sábado, 3 de abril de 2010

One Question Interview (1QI)

I decided to do the 1QI regarding the theme "Cooperative Freedom" to a colleague of mine, Diana Gonçalves.

Diana is a Pedagogical Coordinator and Instructional Designer of online courses directed to adults. One can consider she is not an expert on cooperative freedom (and correctly), but she is a professional that faces the challenges of the characteristics of online students in her daily work. When designing online courses, assuring the courses follow-up (that includes monitoring students and tutors) and evaluating courses, she faces the challenges described on the theory of cooperative freedom. Thus, I asked someone that has “the field” experience to reflect on her daily work regarding the theory of cooperative freedom, and tell us two strategies she came up with in a certain context to answer online students needs.

Based on the theory of cooperative freedom and the six facets of flexibility presented through the hexagon of cooperative freedom, please identify two difficult situations and its respective resolution strategies, that you at some moment found as an Instructional Designer/Pedagogical Coordinator of online courses directed to adults.

The Theory of Freedom Cooperative places the learner in a central position and gives him freedom of choice in the various components that involve the study / training. It is an ambitious theory both for those who design and monitor the courses and for the trainees themselves. For the trainees the challenge is enormous, for they are accountable for their path and at the same time involved in the pathway of group they are inserted in. For those who design and monitor online learning courses this "freedom" can be difficult to manage. We can work hard towards offering various "possibilities" to trainees, but these, sometimes, and this way, get harder orientation work, choosing from a wide range of choices, and at this point we, instructional designers, have even more demanding work, guiding paths that can be very distinct.

From my experience with online courses follow-up, I remember, for instance, being repeatedly confronted with the same questions from the trainees, who had the freedom to request the clarifications needed when it would be more appropriate for them (freedom of time and freedom of pace). To avoid repeating the same explanations systematically, and also in order to foster the relationship between learners (cooperative work), I decided to start asking the trainees who were already clarified about the subject/question, to support the colleague that was now in the same situation with the same questions. Thus, trainees are not only involved in training, but they also feel valued and empowered by being able to help in the resolution of a situation that is now familiar to them and to witch they already found resolution strategies.

The cooperative work challenge also reminds me of situations where I had to monitor discussion forums with relatively small groups (consequence of free cooperation and freedom of pace and freedom of time) and where only one or two trainees actively participated. These are challenging situations for tutors and coordinators, who feel the weight of responsibility to give back and encourage debates and cooperation. For these situations it is necessary to have different strategies prepared in advance, in order not to discourage those who are actively participating. These strategies include, for instance, having different and various material prepared, such as case studies, helpful links, supporting documentation, among others. For this matter, I subscribe the expression “cooperation should be voluntary, but also attractive, appealing, and alluring”, which means that we are accountable to ensure the interest and will for the trainees to cooperate.

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