Moderators play a pivotal role in facilitating learning. Effective moderation can help faculty be better facilitators of learning. Moderators not only help engage learners in discussion but should serve as extenders of faculty by supporting the delivery of key points. Moderators ask both faculty and learners questions, which requires moderators to attentively listen. At the same time, moderators need to keep track of time, address presenters that may be running long, and manage the audience’s engagement.
Moderators set the stage for learning-centered and engaging sessions in their opening comments. A moderator’s introduction can create a climate that promotes learning when the comments serve to foster a collaborative and collegial experience. Moderators should build rapport with learners and can help faculty by asking learners questions about themselves and their experiences.
Similar to faculty who are facilitators of learning, moderators are overseeing and managing discussions among colleagues. A sense of collegiality will help the group connect with moderators and faculty. Delivery style and presence can help you connect, break down barriers, and create a sense of ease among the learners that it is safe to ask questions, disagree, or point out alternative approaches and solutions.
Moderators are facilitators, connectors, supporters, extenders and clarifiers – all in support of participants’ learning. Your success is built on your expertise and ability to listen carefully to presenters’ comments and be prepared to:
- Ask presenters clarifying questions to help ensure there are no misunderstandings
- Make connections, when appropriate, from one presenter to another
- Provide additional information, if needed, in order to help participants grasp key concepts and points
- Facilitate a discussion among learners and presenters
- Rephrase participants’ questions to help facilitate discussion, when necessary
Identify questions to ask learners and faculty to generate a discussion related to the content that would help meet each presenter’s objectives. Also, develop “back-up” questions that you can use if there is a lack of questions from participants or discussion is slow.