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Unlocking the Secrets of Online Facilitation with Dr. Kaushik Sridhar: Insights from a Seasoned Expert

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We deeply appreciate Dr. Kaushik Sridhar for taking the time to sit down with Celeste Kocabay, our Head of People and Culture, and share his invaluable insights. His expertise and perspective are truly empowering. With a wealth of experience and a passion for creating positive, informative, and engaging learning experiences, Dr. Sridhar shares his insights on what it takes to become a superstar facilitator. Join us as we delve into his journey and explore the key elements that contribute to effective online learning facilitation.

 

  1. Dr. Kaushik, can you share a brief overview of your career journey and how you transitioned from a commercial background to online facilitation?

I began my career as a professional tennis player and then transitioned to a corporate career in sustainability. I spent the last 19 years working across Big 4 consulting and in-house roles within mining, real estate, healthcare, IT, and education.
Over the years, I discovered my passion for mentoring and coaching people, which led me to pursue opportunities in training and development.
As digital transformation accelerated, I saw a significant opportunity to leverage my experience in an online setting, leading to my transition into online learning facilitation.

 

  1. What inspired you to become an online learning facilitator, and how has your commercial experience influenced your approach to education?

The inspiration came from a desire to make education more accessible and flexible.
My commercial experience, especially in understanding client needs and delivering tailored solutions, has greatly influenced my approach.
I aim to create engaging, practical, and interactive learning experiences that cater to diverse learners.

 

  1. What do you believe are the most critical skills for an effective online facilitator?

Key skills include excellent communication, adaptability, technological proficiency, and the ability to foster engagement.
An effective online facilitator must also be empathetic, organised, and skilled in creating a sense of community.

 

  1. Can you describe a time when you had to adapt your teaching style to suit the needs of your students?

Once, I had a cohort of students with varied professional backgrounds and learning preferences.
I adapted by incorporating a mix of visual, auditory, and hands-on activities to address different learning styles, ensuring everyone could grasp the concepts effectively.

 

  1. How do you keep your students engaged in an online learning environment, and what strategies do you find most effective?

I use interactive tools like polls, quizzes, and breakout rooms to maintain engagement.
Regular feedback sessions, real-world case studies, and collaborative projects also help keep the content relevant and interesting.

 

  1. What digital tools and platforms do you regularly use in your online classes, and why do you prefer them?

I frequently use platforms like Zoom for live sessions, Moodle for course management, and collaborative tools like Slido.
These tools are user-friendly, reliable, and offer a range of features that enhance interaction and organisation.

 

  1. Can you give an example of how you have integrated technology to enhance the learning experience?

In one course, I used a virtual simulation to give students hands-on experience in a risk-free environment.
This integration allowed students to experiment and learn from mistakes without real-world consequences, significantly enhancing their understanding and confidence.

 

  1. What methods do you use to build a sense of community among your online students?

I create discussion forums, encourage peer-to-peer feedback, and organise group projects.
Regular virtual coffee breaks and informal chats also help students connect on a personal level.

 

  1. How do you address the diverse needs of students in an online setting, particularly those who may struggle with self-motivation or time management?

I provide clear schedules, set regular milestones, and offer personalised support through one-on-one meetings.
Encouraging students to set personal goals and using tools like time management apps can also help them stay on track.

 

  1. How do you stay updated with the latest trends and developments in online education and your specific subject area?

I follow industry blogs, attend webinars, participate in professional networks, etc.
Continuous learning is vital to staying current with new methodologies and technologies.

 

  1. What role does feedback from students play in your course development process, and how do you implement it?
  • Student feedback is crucial.
  • I regularly survey students and use their input to make adjustments to course content, teaching methods, and tools.
  • This iterative process ensures the course remains relevant and effective.

 

  1. Can you share a success story where your approach to online facilitation made a significant impact on a student’s learning journey?

One of my students, who struggled with traditional learning methods, enjoyed our online course due to the interactive and flexible approach.
They went on to secure a promotion at work, attributing their success to the skills and confidence gained from the course.

 

  1. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an online facilitator, and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was engaging students, who were initially reluctant to participate.
I overcame this by gradually building rapport, incorporating engaging content, and creating a safe, supportive learning environment.

 

  1. How do you see the role of online facilitators evolving in the next five to ten years?

Online facilitators will increasingly become mentors and guides, focusing on personalised learning paths.
The integration of AI and data analytics will allow for more tailored educational experiences.

 

  1. What emerging trends or technologies do you think will most significantly impact online education in the future?

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will revolutionise experiential learning.
Additionally, AI-driven personalised learning platforms will offer customised educational experiences, improving outcomes for diverse learners.

 

  1. What do you find most rewarding about being an online facilitator?

The most rewarding aspect is witnessing students achieve their goals and knowing that my guidance played a part in their success.
Seeing their growth and confidence increase is incredibly fulfilling.

 

  1. If you could give one piece of advice to someone just starting as an online facilitator, what would it be?
  • Stay adaptable and empathetic.
  • Understand that each student is unique and be prepared to adjust your methods to meet their needs.
  • Continuous improvement and a genuine passion for teaching are keys to success.

 

 

Stay connected with Dr. Kaushik by following him on LinkedIn: Dr. Kaushik Sridhar on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

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