How to become and online facilitator


This course is an adaptation of the Open University course ‘How to become an online facilitator’ and is aimed at academic and academic related support staff in Myanmar, who are interested in, or have the opportunity to support students learning online at the Higher Education level.

This course will introduce you to the skills required of facilitators on online courses and, in particular, how to support learners online. There are many ways to support online learning using social media and other communication tools. This course focuses on the facilitator role when supporting students on an online learning platform. Examples of well known online learning platforms are MOODLE, Open Edx and Blackboard.

By the end of this course, you will have gained an understanding of the skills required to be an effective online learning facilitator and will have knowledge of range of techniques that can be used to successfully engage students in online learning activities.

What is a facilitator?

An online facilitator is an experienced person who supports learners during online courses. A facilitator will encourage conversation, ensuring that all learners are able to contribute and communicate in a positive and collaborative way.

Although online courses can attract a large number of learners, many don’t engage with other learners in discussion areas and forums. Online facilitators are tasked with promoting social learning opportunities, engaging with the learners to pose open questions, threading together discussions and moving the discussion forward to develop and deepen the learners’ learning and social learning skills. Facilitators, depending on the course, may be supported by affiliated guides and/or guides.

Benefits of being a facilitator

You should become a facilitator if you are keen to motivate and encourage other learners, and can use your own organisational and communication skills to support their learning – particularly within an online environment. The focus of thie role described is on support and facilitation rather than teaching or subject knowledge. In some cases, however, an online facilitator could be a subject expert, who also brings facilitation skills. For example an academic in Myanmar, who typically teaches, may both facilitate online discussion and also contribute subject expertise (though this combination of roles is not essential).

Developing your skills as an online learning facilitator will enable you to:

  • gain informal recognition for your skills and experience
  • enhance your Curriculum Vitae (CV) potentially providing you with new career opportunities
  • engage with new pedagogy
  • develop leadership and management qualities
  • improve your communication and social skills
  • increase your confidence and motivation
  • enjoy a sense of fulfilment and personal growth.

Course structure

For this course you are asked to do five things:

  1. Work through the materials in Sessions 1, 2 and 3, carrying out the activities. These should be done for your own benefit and will not be assessed. In some cases you may find it useful to share your ideas or try out things in practice; however, this is not essential.
  2. Build a reflective journal as you work through this course, starting with Activity 1.
  3. Set your objectives for starting to be a facilitator in Session 4, Activity 10.
  4. Complete the end-of-course assessment.
  5. Complete the end-of-course survey.

In order to gain recognition and receive a certificate recognising your successful completion of this course, these five things must be completed.

Before you start

We would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to answer three simple questions in this short survey [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] to enable us to understand who is interested in this course.

Learning outcomes