Designing a course in online mediation is a daunting task. There is much to think of and plan. In the second week of “Becoming a Blended Learning Designer“, I had to think carefully about how to engage students of a mediation blended course.
It is traditionally thought that the skills of mediation are taught partially as concepts, but more importantly by observation and practice. This makes a blended approach a challenge. How does one engage students so they are getting the most out of the course. There will be those who want to read and take the quiz, breezing through the initial learning with no thought of honing the skills. These are the students to watch out for.
The skills of transformative mediation in particular require a honing that experienced mediators continue to do even after years of mediation. I myself have been mediating for more than twenty years and am constantly updating and refining my practice. So, how, in one online course are these values communicated to learners?
My thoughts are that this can be accomplished by making discussion part of the lesson. That is, requiring a regular check in and reading of other students. One process I have not seen in classes is an instructor summary of discussion comments. I think that if the discussion is facilitated and then a review posted, it might provide a method for those students who are quick learners and prone to skipping past comments, an opportunity to engage and gain insights. I will continue to think about methods and plans for making student interactive engagement meaningful to the students and instructors.
How do we assess students learning mediation in a blended environment. How do we assure that the assessment we are doing will work? These are key questions in the third unit of the course.
My thoughts are that blended learning can provide an improvement in learning key concepts because in an online format one can take time to digest the concepts and quizzes and assignments can support learning more effectively than a face to face training session.
That having been said instructors must keep in mind the key skills and assure that the face to face role play is effective and that the core skills have been learned. This can be assessed through observation and discussion. There may also be space to provide one on one coaching for students to help them perform in a competeThe finnt manner.
The delivery of content to students learning mediation is also important. What balance of assignment to quiz will be necessary as well as the length and nature of the lectures. This is the emphasis of the fourth course week.
In my opinion, exercises we have done that lead to a discussion with a flip chart or newsprint can be done as a writing assignment. The discussion forum can take the place of the debrief after the exercise. I think this may be more effective than the face to face for some students because they will have the chance to reflect. It will be important, though, to prepare a handout or slide that illustrates the key learning points in case the online discussion does not fulfill the expectations.
The final week of the Blended Learning course covers assuring that your class is fully designed and ready to present to students. How does one know that the design and content are right?
It is so important in everyone one does to assure that you have colleagues and constituents review the course and provide feedback. It should be someone you trust to let you know honestly what they think. Another key in this process is also to let your attachment to the design go. Don’t get so attached that you no longer are able to make the changes others recommend.
And, one iteration is never enough. Design innovation applies to blended learning as well. In design innovation prototypes are constantly being updated, revised and changed in order to make the best final product.
Now it time to go forth and create!!!
This blog post was posted as part of a course in blended learning taught at Canvas.net.