Is nudge and nurture, facilitation?

The traditional view of a facilitator is someone who minds the process. Tradition divides the roles between a subject matter expert and facilitator. The facilitator ensures that the session goes smoothly, all items are covered and the goals of the interaction met. The goals themselves are owned and discussed by the subject matter experts.

This works OK for goals that are externally directed. Goals that are determined by what needs to be done as part of a group's work.

This does not work well, when it comes to learning. Because learning is an individual-centric activity. To accomplish - even the same end result, you may need to learn different things from what I need to learn. That is because our starting points are always different. Also how we do things, may be different.

Of course, someone can sit individually with all the learners and help each one decide, what is best for him or her to learn. But there is an easier and more direct way too.

The learner can be in the driving seat. To decide, what to learn and how to learn. Unfortunately, our education system has never provided for this luxury. One shoe size is supposed to fit all.

Today, as digital content becomes pervasive, learners have easy access, to all kinds of learning material. Sometimes too much, in fact. This does not make the the learner's job easier.

In fact, the urge to learn may take a beating because now the learner knows that whatever needs to be learnt, will be available whenever it is needed and help is just an internet click away.

So what does a facilitator do, to help the learner along?

How can the best of what technology has to offer, be put to effective use for the learner?

The answer lies in what we have discussed above.

One - the learner needs to own her learning. She may need help in figuring out what to learn and how best to go about it, but that does not diminish the ownership. 

Two - It helps if the available content is curated. Someone should be able to give effective suggestions on what digital content has worked well and what has not. So that a learner does not have to sift through a haystack to find a needle.

Three - Online interactions are needed to open up a two way street. Unless the learner can question and dialog with someone knowledgeable, as the learning is happening - questions and doubts will begin to queue up and make the learning harder and hard work.

If this is what a facilitator needs to do then the next question is, how does a facilitator do it?

Remember, facilitators are process loving animals. And there is no easy process for helping someone to stay in driver's seat. 

The answer perhaps lies in nudge and nurture.

What do you say?

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