Peer facilitation handbook
Tables of Contents
This handbook provides information and guidelines about the peer facilitation component of this course. Please review the contents of this handbook early in week 1 so you are clear on the expectations of the task. Please also use this handbook as a reference
throughout the course, referring back to it as needed.
What is peer facilitation?
A core component of this course is peer facilitation, an experiential learning strategy where learners take on the role of facilitating or co-facilitating the learning of their peers. Peer facilitation "is focused on learning through supporting the learning of other students" (Ashwin, 2008, p. 5).
Why peer facilitation?
Research suggests that peer facilitation can have a positive impact on learning for both the facilitator and the facilitated learners, potentially increasing engagement and participation and improving intrinsic motivation (Oh et al, 2018, p. 494). In this course, peer facilitation takes on another layer, offering the opportunity for you to learn experimentally and develop, practice, and reflect on your facilitation in a safe and low-stakes environment. The purpose of the peer facilitation is to provide you with an opportunity to put into practice the skills and knowledge that you are learning in the course through hands-on facilitation practice. You will further develop your facilitation skills through observing your peers facilitate and through our weekly feedback discussions.
What does FLO peer facilitation look like?Each FLO participant will co-facilitate a "mini-session" between weeks 2-5. Depending on how many participants there are in the course, you will be in a facilitation team of 2-4 colleagues. Peer facilitation will take up the first half of each week (Monday – Thursday). Peer facilitation teams will facilitate a pre-designed learning activity from Monday to Thursday. In the second half of the week, we focus our attention on reflection and feedback.
Peer facilitation schedule
The schedule of which teams are facilitating in which week, and who is on each team, can be found here: Peer facilitation schedule. Course facilitators will populate the Peer facilitation schedule after everyone has participated in the Facilitation sign-up sheet. Please add yourself to a team via this sign-up sheet as one of your first tasks in week 1 of FLO.
Peer facilitation will take place in teams in weeks 2-5 of this course. Each week will follow the same cycle:
- Monday-Thursday: Peer facilitation teams will facilitate the learning activities for the week.
- Friday-Sunday: All participants will participate in reflection and feedback activities on the team facilitation and learning activities.
Roles in the peer-facilitation experience
The role of the peer facilitator is to facilitate a pre-designed learning activity for peers. This means that you don't need to choose what participants will do or what tools they will use. These decisions have already been made at the design stage. The
topic of week 1 is all about what good facilitation looks like, so we dive into this much deeper there, but generally speaking, the role of the facilitator is to do what is needed to support learners in achieving the learning outcomes for each week.
This may mean guiding, encouraging, and supporting them in their efforts. Facilitating can also mean redirecting when things go off track. Facilitators do these tasks through a combination of communication channels, such as announcement posts, videos,
phone calls, emails, etc. Facilitators also often take on a learning role themselves, and may participate in learning activities alongside participants.
For the weeks that you are not facilitating, you will be a participant, or learner. Your role of participant is KEY! During this time, you are asked to actively participate as a learner. This includes completing all readings and other learning activities on time according to the course schedule. Please try to participate equally in all sessions. This ensures all facilitators have an equal opportunity to practice their skills. You are also asked to provide timely and constructive feedback to peer facilitators in the second half of the week through the feedback discussions. These sessions are not just for the benefit of facilitators, but are also valuable opportunities for everyone to learn through reflection and discussion of what has been observed throughout the week.
The role of the course facilitators is to provide high-level facilitation and support to all participants, including peer facilitators. Our support extends both prior to as well as during your peer facilitation. We are here to support you to stay on track, address questions and concerns you may have, and to cheer you on! Please connect with course facilitators through the course Q&A forum or directly by email if you prefer.
Peer facilitation plan
Before your facilitation weekWe suggest starting to prepare for your peer facilitation mid-week of the week before your facilitation week. For example, if you are co-facilitating in week 4, you should start getting ready mid-week in week 3. Remember, you do not have to design any of the learning activities. Your role is to facilitate the activities that have already been designed.
Here are some ideas for preparing for your facilitation week:
- Connect with your team-mates either via the Peer facilitation planning forum, email using Quickmail, or whatever method of communication you prefer. You can also use the course Collaborate Room for virtual face-to-face meetings.
- Review this Peer facilitation handbook.
- Support your team in familiarizing yourselves with the learning activities for the week, including the readings in the “Explore resources” activities.
- Post questions or concerns in the Open forum or email course facilitators directly using Quickmail, if you prefer.
- You may find these questions helpful to discuss with your team as a starting place for your preparations:
- What are we hoping to get out of our facilitation?
- What do we hope participants will get out of our facilitation? How do we hope they will feel at the end of the week?
- What key facilitation skills do we want to practice?
- What specific tasks do we have to do, or will we do? (e.g. weekly kick-off posts, checking in, summarizing, etc.)
- How can we divide the work fairly between us?
- How will we stay in touch during our facilitation week? What agreements can we come to about how often and how quickly we will be touch?
- What kinds of conflicts, frustrations, miscommunications, etc. can occur between co-facilitators, and how can we manage these together?
- What do we each need from our co-facilitators in order to make this a successful experience?
During your facilitation week
During your facilitation week, you will be facilitating the learning activities from Monday to Thursday. You are expected to:
- Post a kick-off post in the forum called Announcements (Peer facilitators). Your kick-off post can include video, images, or text. It should provide a brief introduction to the week and clearly outline what participants are going to be doing this week. Try to avoid repeating too much of the information that is already available on the course site; instead, link to the relevant pages with the relevant information (use hyperlinked text, rather than pasting full URLs please). This message should go out first thing on Monday morning.
- Facilitate learners in completing the learning activities for the week, for example, by checking in individually with learners, e.g. via an individual email or a phone call, or by posting (judiciously) in the Announcements (Peer facilitators) forum with reminders. Note that your facilitation includes the learning journals, which participants should complete by the end of the day on Thursday.
- Engage in supportive dialogue with participants in their learning activities, for example by identifying common and divergent themes, summarizing key points, replying to posts, commenting on learning journal entries, etc.
- Post wrap-up post in the Announcements (Peer facilitators) forum that closes the learning activities for the week, summarizing the learning activities and highlighting key learning, insights, etc. This message can include video, images, or text and should go out Thursday afternoon/evening.
- All peer facilitators: Peer facilitators will also complete a learning journal entry during their facilitation week, writing from the facilitator's perspective. This means your journal entry can include examples from your week's experience as a peer facilitator. Peer facilitators will give feedback to each other's journal entries as well as participants' entries.
- Week 3 facilitators: One of the learning activities for this week includes a debate where each FLO participant takes on an assigned role. These roles should be equally distributed (as much as possible), for example, if there are eight participants and four roles, there will be two participants per role. Please email the FLO course facilitators with your list of who you are assigning to each role. This should be done by the Sunday before your facilitation week. FLO facilitators will update the activity with the names you provide. See Activity 3: Debate for more information.
- Week 5 facilitators: One of the learning activities for this week includes pairs working together to provide feedback to each other. The activity is called Activity 2: My online teaching philosophy. For this activity, you will a) pair participants, and b) create one discussion thread
in the forum called Activity 2: My online teaching philosophy for each pair. This should be done by the Sunday before your facilitation week.
After your facilitation week
Between Friday and Sunday, all participants will participate in
reflection and feedback activities on the team facilitation and learning
activities. Participants will share their feedback on the facilitation that
they participated in/observed. Specific prompts are included. For
facilitation teams, this part of the week is about practicing reflection and
receiving feedback. You will share your own insights and ah-ha! moments and