Thursday, May 25, 2017

Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) - more than just a collection of workshops

'Graphic Recording by @GiuliaForsythe' by Nancy White
Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) workshops are unique. They provide you with a participatory and learner-centred experience to enhance the skills needed to facilitate your own online courses and workshops. In addition, FLO workshops provide a safe environment to mentor future FLO facilitators.

For example, Rachel Loganberg from College of the Rockies volunteered her time and expertise by taking on an "observer" role in the FLO-Design pilot as a way to provide feedback on the design of the workshop based on observations of how learners were engaging. Rachel was also keen to go under the hood of the 5-week FLO-Fundamentals workshop offered this spring, and volunteered to co-facilitate that so she will be ready to take the lead on a future FLO workshop. She then went on to co-facilitate the 2-week Facilitator Development Online workshop that just wrapped up. Needless to say, Rachel is now very well equipped to mentor future FLO facilitators! This is a terrific example of a mutual exchange model -- learn and practice while giving back to the FLO community.

To date, 47 individuals from 16 institutions have participated in the Facilitator Development Workshop, an intensive 2-week program to prepare you to facilitate FLO workshops. This free workshop experience embraces important elements of a vibrant community of practice and open educational practices:
  • There is no cost to enrol, only a polite ask for commitment.
  • The course remains open to participants after the completion date. After all, the workshop experience is really all about what the learners contribute -- rich discussions, and artefacts they plan to re-use in their own facilitation. 
  • Participants are invited to return to participate or assist in future workshops, also at no cost.
  • The learning experience relies on the distributed expertise of the members.
  • The workshop facilitators take on the typical tasks: welcome, model, clarify, support, advance dialogue, etc. However, the to-become-facilitators share that role, and are invited practice.
  • During the workshop we often reach out to engage groups and individuals outside the workshop
  • Past FDO alumni are encouraged to share back -- new ideas, experiences with implementation,
  • The workshop space is available to registrants only. However, everyone is encouraged to share out using social media.
  • There is no pressure to "complete" -- the learner decides when the outcomes have been met.
  • Discussions about how to improve the workshop experience are encouraged and ongoing
  • It's all about what individuals are willing to invest. The opportunity to take facilitation to the next level is always there!
Following FDO participants are invited to join the Facilitator Development Community of Practice (CoP) where we continue to connect, share, work on projects, and solve problems together. We believe that a workshop is a shared effort; the openly licensed content and design continues to be improved by the community. And the rich contributions from participants become part of the history. 

Ultimately, the goal of designing and hosting FLO workshops at BCcampus, and preparing future facilitators, is so others can successfully implement a high quality experience for faculty and staff. Our hope is that there will be many, many facilitators ready to adopt FLO workshops to implement in-house.

All FLO workshops are available for browsing, copying, and download.  If you're looking for outstanding support to help you with this task, look no further than our Facilitator Development Community.

Contact me (Sylvia Currie for information about becoming a FLO facilitator for the workshops we develop together.

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