|Sumár projektu:||FAVILLE project aims to intervene in a constantly growing e-learning and virtual learning industry.
Despite the increasing amount of offer of virtual courses– even free of charge – good quality standards are not often met. This inverse proportion between offer and quality is due to many factors, but the key to change it is in the hands of instructors and, even more, of facilitators.
The term virtual learning facilitator – which may be used interchangeably with such terms as e-tutor, online tutor, online instructor, virtual facilitator and so on – refers to a relatively new figure in the teaching world - distinguished by the teacher - who facilitates learning in an online/ virtual training programme. In fact, a facilitator might not be a subject area expert like a teacher or trainer, and it is mainly seen as a person who engage / motivates / support learners in their learning paths, facilitates their communication and collaboration, create opportunities for teamworking and ensures that all learners are engaged in the learning activity, through motivation techniques.
His/her role is to motivate and engage learners in different types of activities, create and manage group dynamics, provide opportunities for collaboration, identify obstacles that impede learning and suggest solutions. Virtual learning facilitators need to judge when to intervene and when to alter their approach in relation to a group’s functioning in an effort to promote independent thought, discussion and knowledge construction, keeping in mind also the specificities of working with participants that are connected virtually and may be very diverse in terms of location, language skills and cultural backgrounds. Besides, in those cases in which they also act as tutors and instructors, a general knowledge of the subject matter is imperative. Thus, facilitators have a fundamental role and affect the learning experience consistently. Furthermore, also teachers and instructors are often required to act as facilitators.
The skills and competences required by the facilitation activity are the most diverse and complex, and nevertheless often overlooked. It is no coincidence if many e-learning and virtual learning facilitators lack the required abilities to properly fulfill their role, thus undermining a potentially better learning experience.
Aware of that, the project aims to enhance the quality standards of facilitating in virtual learning environments and to provide to the facilitators of virtual learning, the skills and competences that they need to develop or improve their techniques.
The aim of the project will be achieved by creating a specific training programme for virtual learning facilitators, complemented by the development of a validation of a skill-framework, all to be pilot-tested once ready. Furthermore, keeping in mind the international nature of these virtual learning platforms, it should be noted that intercultural teams will be included in the training programme and multiplier events, as well as a three-day learning activity, will be organized, in order to foster an international collaboration that may help identify both the different conditions and needs in each country involved.
The primary target group of the project are staff in adult learning organisations with diverse educational and professional backgrounds, engaged with the tasks of facilitating adult virtual learning programmes, in diverse virtual learning environments.
The project final beneficiaries will be adult learners that will benefit from increased competences of facilitators. As mentioned above, virtual learning facilitators will be trained to use a set of teaching and learning tools, diverse motivation techniques and methods to engage and include learners, especially low qualified adults and adults with low participation rates in learning programmes. Game based learning techniques are expected to provide motivation to adult learners to join and complete virtual learning activities.
The project is expected to have a large impact on the partners organisations and on many direct target groups. Practitioners / virtual learning facilitators will improve skills and competences in delivering training on virtual learning environments. Learners will benefit from improved facilitation techniques, they will be motivated and engaged and able to reach their full learning potential.