Thursday, August 5, 2010

Facilitator-Less social learning is like curing ourselves

Michele Medved and Terrence Wing wrote on "Facilitating Learning with Social Media."

It is interesting reading and sharing of a case study. Thanks.

The article triggered some more thinking in a project I am working right now. One of its goal is to create an online learning system to help learners learn but a "Facilitator-Less Social Learning."

These are questions I ask myself.

What is the contribution of a facilitator?
It is to ask questions, primarily, to help contributors, learners to direct their efforts. Leading and coordinating is probably a secondary tasks.

What is the main asset of a facilitator?
There are many, but key is a framework to help others "think through things." Or a way to help others reflect on content, process and interaction to help learners learn.

What is the origin of facilitation?
From the human development, psychoanalytic practice popularized in group dynamics; largely a in-person or face to face event.

What I see most of the social learning networks today?
Mostly open ended and lateral learning environment where every access all content, learn, interact and collaborate -- an open space.

Why do we have the need or is there a need to facilitate in social learning?
I am guessing that perhaps we feel the need to help learners, which is laudable. But also, perhaps we see a gap in most social learning. We see a group of learner who needed to be prodded and guided to arrive at learning ends. This sounds like classroom session to me.

What social learning is and should be?
It is an open ended, self-directed, self-rewarding method of learning; unstructured. People learn the way they want to whether we call it learning or observing. This is the environment of social learning.

What is missing in social learning?
It is a facilitator? Is it a certain skill the social learners must have? I submit it is a skill that is most needed by learners. Tony Kareer and Michele Martin have been talking about work literacy skills - mostly how to learn with the new open learning tools with web 2.0.

Should we enable (enabler, not train, not facilitate) social learners to facilitate their own learning?
This is an oxymoron. How can one cure oneself? On the contrary we always cure ourselves; our own body does. Doctors and medicines act as "facilitators" of our healing. Assuming we are normal and do not have impaired organ and physical problems, we should be able to heal ourselves.

In essence the facilitator is an external "medicine" like a dose of cure to redirect our internal systems to cure. To boost our innate abilities to cure ourselves.

What form should the enabler be?
I suspect it is helping learners learn to ask really self-reflective questions on three areas: Content, Process, Application. What and how this content mean to me? How I can use it? How can I apply it to make a difference?

The project I am working right now is an experiment, and it has given me more confidence that "we may not really need to facilitate social learning" if we set up the enablers.

Time to stay out of the way?
My main concern with facilitated social learning suggests that we need to assist learners. We don't have to. They can learn by themselves. And we have a challenge to stay away from and stop their learning by facilitating them. We should enable them.

Ray Jimenez, PhD
3Minute Worlds - Learning Community Social Learning, Work and Performance
3Minute eLearning Games

"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

1 comment:

  1. Social learning is an excellent to learn. The concept of "What form should the enabler be?" will benefit the participant as well as the company. As long as the participants have the tools they are comfortable using and know what they are suppose to do with the information they find, why should we bother them with a facilitator!

    The main concern I have is, are companies giving employees enough time in their work schedules to actively participate in this learning?


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