Week 1 of How To Teach Online MOOC – Everyone’s a Teacher…

It’s a tenuous time at work as we await the announcement of repoints to roles so the MOOC work outside of work hours has been providing me with the mental stimulation I need.

This week marked the end of the first week of the How To Teach Online cMOOC.  Reading some of the blog posts, many of the MOOC participants come from an education or academic background and have written their posts to the exact requirements of the activities.  Me, my mind doesn’t work that way.  It wanders.  Meanders. Goes on tangents.  It links to  other posts, articles, videos that I have seen on the web that week and then I try to make sense of it using my own workplace situation by asking the following questions:

  • How is this relevant to me?
  • How can I apply this to my workplace?
  • Is this something my clients would be open to? Why? Why not?
  • How will this solve business performance problems in our workplace?

We were asked to view this excellent Australian video called “How To Teach Online” on how universities are dealing with the move towards blended learning.   They are seeing that the way we learn is changing in society and this impacts the way they have taught for years.

Some of the concerns they voice are similar concerns of many Learning and Development professionals.

However blended learning is not new to our organisation.  70-20-10 is integrated and part of the vernacular and all of our courses in our curricula have been redesigned to reflect the blend of education, coaching and on-the-job experience.   Many of these courses are owned by Learning and Development and indeed, we still have facilitators running some face-to-face workshops but who are also dual specialised to run them as live online learning events too.  The challenge is not the facilitators (who coincidentally love the live online environment) but it is soon to be something else.

I’m now seeing the increasing trend of business subject matter experts becoming the teachers. 

And that’s a good thing (I think so anyway) but this is now changing the control outside of L&D hands and into the business.  They are taking charge of their own teaching/coaching/learning in the business but not overtly calling it “training” or “learning” or “courses” or “training events” like L&D do.  Instead, they are integrating it with their own work and using the technology such as Webex, Sharepoint and Yammer to connect with others within and external to their business to do business.

The mere fact that they’re talking to each other about work and collaborating on their projects is learning.

Therefore it’s becoming apparently clear to me that in open, shared and collaborative workplaces, coaching, feedback and inquiry skills are becoming critical – as is the need to be savvy with technology.  So subject matter experts need to have ‘e-facilitation’ skills so that they can seamlessly share their knowledge and expertise to teach others within the contexts of their work.

I’ve now been in this role for a few months and I’ve been reflecting on the question, “What Have I Taught?” (and not the ‘how have I taught‘ as the MOOC activities asked for).  Apart from teaching these subject matter experts to use Webex, podcasting and using Sharepoint and Yammer, much of what I have taught is outside of work hours.  I have openly shared my work through my blog, Twitter, Yammer and learning events. Through this sharing, I have met some wonderful people both within  (who share my passion for learning) and external to the organisation.

Over the weekend I stumbled upon this gem promoted by a tweet from David Hopkins https://twitter.com/hopkinsdavid).   It’s Kid Presidents message to teachers on “What are you teaching the world?”.  He’s adorable but his message goes to a wider audience than just school teachers.  It can be applied to anyone as he says, “everybody’s a student and everybody’s a teacher” and it’s what resonated with me this week with my work with my business subject matter experts and this MOOC.

What do you think?

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About Activate Learning Solutions

Helen Blunden is the founder of Activate Learning Solutions and Third Place. She has over 20 years of experience within learning and development across private, public and not-for-profit organisations. With a specialty in performance consulting and networked learning, Helen believes that workplace learning is integral to business success. She has a passion for enabling people to learn beyond the classroom and believes in the power of networks and communities to drive collaboration and meaning within the organisation. From facilitator-led instruction, online and blended, Helen deploys social and informal learning such as enterprise social networking, collaboration tools and emerging technologies that have been proven successful and embedded workplace change.
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2 Responses to Week 1 of How To Teach Online MOOC – Everyone’s a Teacher…

  1. Thanks for the comment Mark. Interesting question and I think some people may have realised that something’s “adrift” but can’t exactly pin point what it is. I had an interesting conversation yesterday with someone I met on Yammer in our organisation. He contacted me to find out more about MOOCs and taking charge of your own professional development but the topic got onto how our work is changing – how it’s becoming automated – and what it means for people in the roles now. What does their future hold? How will their job change? Will their job change? Will it be around in the near future.

    Of course we didn’t have the answers but it was nice to speak to someone outside of L&D who is also being impacted by changes and wondering what he can do to stay abreast with these.

  2. Well done Helen. We are leading parallel professional lives! Your point about “changing the control outside of L&D hands and into the business.” is spot on and here too the 70-20-10 framework is growing to be part of the vernacular. How quickly though are those people not in L&D adapting to a “control org learning” shift? How is L&D handling the shift?

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