In this model, an e-learning facilitator "wears four pairs of shoes"--acting as instructor, social director, program manager, and technical assistant.
Instructor: consultant, guide, and resource provider
An e-learning facilitator's role as instructor is consistent with seminal adult learning research in which instructors guide self-directed learning in problem-centered environments. E-learning facilitators don't hold all the answers: They offer their own unique insights as they help learners acquire knowledge and develop skills. As Berge suggests, e-learning facilitators' primary instructional tasks are to
provide information to help learners complete assignments
suggest ideas or strategies for learning
help learners connect content with prior knowledge.
E-learning facilitators-as-instructors carry out those tasks with the following methods: ...
Social director: creator of collaborative environments
The second "pair of shoes" that an e-learning facilitator wears are those of social director, fostering collaborative learning. Underlying this type of learning is the belief that learners achieve best in social interactions based on consensus building and cooperation. As facilitators promote interpersonal relationships and help learners work together, they guide a developing sense of community within and between small groups. Perhaps the most meaningful facilitation in this collaborative structure, suggests learning communities experts Rena Palloff and Keith Pratt, is modeling interaction techniques and assuming the role of a group member who contributes to learning.
- address the needs of adult learners by guiding self-directed, realistic, problem-based learning experiences
- structure learning opportunities in which learners make their own meanings by discovering content on their own
- encourage high degrees of participation and interactivity
- offer prompt, informative feedback
- provide strong leadership
- help learners feel comfortable with technology.