Trainers, teachers or group leaders can lay a good foundation
for making the Flip experience exciting, engaging and
productive for all members.
Here are a few ideas to make make your experience more efficient and to encourage productive discussions and increased learning:
- Set aside specific times to read and respond to comments and questions. This will allow for more thoughtful, productive feedback with your responses and will provide a designated time for evaluating how the content is being received.
- Set deadlines for postings. In an effort to keep the discussions on track, attach deadlines for initial posts and follow-ups so that all participants are moving through the content at roughly the same speed in the same direction
- Develop FAQ’s (frequently asked questions) that are updated throughout as you receive individual questions that you believe are relevant to current and future participants.
- Discourage members from emailing you when they can post questions to the entire team. Encourage your participants to share their knowledge. Many experts agree that peer to peer discussion is the place where some of the most important learning can happen. As facilitators, we have to find ways to support participants to drive this type learning.
- Determine how or if you will evaluate participation and communicate this to participants. Participants need to know how their contributions will be assessed in order to make effective responses; otherwise, they may be unsure of what is expected of them – leading to frustration and and unproductive learning experience. Decide how important the discussions are to accomplishing your objectives. Be aware that if participation is not monitored or evaluated, some members may elect to be silent members. Determine guidelines for participation. (Do they need to post a certain number of times? How often? What are your specific criteria for evaluation?)
- Encourage participants to comment if they don’t understand the material or the content. Comments can be shared with the entire salon or shared with just selected members.
- Engage your members by asking good questions to get conversations started. Use open ended questions that challenge thinking and promote healthy discussions.
- Encourage interaction and connection among members, Participants may learn more about their peers than they would in a typical classroom setting , thus leading to good connections and community building.
- Take on the role of the participant. Aside being the leader, content provider and the information source, you are also a participant in the community. However, you need to be careful about the level of posting that you do yourself. Being an overly active facilitator can sometimes suppress the participation of the active members.
- Model the types of communications and interactions that you want. Give some examples of postings that members might use. Examples of requests for clarification, questions about content or additional information added to increase understanding.
- Structure discussions in advance and connect them with your objectives. Even though you will want to be open and allow for unsolicited discussion among your members, you may at times want to structure the discussions by creating sequenced threads centered around the content objective, making it clear to members what the relationship of the discussion is to those outcomes.
- Redirect abundant side conversations and extraneous posts. Although engaging conversations at times contain a bit of socializing, you may find that a social strain gets out of control and interferes with productive conversation. When this occurs, and the conversations are detracting from the learning, you may want to redirect the team (either as a group or individually) to caution an abundance of non-related post. Use caution in your approach to avoid causing members to feel uncomfortable about posting .