Wednesday, 1 January 2014

RBL Challenge

from Winston Norohna 'Facilitator'
New Years Day is a good time as any to get this blog working again. In the years (yes, years!) since I last updated this blog, life has changed and at work my role has changed so much. Yes I am still involved in elearning along with facing, coping and dealing with unfamiliar technological and practical aspects. Feeling a little frustrated I'm reaching out to see if there is anyone else besides my colleagues experiencing this stuff.

My role is now that of a Resource Based Learning (RBL) Facilitator. No more open access IT area managing for me, territory which was so familiar I was very experienced and confident in my abilities and skills.

Now I am as I said one of a team of facilitators performing this recently created role and we are supporting each other as best as we can.

We are all finding the task challenging and although none of us are in any position to do more than make suggestions we are all grappling with a new way of working with our students. We are responsible for a number of curriculum groups whom we ‘facilitate’ for timetabled one hour sessions to develop study skills and encourage independent learning.

The thing is we are are all out of our comfort zone when it comes to RBL - we are not, I repeat not teachers but being a facilitator doesn’t make for a simple answer when answering the question ‘So what do you do?’

I know what I don’t do….

  • I don’t do lesson plans (or any planning)
  • I don’t do any marking
  • I don’t create resources (photocopying information and worksheets doesn’t count)

Yeah but what do you do?

I facilitate the use of technology and other library resources to support the development of study skills and independent learning.

A bit long winded but that is the nearest I can come to helping others understand my role.

Students who are only familiar with teachers, lecturers and tutors, screw their foreheads and say ‘Huh?’

Yes and I can’t blame them.

RBL is not like any other lesson or tutorial. It is still fairly new and different for learners as well as staff. I hope by means of this blog we can share and develop new ideas that will be of benefit to our students and help the staff get a better sense of how they can encourage learners to gain the skills they need to be independent and lifelong learners.

One of the main challenges we face is the use of ipads and other mobile technology, mainly because they are being shared between groups and the fact that staff are not more skilled in using this technology than the students in many instances. It is a very steep learning curve on many aspects.

I would love to hear from anyone else working in a similar role in education, particularly further education, whether or not you are involved in planning or creating resources. I would be grateful for any input.

Let us know what technology is being utilised and what other resources you are using? Can you recommend any apps suitable for adult learners and tell us how you use them in your sessions.

We would be very grateful for any ideas.

You can find me on Twitter @RBLworkerFE and if you use the hashtag #RBL then we can share our observations with others working in resource based learning.

I'm collecting useful and interesting articles on Flipboard in my magazine 'Resourced Based Learning' some of which may be featured in future posts.

Here's hoping...