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Facilitator Training Program

Synchronous 3-Day Model


Part I-Day1
COURSE DESCRIPTION
This training program is going to introduce distance learning to corporate trainers
who had little to no experience in online instruction. It will begin with a look into the
skills needed in order to be a successful online facilitator. It will include training
materials of different theories of distance learning and how to keep learners
engaged online. Mentoring and evaluation will need to take place of the trainees;
this is done to ensure that the learners are retaining the information. Address the
importance of the learning platforms, how they work, and what is best to use. To
wrap up the training, classroom management of issues that may arise, so the right
route is taken by the future online facilitators.
AUDIENCE
The learner or audience will be corporate trainers of all different tenure, that want
to perform online training to the company. They will strictly come from a
volunteering and wanting to professionally develop their skills. Their skills will have
a wide range, but will not include new hires from within the last six months. The
learners will vary in age, race, and gender along with their professional experience.
Because of the various learners, it will be important to provide the best environment
of all types of learners.
TRAINING MODALITY AND LENGTH
The following training will take place in a three day in class session; this is to ensure
that the trainees have enough time to process the information. It is important that
time is provided to not only take in information, but also to have time set aside to
ask questions. The four different parts will be broken into three separate days.
This manual will be passed out the trainees at the beginning of the program, and
used as a syllabus as they move forward. It will give them a sense of what will be
covered in the training. The training will take place in a classroom which will
provide a synchronous learning environment where everyone learns the information
at the same time.
GOALS
1. The learner will speak to the different types of learning platforms for online
training sessions.
2. The learner will be able to incorporate tools to enhance student learning in
online classroom.
3. The learner will be able to incorporate tools to enhance collaboration in online
classroom.
4. The learner will be able to facilitate training sessions to different types of online
learners.

5. The learner will be able to manage technological and communication issues in


online classrooms.

OBJECTIVES

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SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT
The retention of information and overall assessment of the trainees will take place
after the trainees have been able to meet with their mentor. The three day program
will be to provide information and different scenarios. The trainers will get informal

assessments of their students, but the formal assessments will come with
discussions with the mentors. The mentors will be given an outline that will be
covered within the first month after the training as taken place. The company
wants to make sure that retention has happened, and the trainees can now move
forward with their online training sessions.
It is in the best interest of the company to have trainees assessed by veteran
employees who have been performing the duties for some time. They can provide
their own insight and tips during these conversations with the trainees. Once the
mentor provides their final assessment, the trainee will either move forward or go
back into the three day training. They will only be able to do the three day training
twice before they are excused from the possibility of online instruction.
The success of the program will be determined by how many trainees have to take
the three day training twice or the amount that eventually dismissed. There will be
constant tweaking to the program to ensure that the training department is
providing the best service to its employees.
Part II
SKILLS NEEDED TO BE AN EFFECTIVE ONLINE FACILITATOR
Communication is important in any learning environment, but a good facilitator will
have it between students and the instructor at a high level. (Pallof & Pratt, 2011, p.
12-13)
-Monitoring Discussions
-Asking Probing Questions
-Post Announcements
-Provide Prompt Feedback
-Ice Breaker Activities
-Clear Participation Expectations
There will be different strategies needed to present these skills to the training
facilitators. First, asking probing questions can be done with a role play strategy. A
trainee will be partnered up with a more veteran instructor where they will play both
the instructor and learner role.
Posting announcements, setting clear participation expectations, and examples of
ice breaker activities will be shown in presentations using the already existing online
classroom. The learner will be able to see what the online environment looks like
for the instructor and how to navigate the website.
Monitoring discussions and providing prompt feedback will happen in open lectures,
where the trainees will be able to ask questions to more veteran facilitators. Being
able to ask their own questions, guides the discussions with what the trainees feel
to be the important topics.

"Those faculty who have taught online for multiple terms


and have designed several online courses. They have
mastered the technology required to teach online and are
likely to have integrated technology beyond the course
management system into their teaching. They feel
extremely comfortable with the skills required to teach
online and can be called upon for peer support for newer
online faculty." (Pallof & Pratt, 2011, p. 20)

"Those faculty who have taught more than two semesters


online and have taught more than one course per term.
They feel comfortable in the online environment, are
proficient with course management technology, and have
basic understanding of the skills needed for online
teaching. They may have designed one or more online
courses."

"Those faculty who have taught online for one or two


terms. They may have taught more than one course per
term. They are developing an understanding of the online
environment and the skills required to teach online."

"Those faculty who have never taught online and who may
or may not have taken an online course as a student but
have consistently posted a syllabus online and have used
some communications technologies to supplement their
face-to-face teaching."

Master

Insider

Apprenti
ce

Novice

PHASES OF DEVELOPMENT FOR DISTANCE LEARNING FACILITATORS

THEORIES OF DISTANCE LEARNING


Transactional Distance - Addresses the physical distance in which the facilitator is
separated from their students. Because of this distance, the learner has more
autonomy and does not have to follow the strict structure of the instructor.
According to Haythornthwaite and Andrews (2011), there are three variables that
determine the success of distance learning: dialogue, program structure, and
learner autonomy. (p. 49)
This theory puts more of the onus on the learner, to determine how they are going
to study, when they are going to study, and what they are going to study. This is
determined by the guidelines in which the instructor wants their online environment
to work. The flexible or ridged nature in which they conduct the training will limit
the students control, but the distance from the instructor still allows the student to
have more freedom than in a classroom setting.
The other variable, the dialogue between the student and the instructor will be
important. As instructors, clear expectations of students in how and when they will
communicate. Because of the distance between the instructor and learner, this
means clearer communication of expectations.
Multimodality Instructing online, the facilitator provides many different avenues in
which the trainee can learn. This theory will have the instructor using many
different tools to ensure learning and retention is taking place.
A trainee (or student) can get into the online environment, read texts, do the
assignments, and pass the class. But, how much engagement will they have and
how much of the information will they retain? By providing many different tools
(learning options) to the learner, they will have a better experience and thus be
more engaged. The different ways to learn something can range from: images,
sounds, role play, reflection, and text books among others. Incorporating all of
these into the online environment can help with learning about single or multiple
topics.
THEORIES FOR ENGAGING DISTANCE LEARNERS (Jones, 2013)
Get to Know Your Students The online environment makes it difficult for there
to be a strong relationship between instructor and learner. With such a large
distance, the learner is less likely to want to reach out to the instructor. They will
most likely pursue other options first. As the facilitator, the urge to want to get to
know the students will be important. It is up them to reach out first or the student
is more likely to not engage in throughout the class.

Know the Classroom Mechanics of an Online Course The instructor must


have a general knowledge of technical issues that may arise for the students. They
dont need to know the ins and outs of a computer, but they must be able to help

with navigating the website. This will include how tools work, opening and closing
resources, how to post and submit assignments, etc. The situations above their
head can go to a technical support.

Be Accessible and Respond to Student Inquiries in a Timely Manner Set


an expectation with students to let them know the timeline in which they can
expect a response. Students should know every way to get a hold of the instructor
in case of an emergency (personal or technical). Let the class know if not going to
be able to log into class for a long period of time (over two days). They should have
a sense if they can come to the instructor or will need to pursue other options
(classmates) to get their questions answered.

Go beyond the university requirement of posting a brief, weekly


announcement Dont sit back and wait for struggling students to reach out first.
Make a conscious effort to get a hold of them either with a short email. This can be
used if the student is struggling, just a friendly reminder about upcoming due dates.
Maybe discuss with them via instant message or over the phone where they are
having the most issues. This way they can get immediate feedback to their own
issues.

Provide substantive feedback and positive critique Feedback should be


clear and concise so the learner knows what they are doing well and what they need
to work on. It should not only be negative, showing the students area of
opportunities, but also praising them. The praise can on things the learner has
made strides to improve, or skills they are excelling in on the first try.

Inject some fun into the classroom Add some personal information or stories
to not only connect with the learners but also to allow them to see the fun side.
Sharing things like hobbies, interests, career goals and welcoming the students to
share theirs can help with injecting some fun into the online environment. This will
help the students who want to be in a regular class but cannot for one reason or
another. The comradery between peers and instructor can help make the training
(or class) more fun.

Part III-Day 2
MENTORING PROGRAM
The mentoring program is put in place to make sure the trainees have a veteran
presence to allow for discussions to take place. Trainees may not want to share in
class, but they will develop a relationship with their mentor, in hopes to make them
more willing to share their thoughts. We find it that the information is more likely to
be retained if the trainee has not only someone to keep them accountable, but also
to be able to discuss issues that may arise. The plan is for the mentoring program
to start for each individual in Day 2 of the training and end a month afterwards.
That amount of time will give them a chance to not only develop the relationship,
but also have discussions after the training has concluded

Performance of the Mentor The mentor must be in good standing and not written
up for any disciplinary actions for ONE YEAR. His/Her overall performance must
show they have received Advance or Role Model on their last Six-Month
Performance Review. They must also be at least to the Insider Phase with their
experience. Apprentices can inquire to be a mentor but those situations will be
handled on a case to case basis. Thus, the mentor must have a good amount of
experience in the online setting before becoming a mentor. Their self-experience
will be able to help the trainee work through difficult situations.

Determining Success of Mentor The trainee will eventually be given a survey to


take about their mentor and the experience they have over the month long period.
The survey will include scoring the mentor on many different aspects, but will also
allow for short answers. The trainee will be encouraged to give as much description
as possible of their experience. This survey will then be discussed with the
managers and directors of the Training Department.

MANAGEMENT AND EVALUATION OF FACILITATORS


After the Three Day Program, and the trainees go back to their cities, it will be
important for the mentors to try to have consistent access. It is a two way street,
the mentees will have to also make an effort to continue to grow the mentor
relationship. One strategy to combat this issue is to have daily check ins over
email, and then to schedule once a week (or as needed) talks to get voice to voice
conversations.

Mentors will be expected to do the following: (Puzziferr-schnitzer & Kissinger, 2005,


p. 41)
1. Act as a liaison between the administration and the adjunct.
2. Develop professional relationships with new adjuncts through proactive emails
and discussion
forum contacts.
3. Provide help and share resources, ideas and opportunities.
4. Facilitate an online orientation course. All new adjuncts are required to go
through and complete
the required orientation assessments before teaching online.
6. Communicate processes for and monitor compliance with administrative
processes and
procedures.
7. Act as a point of contact for questions/advice about teaching, pedagogy, and use
of the learning
management systems.
8. Create courseware and knowledge modules as needed.

Much like the mentors, the faculty will be evaluated through a survey submitted by
the mentors. Through all the correspondence between the mentor and mentees, it
will be demonstrated that whether information has been retained. After the survey
has been submitted, the trainee will have a conversation (either in person or a
conference call) with heads of the Training Department. The trainee will then move
to instructing online on a probationary status. Their trainings will be overseen by
their mentors and heads of the Training Department. We feel that that performing
while doing the real thing, will fully show if the trainee is ready.

LEARNING PLATFORMS FOR DISTANCE LEARNING


Trainees will get very familiar with the Content Management System (CMS)
platform, this will allow them to run their trainings more smoothly. CMS is a
platform in which allows for multiple users, much where the learners are
determining which direction the training moves. This will provide a more studentcentric atmosphere, where information will be added and changed by anyone who
logs into the class. For example: If a learner feels that a video is needed to
enhance learning in the training, they can do so with the instructors approval. The
students in this platform have more power than on other platforms, but the
instructor has the final say. They will have to determine if what is being added will
benefit the greater good of the training.

On this platform the instructor acts more like a facilitator, than actually doing the
teaching themselves. The information will be put up, from there changes can be
added by the students to enhance the learning. New topics will be introduced in
discussions by the facilitator, but students can also introduce other topics. This will
take monitoring by the facilitator to make sure each topic is leading to a desired
outcome.

Private discussions will also take place to allow students to ask questions that they
may not want to voice to the rest of the class. It will also give the facilitator to
personalize messages to individuals as needed.
Assignments will be given as an individual task, where students will be completing
them by themselves. They will be submitted through an assignment file submission
tab. The student will be submitting a file, either from Word, Excel, or Powerpoint.
Feedback will be provided for the assignments on an individual level and how the
class performed overall. The individual will be able to get a sense of how the
assignment went for the other students in the class. The facilitator will select points
possible for each assignment, high point totals going to more important/difficult
assignments. The points awarded versus total points possible will determine the
students final grade.

Textbooks will not be the only mode to get information out to the students in the
online environment. The following will be provided to students, which in turn they
will also be able to add themselves to enhance the learning: audio (podcasts, books

on tape, radio, audio from a movie, etc.), videos (YouTube, clips from movie, etc.),
and visuals/infographics (slide show presentations, etc.)

By having audio incorporated into the online environment, it will provide the
auditory learners to get a sense and process information after hearing it. Many
people learn well in a classroom setting because they can hear the instructor talk
about the information. The learner will not be hearing the instructor talk to them in
this instance, but they will be able to hear from many different tools.

Again, one of the reasons a student does not want to take online courses is because
they feel like they are on an island by themselves. Being able to watch videos of
tools such as YouTube, will be able topics that they are learning and how the
correlate to the outside world. When reading text only, their imaginations are
expected to paint the picture for them. With videos and visuals/infographics it helps
develop their ideas. The student can also search and find different videos and
visuals than they feel can enhance the learning of their classmates

Part IV-Day 3
TOOLS FOR COLLABORATION IN DISTANCE LEARNING
Collaboration between students and the facilitator will be important to ensure that
learning is taking place in the online environment. There are going to be three main
ways in which this will happen:

CMS LEARNING PLATFORM Discussion forums and Instant Messaging will be


constructed where the students will be collaborating on both topics that are
included by the facilitator and their peers. Collaboration on these topics will allow
for the learners to get different perspectives. Trainings happening over the online
environment will bring people from different parts of the country together. This
helps in getting a sense of ideas from other walks of life.

Skype Along with instant messaging, this is the best way for learners to get
immediate feedback. Although they will not all be the same area (city/town/state),

being able to see the person will help with humanizing the online environment.
Conversing via programs like Skype will provide comfort to learner that not only
their peers are humans but also the instructor too. This will enhance collaboration
because it will allow for relationships to be developed. There will be a link to
teleconferencing or skype like program that is ran by the company.

Telephone The easiest and shortest way to collaborate may be through a text
message or email sent from a smart phone. With people being on the go so much
today, this will provide a chance for students to ask quick questions. They will
provide their numbers to the class if they want to use this as a form of collaboration
TYPES OF DISTANCE LEARNERS

Non-Traditional
-May have more or
less experience in
online environment
-Experience in other
fields, in the online
environment,
anywhere but typical
classroom experience
-Converse with them
about different
activities that make
them comfortable.

Experiential
-Students who learn
from their own
experiences
-Field Projects like
speaking to people
they know
(Hathornthwaite &
Andrews, 2011, p.
198)
-Journaling their
epxerience in
discussion boards

Cultural
-Students who
experienced different
things because of
where they live
-May not have much
education
-Incorporate many
different activities to
locate strengths of
students from
different areas

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SYNCHRONOUS AND ASYNCHRONOUS LEARNING

Synchronou
s

Asynchrono
us

Students are learning the


information at the same time
Synchronous e-learning involves
online studies through chat and
videoconferencing
Classroom which allows students to
ask, and teachers to answer
questions instantly, through instant
messaging. (Mindflash, 2016)

Students learning the information


at different times.
Coursework delivered via web,
email and message boards that are
then posted on online forums.
students ideally complete the
course at their own pace, by using
the internet merely as a support
tool rather than volunteering
exclusively for an e-learning
software or online interactive
classes. (Mindflash, 2016)

TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT AND RESOLUTIONS


Digital Divide Relates to the people who do not have access to the internet or a
computer. We live in a world where these two things seem more as an expectation
or right rather than a luxury. There are many parts of the world where people do
not have access to either.

According to Hathornthwaite and Andrews (2011) a fix for this type of a situation is
to still include the learner. They have already excluded from this realm to this point,
and need to develop the skills needed to be successful in the working environment.
If the person has any online skills and is able to convey that in the online
environment, work with them to gauge exactly what they can do.

Non-Users The people who do have access to the internet and a computer but
choose not to use them for a couple different reasons. According to Hathornthwaite
and Andrews (2011), these reasons include people who cannot pay for up to date
technology and people who have little no interest in using the technology.

The people who have the access but have not updated their computer or bandwidth
to take the class can be provided options for what they need in order to take the
online course. These people want to go, the lack of technology is what is keeping
them from attending. They need to be shown the (inexpensive) options to get them
to where they need to be.

The ones who have the technology but choose not to use it need to be shown the
benefits of what the online course can provide for them. The process of getting
them to the start of the class is the most difficult and need to be shown the way to
help motivate them.

Delayed Use Technology is constantly changing, a computer bought a couple years


ago does not have the same capabilities as a newer computer. People are working
at disadvantage if their learning environment expects them to have the greatest
and latest tools

A solution for this is to have minimum hardware and software requirements


presented to the students before they start class. Having new technology can prove
to be somewhat of an advantage for the student, but dont exclude the ones who do
not have it. Incorporate a learning environment where older tools, hardware, and
software can be used.

CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT ISSUES AND RESOLUTIONS


Learner Feedback
Adult learners tend to have feedback for their instructors, things that they may have
liked or dislike throughout the class. They like to be heard, so as an instructor we
must welcome any and all feedback from our students. Obviously there are certain

instances where this may not be the case, but overall, we should allow our learners
to provide it.

This feedback may be given by directly speaking with the student face to face,
message (email, discussion board, instant message, etc.), or via a comments
section after the course. If possible respond to the student to get more specifics to
help better understand their concern. Once this takes place, make sure to let them
know you will look into the issue.

Challenging Behaviors
Whether it is the in class or online environment, there are going to be difficult
students. The online environment makes this issue more difficult because
communication can sometimes get lost in translation in a message. Issues like
Cyber Bulling, Inappropriate Posts, or Lack of Participation need to be avoided at all
costs.

Monitoring the posts on the website can help prevent this from ever happening. If
one of the three comes up within the discussion forum, do not let it slide even once.
Make sure to acknowledge it and move forward accordingly. Monitoring will allow
you to see if anything is building between two or more students.

After it is acknowledged, private message the student or call them (if you have their
phone number), to get an explanation. Things happen and sometimes it is an
accident. If it is sensed the incident was done on purpose, warn the learner but
allow them to move forward. Make sure they know this will not be tolerated and if it
happens again they will be taken out of class. There is no reason why there should
be more than two chances given.

References

Haythornthwaite, C., & Andrews, R. (2011). E-learning Theory and Practice . Los
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