Why does Academy of Learning College use a blended learning, facilitated approach to helping our students learn?
First off, it is important to know that a successful learning experience produces results by changing behaviour. These behaviour-changing learning experiences need to be led by experienced, passionate professionals who not only know the content, but also how people learn.
At Academy of Learning College, we refer to these dual skilled professionals as facilitators. Our facilitators possess both topic knowledge as well as a passion for helping people learn the content through the ongoing development of a set of learning facilitation skills.
A traditional classroom instructor is a content resource. Most content experts share their knowledge through writing or lectures and spend very little time in direct contact with their students. When they instruct, they are on typically stage, trying to pass on all their knowledge to a relatively passive group. They are a content resource. They control what is taught and when. It is up to the student to adapt their personal style of learning and prior know-how in an attempt to acquire new skills and knowledge.
A facilitator, on the other hand, is a learning manager first and a content resource second. Facilitators use their understanding of how people learn to create an effective environment that embodies a students’ prior experiences and individual learning style. A facilitator engages the participant, empowering them to take charge of their learning. When they facilitate, they act as a personal guide/coach, working alongside the student, at all times encouraging the sharing of knowledge by and with an active participant.
So even though we call them facilitators, they are really both content experts and facilitators and can apply either style based on students’ needs and the course learning objectives.
Facilitators possess the following attributes:
- Preparation for training delivery
- Provision of a positive learning environment
- Ability to establish credibility as a facilitator
- Adaptable approach, based on what students already know and how they learn best
- A capacity to focus on course objectives
- Ability to encourage student participation
- Possesses and utilizes a variety of techniques
- Ensures learning outcomes
About the Author:
Michael Teglas is the Director of the Kingston ON campus of Academy of Learning College, since 1990.