Here you are, about to facilitate your first online class or workshop. Even if you are a facilitator with many years of experience, you might still be wondering if online facilitation is very different from the work you have done in face-to-face settings. The answer is yes and no! While there are many skills and strategies that are common to both, you will likely encounter some new challenges and may have to adapt your facilitation style or approach to this new situation. However, the good news is that with the growing popularity of online learning and the variety of technology tools that is available, you will have an entirely new and exciting repertoire available to you as a facilitator. You will probably be able to do things you only dreamed about when facilitating face-to-face!
As we discussed in the Online Content module, your approach to facilitating online learning will depend on a number of factors including the type of technology you are using (synchronous or asynchronous, text-based or audio/visual), the type of learning you are facilitating (accredited, personal interest, short workshop, ongoing course, etc.), the level of participation you want to encourage and even the subject matter. If you are facilitating an online "how-to" type of course, for example, how to use a new piece of software, your students will probably not engage in a lot of personal conversation or sharing. However, if you are facilitating a course for literacy practitioners about how to conduct intake assessments, course participants are more likely to share their experiences and interact with both you and with their fellow participants.
In this module, we will take a brief look at the skills you will need for effective online facilitation. We will then share some specific strategies and tips for facilitating online and take a closer look at online facilitation and technology. Throughout the module, we will share helpful and informative resources that we have found. There are many, many useful sources of information available online; you will find a list of some of them at the end of this module (it would be impossible to list them all!).