The learning facilitator’s role: how is it changing?

Save the Date!

In a co-evolutionary search for the best in people, organizations and the world around us, we wish to convene an inquiry on Wednesday and Thursday, November 7 and 8, 2012, in CPsquare about

The Learning Facilitator’s Role: How is it changing?

Background:  From 2006 to 2011, we three facilitators with backgrounds in human services, public policy development, and higher education worked virtually to design, support, evaluate, and improve both short-term purposeful dialogues and blended learning communities in education. Because we appreciate each other’s practice strengths and wish to continue learning from each other, the three of us—Brenda Kaulback, Lisa Levinson, and Doris Reeves-Lipscomb — began an appreciative look-back at our work during the previous six years. The review, coupled with our enrollment in the Change MOOC led by Stephen Downes and George Siemens, made us wonder about the changing role of the learning facilitator.

Issues:  The incoming tide of online work in open networks such as MOOCs (massive, open, online courses) presents challenges and opportunities to the facilitator who supports online learning in communities. These new learning models exhibit a more individual approach with greater self-direction and personal networks and less focus on joint meaning-making and support than previous, more community-based models. This shift raises questions about the role of the facilitator, since these new models do not present the same focus on community building which is more central to the earlier approaches. In the dark hours of night, we have even asked ourselves:

Is the facilitator of online learning communities becoming a dinosaur?

Despite our sometimes gloomy nocturnal outlook, daylight brings a renewed interest to understand the changing role of the online learning facilitator better. We invite you to inquire with us on such questions as:

  1. Has your scope of work moved from cultivating walled gardens to supporting do-it-yourself landscapes?
  2. Are you spending less time on convergent activities which create a sense of belonging, a sharing of common interests, and forging of mutual norms and more time on divergent activities in which individuals control their own learning choices, build their own personal networks and land for short periods of time in ad hoc gatherings?
  3. Do you see these new developments as creating possibilities for your role or as putting you out of business?

We invite you* to join us in this asynchronous inquiry into the changing role of the online learning facilitator. Discussion will begin at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, November 7 and conclude at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, November 8.

* Everyone who is a member of CPsquare, has ever been a member, has participated in a workshop or has participated in a CPsquare event is invited.  You need to use your user-name and password on  To verify that you remember both and request a reminder at the beginning of the event, click here.  (Page has additional details, such as steps for getting reminders when the conversation gets going.)

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