Trends & Roles Blog – Part One: Insights

Personal insights on the roles played by adult educators in the Hybrid Delivery model

Pedagogical learning is traditionally geared towards youth who may “consider learning as an imposed or contrived institution with no immediate practical application or personal benefit. In this context, teachers are responsible for identifying motivational techniques to engage and retain young learners” (2004, Wang & Sarbo).

On the contrary, adults generally seek to study a field of personal interest and are usually more interested in what a teacher has to say given the immediate relevance to their job or life situation.

As a result, the roles played by teachers of adults vary from the roles played by teachers of pre-adults. Traditional roles played by teachers of youth include: providing guidance, acting as a role model, childcare provider (in some cases, for young children), supervisor, evaluator, planner and classroom designer – to name a few.

The roles played by adult teachers in a hybrid-delivery model setting also vary as students may be taking some courses in a face-to-face setting, while others may be online, or completely self-guided and independent.

The most important role an educator of adults can play is the role of facilitator – to ensure the students in active learning activities. The must have the ability to create authentic learning opportunities and act as a guide and mentor as students work through the course.

The role of an online teacher is to “promote a pedagogy of learning by engagement and activity within an authentic learning community — a community of practitioners, where people practice the discipline, rather than merely just talk about it” (2011, Downes).

In the online environment, teachers must be adept at a variety of technology-based and other approaches for online teaching. They must understand how to properly provide learner support and effective assessment in a digital environment. As a result, they must continually collaborate with others teachers both inside and outside the school to stay on top of best practices.

In all environments, I believe students want us to be subject-matter experts who can facilitate not just learning, but a deep (and relevant) understanding of the course concepts.

The “Role of the Educator” article written by Stephen Downes for the Huffington post describes the 23 roles that are played by educators.

In the classroom environment, I see myself as a hybrid of the “Curator-Convenor” role. I “Curate” in that I make sense of the knowledge they are learning about, and put a practical spin on the at-home readings by making them relevant & practical. I help them create meaning around the teachings. I’m a “Convenor” because I go out of my way to bring people and ideas together. I see myself as a leader, coach and role-model.

In an online environment, where learners are more self-directed than andragogous, I see myself as more of a “Facilitator” making the space comfortable, keeping things on track, and nudging the students forward.

In the online environment, the roles of instructors are continually being “rethought”. There is an increase in “flipped classrooms” and a shift to student-centred learning, instead of the traditional model where the teacher acts as “an actor on a stage” at the centre of the classroom.

As an instructor of communication & PR in an online environment, one must have an excellent understanding of social media and how to communicate effectively online. They must also be able to make the technology “transparent” so learners are focused on “learning the content” as opposed to learning technology.

As an instructor in a hybrid-based model, I will vow first to ensure that I am acting as a “facilitator,” providing opportunities for active learning in all environments.

I will also aim to play a “social” role in which I create a friendly and safe learning environment where I am promoting relationships, developing group cohesiveness and helping people work together in an effective manner.

I will act a a “manager” setting clear agendas, objectives, timetables  and rules and managing interactions with strong leadership.

And last, but certainly not least, I will act as the “subject matter expert,” sharing my knowledge and experience with my students to enrich their learning experience.

References (MLA):

Wang, Victor C. X., and Linda Sarbo. “Philosophy, Role Of Adult Educators, And Learning: How Contextually Adapted Philosophies And The Situational Role Of Adult Educators Affect Learners’ Transformation And Emancipation.” Journal of Transformative Education: 204-14. Web. 31 Mar. 2015. <;.

Downes, Stephen. “The Role of the Educator.” The Huffington Post., 6 Dec. 2010. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.

“NMC Horizon Report 2015 Higher Education Edition.” The New Media Consortium. 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

“NMC Horizon Report 2015 Higher Education Edition.” The New Media Consortium. 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.


About robincookbondy

My name is Robin Cook Bondy and I live in Ladner, BC with my husband and three sons. I am a communications and public relations professional pursuing further education in the area of adult learning.
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