I have been thinking of how to use online learning to teach an important subject like mediation. While it is easy to impart the underlying premises of mediation, particularly transformative mediation, it is difficult to assess how to do a good job of assuring learners have the necessary skills to be able to practice the model. Transformative mediation (TM) requires a set of skills that are essential to success in the model. TM is also a paradigm shift for most people as learning how to listen and support another person’s decision making and perspective is not natural to us culturally.
Recently, I enrolled in a University of Florida Blended Learning Course through Canvas that teaches how to design and develop a blended learning approach. The course teaches a blended approach using methods in online learning as well as face to face learning. This blend of learning I think can be exceptional for teaching transformative mediation as it can provide learning opportunities that can be taught asynchronously according to the learner’s own style as well as include a face to face component that provides an opportunity to assess their learning and provide challenges for future learning.
Below are my initial thoughts on the blended approach after my first lesson. It includes my vision for how a transformative mediation session may look like.
- A blended approach to mediation training would start with online learning of underlying principles and beliefs of transformative mediation, including the definition of conflict and what TM is.
- Online sessions can also include discussion forums and a place for online reflection that helps develop the understanding of the principles and practices.
- Online sessions would be followed up by face to face learning that would include observation of actual mediation, role play and skill building activities.
- After the final session, a regular one on one coaching session will help develop learners through a mentoring process that further enhances their learning.
As the course progresses, I will include more blog posts on what I think of the blended approach and my design for the course. I may also explore other courses I would like to design and deliver.