Last reflective post of ONL162

So last night we had our last group discussion, and it was a bitter-sweet affair. We had started out as a group of people with disparate backgrounds with varying levels of IT skills and digital literacies, yet we became a team with amazing synergy, energy and dedication.

Why did this group differ that of other groups that I have worked with? We had to overcome language barriers, technical barriers, and the normal group norming processing, yet we became a team within very early days of starting out and maintained throughout the course.

After our last conversation, I sat back and thought about this. I know the role of the facilitator made a huge difference, but I also think that the group members played a major role. We were dedicated, had a sense a humour (we definitely laughed a lot), were sensitive enough to each others’ emotions and spaces, but at all times driven to achieve.

Social constructivism has a place for sure as a pedagogy, but it is not an easy pedagogy to support in an online course. In my last blog I mentioned the role of the facilitator being so important, and I think this cannot be underestimated. Especially, when wanting to add the emotional circle to the Community of Inquiry model.

I have seen the effects of Online Disinhibition Effect (ODE) so often, be it in a course or just in the online space, that I firmly believe that there needs to be a space created for the emotional element in any online course. By creating the emotional space, one can hopefully prevent any “outbursts” associated with ODE, that can negatively impact on the group members. So for me, I would like to explore more this aspect of the emotional building element in online courses. I don’t think it is easy to do this, as it is very hard to ‘read’ emotional cues when it comes to online courses.

So going back to my conundrum of why my PBL9 group differed from previous groups in the past, and that we worked so well…I tried to understand what it was that made us so unique. I realised it was the “two” elements: The facilitator and then the “motivation” of the group. When the facilitator “set the scene”, she allowed for the “motivation” of the group to do what it needed. The scene setting was such that we felt unrestricted and could explore where we wanted to go. Our emotional side was also nurtured in such a manner that we wanted to achieve. As one of our group member’s said in closing of our meeting: “When Sonja and Gizeh were so enthusiastic and motivated, I felt I had to produce. It made me want to keep the standards of the Topics to what we had achieved in Topic 1”. The fact that the group member felt she could say this in the first place, shows how open the group is and that the emotional side was nurtured sufficiently to give this kind of feedback, but moreover, it also indicated what kind of “pressure” was put on other group members to perform. If the “pressure” is equal to enthusiasm and motivation, then I would say it is a win, but if “pressure” becomes equal to “you will fail” then the emotional quotient is lost.

I can’t say I really am much closer to knowing how to emulate such a group, although I have an idea.  I will say this, it was well and truly a most enjoyable (if not stressful at times) journey and will surely miss my PBL group 9 members 🙂



9 thoughts on “Last reflective post of ONL162

  1. Hi Sonja, What a beautiful and honest evaluation of your process. Human interaction in learning processes are so interesting and so simple. If you are interested and involved in group members and you take you time to learn to know each other (Gilly’s stage 2) then half of the most group problems are solved. I made a summary of what I wanted to give to you as a facilitator in my blogpost. Maybe you will check of you can use it when developing your facilitator skills and insight.
    Thank you for your great contribution and “dry” humour. I learned a lot of you! I would like to stay connected either with you! Hug, Francisca
    p.s. I will reblog your post!


      1. How smaller the topics, the more you can dive deeper into it. Ask yourself a question about your work, for example… I want to know what irritates you in your work, and why. If you were the boss, what should happened in education, in your institute? …. How do you see the idea youngster who is well educated? What skills and knowledge does she has? What do you need as a midwife? How diverse could midwifes be, if the result is the same. What is the value of being different in education for student or teacher? Need more? 😉


      2. Sounds good…ok, going to ‘reflect’ on this and will prosume a blog post over the next few days 🙂 Thanks for the hints for some topics. By the way…should I follow this blog of yours? The other one is in Dutch, so I can’t really follow that one…so really hoping you keep this one as well.


  2. Hi Sonja, our PBL group said good bye last night but I still feel that we are in touch. Through blogging, for example, we could know more about our future progress. I certainly learned a LOT from you and enjoy so much the way you write and weave important pedagogical concepts in your reflections. You were a driving force in our group and set the high standards from the very beginning. I never felt pressure to achieve but thrilled to participate and to take the challenge. You also showed me a whole new world of tools and a context to use them. That is very important! Yes, I think we made a good team all of us. Hugs


    1. Did I miss a group session? I am so sad. I did not realise we were going to meet again? I would have joined if I had known. Francisca asked me to keep blogging, so I will consider keeping my blog site alive 🙂 Otherwise we have Facebook, WhatsApp, SMS and LinkedIn 🙂 I loved working with you and Miriam, and of course the others. I will definitely miss ya gals stax! Hugs back at ya!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s