Celebrating a dream team of e-facilitators

They are the single most mentioned success factor in the evaluation of collaborative e-learning courses, yet very little is written about them in e-learning blogs and other resources: e-facilitators.

In this post I would like to celebrate 3 great e-facilitators:

 

Busisiwe Ngcebetsha Patience Mawere Rosemary Nyaole-Kowuor

 

In December they finished facilitating a three month e-course for Farm Radio International, a Canadian-based, not-for-profit organisation working in direct partnership with approximately 400 radio broadcasters in 38 African countries to fight poverty and food insecurity. The e-course aimed at African broadcasters who want to create (or improve) a radio program that will serve the small-scale farmers in their listening area.

Farm Radio International has been offering participatory e-courses and e-workshops for the past 5 years (we’ve been really happy to help them from the very beginning!) so they are well versed in making online collaborative learning work.

This time there were two e-workshops running simultaneously with the same content and activities – one with 191 participants and one with 112 participants. We had participants from most English speaking African countries. This is so exciting because just a few years ago this was too challenging to achieve.

Quite a handful for the three e-facilitators, helped by 14 mentors (volunteer broadcasters) who gave feedback on individual work. The busiest weeks were those where participants needed to complete team work as this requires more hand-holding than other activities.

Busi, Patience and Rose have been trained in one of my e-facilitation workshops years ago and have been facilitating a number of e-workshops and courses since.

Why are Busi, Patience and Rose such successful e-facilitators?

  • They have excellent writing skills. They use spoken English to make sure they ‘connect’ with the participants, in a very structured and clear manner.
  • They go out of their way to “listen” to the participants, encourage and motivate them, assist them and guide them along. The warmth in their online voices shows they genuinely care.
  • They have a fanatic sense for detail. I often wonder to what extent this can be learned, although I have seen many of our e-facilitators improve considerably over the years. Busi, Patience and Rose seem to notice almost everything – any small issue, visible or between the lines. With so many contributions it is impossible to read everything, yet their ‘skimming’ skills are so advanced that they are super-efficient when monitoring what is going on and react really fast. This is essential to motivate participants.

The feedback by the participants was fabulous and I know that is for a big part thanks to the skills and commitment of this e-facilitation team. I wanted to publicly share that I’m so impressed with what they have achieved. Thank you so much Busi, Patience and Rosemary!

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