Facilitating learning with web conferencing recommendations based on learners’ experiences
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This paper reports some of the findings from a study undertaken to obtain an insight into the experiences of learners engaging with web conferencing. A small group of work-based adult learners with substantial experience of learning in a virtual classroom provided accounts of and reflections on their experiences using a blog and group interview. Qualitative analysis of data led to findings which support some existing best practice guidelines for facilitators and also provide additional insight into issues that impact on learners’ experiences. This paper presents recommendations for facilitators and explores some of the issues raised by learners which are not commonly addressed in other guidelines, including the effective use of breakout rooms, the management of minimalist learners and the need to respect learners’ privacy. A facilitation approach which allows learners to develop autonomy and exert control in the virtual classroom and which acknowledges diversity of learning preferences is suggested. Whilst the recommendations made may not be appropriate in all learning contexts, they are presented as a starting point to help other facilitators review and develop their own practice.
KeywordsWeb conferencing Virtual classrooms Learners’ experiences Guidelines for facilitators
Thanks are due to the learners who engaged with the research and to our colleagues and fellow tutors on the online TQFE programme who have provided feedback and support. The project was supported by a small grant award from ELESIG (ning.elesig.com). The final report from this project is available from www.slideshare.net/sarahcornelius. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 4th International Conference on Computer Supported Education and appears in the proceedings of that conference.
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