FAVILLE  as Facilitators of Virtual Learning: a new standard in providing virtual learning experience?


Our project FAVILLE recognizes still significant gap in providing good quality e-learning and virtual learning experience. Despite of the high maturity, quality, and relevance of the course content, both the trainer and the participant could benefit from the cooperation with a facilitator. FAcilitator in the VIrtuaL LEarning refers to a relatively new figure in the learning world. Unlike the trainer or tutor, the facilitator does not have to be a subject area expert, he/she acts in the virtual class as a motivator, supporter - someone who facilitates the learning environment, team dynamics, communication and collaboration among the participants and with the trainer. In order to do that effectively, facilitator uses various tools, techniques and exercises, proactively identifies obstacles, searches and provides the opportunities for collaboration. 

FAVILLE started in October 2019 and will finish its path in 2 years, in September 2021. During this time the project consortium will deliver these key products: 

· Modular e-learning program for virtual learning facilitators

· A digital application that, in addition to describing individual facilitation methods and examples of their use, also offers an easy-to-use function to select appropriate methods according to the parameters (e.g.: profile, course subject, number of students in the learning group, type of problem, etc.)

· A framework for validating skills and competences for obtaining professional qualifications for those facilitators who have acquired their skills, knowledge and competences outside the formal learning process in non-formal and informal learning

Project consortium:

· ASTRA, Association for Innovation and Development, Slovakia (project coordinator)

· IDEC, Consulting, Training, High technology applications, Greece

· HT, Software house in Agritech and App development, Italy

· HOU, Hellenic Open University, Greece

· DIE, German Institute for Adult Education, Germany

· ENTRE, Non-governmental Association, Slovakia

· UAB, Universidade Aberta, Portugal

The preparation phase of the project has ended in February 2020. The Needs analysis is the main output delivered during this phase, and it is the foundation to build the next project products on. Each partner has conducted minimum 5 expert interviews aiming at the relevance of the role in e-learning, already existing available courses and materials, proposals for the structure and content of the training and other points. The results vary among the countries, but there are also common features: the role of the facilitator is recognized with its relevance and needed in e-learning, even though the formal profile does not exist in any partner country. It is also not performed as a full-time job, independent role but is has been experienced as a part of another position or a part time job. Regarding the already existing learning materials, there are some available as internal trainings in Distance Universities (GR, PT, DE) or as a commercial training (DE, IT) or such trainings are not available at all (SK). 

The results of the Needs Analysis clearly prove the need of the project and the products it should deliver. What is your experience and opinion? Are there any trainings in your country? Have you experienced any online training enriched with the role of facilitator?

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