedback though is focusing on what the student did not who they are personally and to offer it at the right moment while still allowing for student improvement. By using Moodle™ tools like Quiz or PLD you could automate some of the feedback process so that you can focus on facilitation as PLD is a Joule-only feature.

5. Mentorship

One of the greatest joys of being a teacher regardless of delivery mode is watching students become skillful learners. The online environment can seem like a barrier to becoming a great mentor to students but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of being at the front of the classroom you are now a consultant on projects providing resources and helping students in self-guided projects. In constant contact through Forums Chat and feedback mechanisms you can continue to mentor students whenever and wherever you both are.

Face-to-face facilitation and online facilitation use many of the same skill sets. These include communication engagement classroom management feedback and mentorship. Our newest course Foundations of Moodle™ Course Facilitation engages you in these five core abilities while helping you discover how to build community practice communication skills re-work instructional strategies while learning new ones and using Moodle™ and Joule pedagogically.

Happy Moodling!




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