Reitz High School

Reitz High School
Evansville, IN

Monday, September 2, 2013

3 of 10 Essential Qualities of an eLearning Coach

This week we are ready to discuss the third essential quality of an eLearning coach.  I believe number three has to be the ability to be a good communicator.   Communication by definition is the process of transferring information from one person to another using a variety of methods.  It is also a way to establish and modify relationships. 

In order to be a good communicator, the coach needs to be confident and believe in what they are teaching or demonstrating.  Try to take time each day to be aware of your opinions and feelings so you can adequately convey them to others. The coach should not be hesitant to speak because they do not feel what they are teaching would be beneficial.  Some tools that are worthwhile to one person may not be useful to someone else.

When communicating, the coach should make eye contact with the group and not just look at the device or computer screen.  The computer is not the coaches audience.  Good eye contact conveys interest and encourages the group to be interested in the coach in return.  It is OK to use hand gestures.  I believe using hand gestures shows that you are passionate and enthusiastic.  Be relaxed.  It shows that you are approachable and interested in what members of the group have to say.  As always, be respectful and considerate of what others have to say.  Be sensitive to the feelings of others.  The coach should be a good listener.  This is one skill that is sometimes forgotten.  Talking is only half of communication, listening is the other half.  When talking to the group, remember to slow down.  Many times, the people in the group are not as up to speed the coach.    

A teacher in the classroom has students that come from a variety of backgrounds.   Those students also have different amounts of knowledge of the subject that is being taught.  The teacher must differentiate instruction to meet the different levels of her students.  eLearning coaches experience the same thing when working with adults.  They work with teachers and administrators that have different levels of background, experience, and skills with technology.   

In order to be a good communicator, an eLearning coach must be able to simplify technology and make it seem effortless for everyone.  The school's staff does not want their lives to be more difficult because of some new device, program, or webtool.  The coach must possess the ability to make even the most complex tech issue appear to be easy.  I believe the coach's essential role is to put teachers and administrators at ease when it comes to technology and help them to solve their problems quickly without excuse.  The coach should make technology integration seem simple by meeting teachers where they are with their tech skills.  From that point they can then help them to move forward.   A good coach should encourage creativity and actively work to get teachers out of the box and into teaching with 21st century skills in mind. 

Good communication is an essential quality for success.  This quality is what helps set the coach apart as a leader. The eLearning coach needs to make students, teachers' and administrators' lives easier and lift something from their plate.

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