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All My Rowdy Friends are Here with Me Tonight: Winning the Online Learning Game Curt Bonk Indiana University and Online Learning Goes Synchronous (see Tom Barron, ASTD, Learning Circuits, Jan 2000)

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all my rowdy friends are here with me tonight winning the online learning game
All My Rowdy Friends are Here with Me Tonight: Winning the Online Learning Game

Curt Bonk

Indiana University and

online learning goes synchronous see tom barron astd learning circuits jan 2000
Online Learning Goes Synchronous(see Tom Barron, ASTD, Learning Circuits, Jan 2000)

“Just when you were getting used to the idea of Web-based training (WBT), with its easy content distribution, electronic bulletin boards, and self-paced learning model, the Web’s technological juggernaut has thrown the workplace learning field a new curve: synchronicity.”


News Flash: “Instant Messenger (IM) is a huge corporate tool, yet rarely mentioned in corporate productivity or learning plans.”TechLearn TRENDS, Feb. 6, 2002

  • Jupiter Media Metrix:
    • 8.8 million AOL IM users at work
    • 4.8 million MSN users at work
    • 3.4 million Yahoo! Messenger users at work
    • Doubled from 2.3 billion minutes in Sept. 2000 to 4.9 billion minutes in Sept. 2002.
  • It can connect learners to each other and provide easier access to the instructor (the MASIE Center).
sounds great right well online this can lead to rowdy students because
Sounds great…right?Well online this can lead to rowdy students, because…
  • Too long a time period.
  • Too many people to coordinate.
  • Boring tasks.
  • Unclear tasks.
  • In wrong class.

What to do???

dealing with difficult learners
Dealing with Difficult Learners
  • Situation: A joke is made early in the synchronous discussion and a student keeps referring back to it even though it no longer applies.
  • Situation: Guest expert has trouble accessing the system and, in the meantime, students are making fun of him/her.
  • Situation: Guest expert or instructor is located in one site and students are all located at another. Students begin to chatter about irrelevant things.
dealing with difficult learners barbazette feb 2002
Dealing with Difficult Learners (Barbazette, Feb 2002)
  • Situation: A couple of the more experienced computer users are way ahead of the directions you are giving and are chatting about something else. Then they throw in advice for other learners that is more sarcastic than helpful. How might you have prevented this? How might you deal with it?
dealing with difficult learners barbazette feb 20029
Dealing with Difficult Learners (Barbazette, Feb 2002)
  • Situation: You are conducting online customer service training for 15 new associates but two veterans are in the course as a refresher. One of these veterans is outspoken about the boring and irrelevant aspects of your course material during a synchronous chat. What would you do?
dealing with difficult learners barbazette feb 200210
Dealing with Difficult Learners (Barbazette, Feb 2002)
  • Confront known disruptive participants and ask for help before the event
  • Know who question askers are and ask for their help before they interrupt
  • Ask direct questions of talkers and nonparticipants
  • Ask each person to make a summary of the learning pts
  • Acknowledge various pts of view.
dealing with difficult learners barbazette feb 200211
Dealing with Difficult Learners (Barbazette, Feb 2002)

Questions to Guide Learner Behavior:

  • …that’s an interesting question, how have you handled similar situations?
  • …you have had a lot of knowledge management experiences, what would you suggest?
  • …how do others of you view this issue?
online personality clashes lesley darling may 2000 learning circuits
Online Personality ClashesLesley Darling, May 2000, Learning Circuits
  • Use personnel management hat to solve clashes of personalities
  • At the same time, use conflict as a catalyst for interaction
  • Coach on how to disagree online
  • Foster sharing of info instead of competition
reducing online rowdiness
Reducing Online Rowdiness
  • Ask yourself, why are they off task? Look at the pedagogy?
  • Do they value the assignment?
  • Are tasks relevant, challenging, & current?
  • Are ideas valued and woven into the discussion?
  • Are you organized?
  • Are students in the right class or level?
what to do
What to do?
  • Send out or post rules and procedures
  • Point to those on task as role models
  • Ask what interests them
  • Have an agenda or structure
  • Lead to peak moments
  • Break into small teams with goals
  • Focus participants!!!
what else to do clive sheperd jan 2002
What else to do?Clive Sheperd, Jan 2002
  • Model behavior yourself
  • Point to problems in the past (sample archives)
  • Summarize key pts that have been made
  • Gently nudge the discussion back on task
  • Quick and tactful response to the one leading the group off task
  • Establish rules for communication & behavior
  • Terminate participation or ask to leave
    • Have a private discussion or chat
how to engage students jennifer hoffman online learning conference 2001 oct
How to Engage Students Jennifer Hoffman, Online Learning Conference (2001, Oct.)
  • Have tech checks
  • Have prework to share
  • Teach the environment and tools
  • Get them to participate in events
  • Adapt a constructivist framework
  • Ask them to be flexible, patient, active, reflective
keep it human jennifer hoffman learning circuits jan 2000 judith smith august 2001
Keep it Human Jennifer Hoffman, Learning Circuits; Jan. 2000.; Judith Smith, August, 2001)
  • Keep the learning process social
  • Design breaks
  • Call on by first names
  • Ask about interests
  • Include anecdotes and examples
  • Provide consistent feedback
  • Allow or foster learning communities
if can t control then what to do
If can’t control, then what to do?
  • Join up
  • Give up
  • Commit suicide
  • Find a new job
  • Protest e-learning
a juggler karen frankola learning circuits august 2001
A Juggler???(Karen Frankola, Learning Circuits, August, 2001)
  • “Really must walk and chew gum at same time.”
  • Smooth, energetic delivery while advancing slides, checking virtual hands raised, and answering notes.
  • Must be highly focused and interactive.
ideal environment of synchronous trainer jennifer hoffman online learning conference 2001 oct
Ideal Environment of Synchronous Trainer Jennifer Hoffman, Online Learning Conference (2001, Oct.)
  • A private, soundproof room.
  • High-speed connection; telephone; powerful computer; additional computer; tech support phone #
  • Studio microphone and speakers
  • A “Do Not Disturb” sign
  • Near restroom; pitcher of water
tech check advice jennifer hoffman insync training http www insynctraining com pages tip tech html
Tech Check AdviceJennifer Hoffman, Insync Training

Turn initial tech check into a learning experience

  • Technical warm-up: audio & software working?
  • Tools Overview: intro the learning environment (sound check if microphones work)
  • Ground Rules: Highlight expectations of behavior and interactions
  • Learning Environment: Discuss tips to max learning
  • Programs Detail: Overview e-learning, lrng tech blend.
Characteristics of Successful Synchronous Trainer: Voice TipsJennifer Hoffman, Online Learning Conference (2001, Oct.)
  • Welcome to the class and explain goals.
  • Be ready for down time and ad-libs or have exercises in the queue.
  • Check feedback monitors, if applicable.
  • Ask for constant feedback.
  • Have relevant and compact info, not frivolous stuff.
  • Humor, hand gestures, change tone, etc.
more considerations the event jennifer hoffman astd learning circuits 2001 march
More Considerations: The Event Jennifer Hoffman, ASTD, Learning Circuits, (2001, March)
  • Log on early; students come 15 minutes early.
  • Check to see if students brought needed items
  • Perhaps call or send notes to missing students
  • Vary your instructional strategies; maximize interactivity
  • Make it visual—color, sound, animation
  • Design 10-minute breaks every 90 minutes
tips for the online event karen frankola learning circuits august 2001
Tips for the Online Event(Karen Frankola, Learning Circuits, August, 2001)
  • Show up organized; plan till tired of planning.
  • Check if following the material.
  • Be receptive to criticism.
  • Smooth transitions.
  • Be open-minded to new techniques.
  • Encourage hands-on practice (e.g., lab task).
  • Focus with graphics & color; key phrases.
  • Be upbeat, conversational, enthusiastic.

Key Factors in Sync DeliveryLesley Darling, Learning Circuits, May 2000Jennifer Hoffman, Insync Training, Learning Circuits, February 2000

  • Mute phone, raise hands, mail resources and materials ahead of time
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Send emails to nonparticipating students
  • Encourage students to answer each other’s q’s
  • Feel free to go back and add to answers
  • Be aware of needed time commitments
key factors in online teaching lesley darling learning circuits may 2000
Key Factors in Online TeachingLesley Darling, Learning Circuits, May 2000


  • Reply to q’s broadly so many can benefit.
  • Limit “hotdogging” by not commenting on student work that does not address the assignment.
  • Respond to student questions promptly and in some depth.
  • Post answers at a Web site.
survival tips jennifer hoffman online learning conference 2001 oct
Survival TipsJennifer Hoffman, Online Learning Conference (2001, Oct.)
  • Prepare a class roster
  • Start promptly (and end when done)
  • Welcome to the session/class; explain goals; ask for feedback on goals.
  • Instruct on methods of communication—hand raising, chat, whiteboard, voice, email, etc.
  • Provide phone number for emergencies
survival tips jennifer hoffman online learning conference 2001 oct37
Survival Tips Jennifer Hoffman, Online Learning Conference (2001, Oct.)
  • Provide a quick tour and showcase special features
  • Finish thoughts b4 responding to chat Q’s
  • Be ready for delays with planned ad-lib stuff
  • Don’t talk while slides are changing.
  • Skip slides if you want to.
  • Load application sharing apps ahead of time.
online facilitation jennifer hoffman astd learning circuits 2000 jan
Online FacilitationJennifer Hoffman, ASTD, Learning Circuits, (2000, Jan)
  • Make it a collaborative event wherein participants view each other as resources
  • Set up classrooms or alternative chats wherein participants coach each other
  • Foster student idea generation/construction.
  • Incorporate adult learning principles.
  • Prompt interaction every 3-5 minutes
  • Have participants log questions in chat room and respond to all
tips for teaching synchronously jennifer hoffman online learning conference 2001 oct
Tips for Teaching SynchronouslyJennifer Hoffman, Online Learning Conference (2001, Oct.)
  • Plan for technology gaps (dead air)
  • Have fun and relax (go with the flow, embrace the experience)
  • Plan for recovery period or downtime after training
Role of Synchronous FacilitatorGilly Salmon (1999) E-Moderating: The Key to Teaching and Learning Online, Kogan Page
  • Focus conference at beginning.
  • Keep conference on track and summarize it.
  • Achieve full participation—everyone takes a turn.
  • Follow up with an action plan via email or asynchronous tool.
social recommendations berge 1995 the role of the online instructor facilitator
Social Recommendations(Berge, 1995, The role of the online instructor/facilitator)
  • Use introductions
  • Be accepting of lurkers
  • Do not ignore bad discussant behavior—privately request change
  • Watch for use of humor and sarcasm
  • Praise behavior you seek
  • Guard against fear or public ridicule
information analysis techniques
Information Analysis Techniques
  • Pros and Cons
  • Force Field Analysis
  • Combine async case study with sync discuss
  • Simulations
  • Graphic Organizers: Venn Diagram, Timeline, or Flowchart in Whiteboard
reflection writing techniques
Reflection & Writing Techniques
  • Nutshell, Abstract, Summing Up
  • K-W-L, K-W-H-L
  • Muddiest Pt Papers, Minute Papers
  • PMI (Plus, Minus, Interesting)
  • Wet Ink, Diaries, Freewriting
  • Forced Wrap Arounds, Tell Tall Tales
  • Starter-Wrapper + Guest Chat
interactive questioning techniques
Interactive Questioning Techniques
  • Swami Questions
  • Idea Spurring Questions
  • Peer Questioning
  • Think Sheet Questions or Reactions
  • 20 Questions, Working Backward, Pruning the Tree
information gathering techniques
Information Gathering Techniques
  • Quick Polling, Voting, Ranking
  • What-If Brainstorms
  • Nominal Group Process
  • Online Surveys
  • David Letterman Top Ten
  • Delphi Technique—release poll results when want to
synchronous chats
Synchronous Chats
  • Webinar, Webcast
  • Guest speaker moderated Q&A forum
  • Guest expert open chats
  • Peer Q&A and Dialogue
  • Team activities or meetings
  • Instructor meetings, private talk, admin help
  • Quick Polls/Quizzes, Voting Ranking, Surveys
  • Brainstorming ideas, What-Ifs, Quick reflections
  • Graphic Organizers in Whiteboard (e.g., Venn)
  • Twenty Questions, Pruning the tree
electronic guests mentoring
Electronic Guests & Mentoring
  • Find article or topic that is controversial
  • Invite person associated with that article (perhaps based on student suggestions)
  • Hold real time chat
  • Pose questions
  • Discuss and debrief (i.e., did anyone change their minds?)

(Alternatives: Email Interviews with experts;

Assignments with expert reviews)

Self-Testing and Self-Assessments(Giving Exams in the Chat Room!, Janet Marta, NW Missouri State Univ, Syllabus, January 2002)
  • Post times when will be available for 30 minute slots, first come, first serve.
  • Give 10-12 big theoretical questions to study for.
  • Tell can skip one.
  • Assessment will be a dialogue.
  • Get them there 1-2 minutes early.
  • Have hit enter every 2-3 sentences.
  • Ask q’s, redirect, push for clarity, etc.
  • Covers about 3 questions in 30 minutes.
electronic seance
Electronic Seance
  • Students read books from famous dead people
  • Convene when dark in synchronous discussion
  • Present present day problem for them to solve
  • Participate from within those characters (e.g., read direct quotes from books or articles)
  • Invite expert guests from other campuses
  • Keep chat open for set time period
  • Debrief
role play
Role Play

A. Role Play Personalities

  • List possible roles or personalities (e.g., coach, optimist, devil’s advocate, etc.)
  • Sign up for different role every week (or 5-6 key roles)
  • Reassign roles if someone drops class
  • Perform within roles—refer to different personalities

B. Assume Persona of Scholar

    • Enroll famous people in your course
    • Students assume voice of that person for one or more sessions
    • Enter debate topic or Respond to debate topic
    • Respond to rdg reflections of others or react to own
role play six hats from de bono 985 adopted for online learning by karen belfer 2001 ed media
Role Play: Six Hats.(from De Bono, `985; adopted for online learning by Karen Belfer, 2001, Ed Media)
  • White Hat: Data, facts, figures, info (neutral)
  • Red Hat: Feelings, emotions, intuition, rage…
  • Yellow Hat: Positive, sunshine, optimistic
  • Black Hat: Logical, negative, judgmental, gloomy
  • Green Hat: New ideas, creativity, growth
  • Blue Hat: Controls thinking process & organization

Note: technique used in a business info systems class where discussion got too predictable!

collaboration group techniques
Collaboration & Group Techniques
  • Ice Breakers
  • Web Explorations and Sharing/Rating
  • Fishbowl Variations (e.g., by geography)
  • Numbered Heads Together
  • Turn to Your Partner and Share
  • Role Play, Debates, and Mock Trials
  • Buzz Groups, Phillips 66
thiagi like ice breakers
Thiagi-Like Ice Breakers

1. 99 Seconds of Fame: In an online synchronous chat, give each student 99 seconds to present themselves and field questions.

2. Chat Room Buds: Create a discussion prompt in one of “X’ number of chat rooms. Introduce yourself in the chat room that interests you.

thiagi like ice breakers66
Thiagi-Like Ice Breakers

3. KNOWU Rooms:

  • Create discussion forums or chat room topics for people with diff experiences (e.g., soccer parent, runner, pet lovers, like music, outdoor person). Find those with similar interests.
  • Complete eval form where list people in class and interests. Most names wins.

4. Public Commitments:

Have students share how they will fit the coursework into their busy schedules.

collaborative sync training jennifer salopek feb 2002 e learning
Collaborative Sync TrainingJennifer Salopek, Feb 2002, e-learning

When 2 or more instructors work together in an synchronous training event, “It’s a show, an event”…like “the interplay among the commentators in Monday Night Football.”