Carl Rogers described teaching as ‘unimportant and vastly overvalued’, he took issue with the teacher as expert, superior, authority figure model that our education system is built on, where teachers pour knowledge into the heads of their students. Teaching doesn’t automatically equal learning.
In work-based learning it’s important to remember that an online course, or the organisation’s LMS, does not automatically equal learning.
Rogers was passionate about the facilitation of learning, a process through which learners unleash their sense of inquiry and their learning follows their interests. This resonates with me as the best work-based learning is about addressing what matters to the learner, via resources and meaningful conversations. This includes the tutor as a resource.
Rogers identified a number of qualities in successful learning facilitators. When I reflect on my best online learning experiences, the tutors always demonstrated the very same qualities:
1. They are genuine – we can all spot fake interest – keep it real
2. They care about their learners and they make them feel accepted
3. They trust their learners
4. They are empathetic
In fact the list of qualities above is a good fit with our Empathy-Care-Action model which can be used to support learners.
I’ll never forget the discussion board that was a feature of my MSc in Digital Education at Edinburgh University. It was on fire!!! I had never experienced anything like it. It was so compelling that it became my first click of the day! What made it so special was the way the tutors modelled the online behaviours they wanted in the group. They also encouraged us to ‘unleash our sense of inquiry.’ Their expertise came through in their ability to untangle some of the difficulties we encountered with more complex texts, ideas and tools and could point us in the direction of another useful resource to deepen our understanding.
Now that type of learning sets you free.