About Us


The Facilitation Toolkit was designed by a group of museum practitioners at the Museum of Life and Science (MLS) and The Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) along with researchers at Michigan State University's WIDE Research Center. We are interested in facilitation in online environments and their outcomes. Specifically, we are interested in studying facilitation techniques that engender change or evidence of learning, and how those facilitation techniques can be used in a variety of different online environments.

Together, we have developed a working definition of learning, which we believe is an ongoing process of change due to interactions between individuals and their social and physical environments. This ecological perspective emphasizes that the activity of learning is shaped by learners’ interests and needs, their prior experiences, their companions, facilitators, and other distinctive features of their specific socio-cultural and physical environments. In our people-centered view of an online learning ecology, we see evidence of learning through the examination of an individual’s adaptations, which may be observed in many ways including their actions, language, emotions and practices. For our study of online learning environments, we are particularly concerned with facilitation, such as listening, questioning, involving, encouraging, and redirecting, which play an important role in creating strong learning environments.

The Team:



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Jeff Grabill
Donnie Sackey
Minh-Tam Nguyen



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Troy Livingston Beck Tench Elizabeth Fleming



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Margaret Aiken Julia Halpern