Week 2: Overview

Overview

In the past, teaching mainly took place in face-to-face environments with a relatively homogenous group of individuals. Now, you are likely to encounter a much more diverse learner audience than Malcolm Knowles, the well-known adult learning pioneer, studied to develop his andragogy theory. Many factors contribute to our increasing diversity and there are various perspectives on how best to respond. 

While the diversity of online learners requires ever more flexible and responsive teaching approaches, Knowles' adult learning principles are still helpful to consider. For example, most adult learners are still likely to expect clear information on what, why and how they are to learn, and be evaluated, and to be offered relevant, meaningful learning activities. However, increasing learner diversity challenges us to offer more varied assignment choices, communication options, and learning supports to help them participate successfully in online learning environments. 

You’ll need to balance the possibilities of available online learning technologies with the beliefs, expectations, and abilities of your diverse audience.

To do this, you will need to think about how your beliefs about teaching may affect how you approach teaching and learning. When we teach online, we have to adapt our teaching and learning activities to support learners in a rapidly changing learning environment, in the ways we monitor, interact and adapt our practice with each new group. 

During this week, you'll explore some ideas that can help you respond to the rapid changes in technological possibilities, the diverse expectations and needs of your online learners, and your own beliefs, knowledge and skills as an online facilitator.

The least important thing this week is becoming an expert on any learning theory, technology or teaching strategy. 

The most important thing is understanding the main IDEAS, and being able to USE them to inform your thinking and problem-solving when deciding how to facilitate a course, workshop or learning activity online.