Learning to Teach & Teaching to Learn

Wordle: UntitledTeaching as a Way to Learn
What is learning and what is the best way to approach it? Listening to lectures, watching videos, listening to podcasts, or reading text may not be as effective and meaningful as learning through active learning. Being involved and part of the learning process helps students retain information. One way to get students involved in active learning is through teaching as a way to learn.

Learning to Teach as a Way to Learn
I have been learning to teach and teaching as a way to learn for over 30 years. Teaching is more about learning than it is about teaching. The learner and the learning process is  first while the teacher and teaching is secondary. The key player is the learner and active learning or teaching as a way to learn is the process that puts the learner in front and places the teacher in the background. The teacher may set the stage, but the key players are the learners.

Teaching as a way to learn involves active learning. Active learning means that participants of a course do something with the content. One way to involve students in the process of learning is to teach them how to teach and share what they learn with others. Learning to teach involves taking responsibility for and gaining ownership of the learning.

Today, everyone can teach as a way to learn. In fact, everyone can be a teacher and share knowledge and experiences with others online. All that is required to teach online is a computer or android device and an Internet connection. But how and where do they teach online? How do they share information or teach it in effective ways?

Sharing Content is Not Enough
Is content sharing enough? Is this what you want to gain from your online experiences as a learner or teacher? In most cases, people prefer to connect on social networks and learn together with others. Facebook’s success is a clear indication of what people want. People want to connect socially so they can share information in the form of images, audio, video, and text files.

Going Beyond Content
Social networks are great for learners to go beyond the content for instruction and learning, but how do teachers and students organize instruction and learning in the popular social networks such as Facebook, pinterest, twitter, linkedin, and so on? Do they continually go back and forth and spend hours online receiving or sharing information? How can those who wish to share and manage information do so?

Learn Online
Yes, you can learn about information management and how to share it for instruction and learning by taking online courses. The courses may be in the form of a MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) or they may be smaller. Some of the online courses will be accredited, while others will not. Some will cost a great deal, while others will be very low-cost or free.

License to Teach Online
You do not need a license to teach on your own, in many private organizations or in a campus-based university or college. You need to take courses to teach online in online schools such as the University of Phoenix. You do not need a license to teach with technology in most ground universities.

License to Teach at a University
Teachers in the K-12 (grades 1-12) must have a license to teach, but instructors in higher education are expected to teach, but are not required to do practical field work or have license to teach. Teachers in higher education are only required to have a postgraduate degree (MA or PhD) and expertise in their field of instruction. How is that possible when the mission of most universities and the departments of education around the world is to provide quality of learning. Can instructors of higher education provide quality teaching for learning to take place? What training do instructors need to reach today’s students?

Unfair Expectations from Teacher
I realize that I posed some very loaded questions, but I find it unfair to expect teachers to provide quality instruction and learning when they do not get any training on how to teach in institutions of higher education (see my doctoral research book). I was very concerned about teachers in higher education and the need for professional development and training on how to use technology in blended learning campus-based programs. I established a free online network called Integrating Technology for Active Lifelong Learning or IT4ALL so teachers can learn about educational technology and how to integrating web technologies into their courses. The number of participants at IT4ALL has increased over the years because there is a need for free and low-cost online training programs for teachers around the world. IT4ALl uses Moodle for its course (CMS) and learning management system (LMS) for the asynchronous learn at your own time module and WizIQ for the live synchronous webinars and recordings.

WizIQ on Moodle
For convenience, I integrated WizIQ into my Moodle to facilitate the real time online meetings. Students felt that they needed real time support and the ability to ask questions and get immediate responses. Participants of the Moodle courses can join the live meetings. In addition, the teachers of the courses can schedule their own live classes. I encourage other teachers and students to ask their teachers and administrators to integrate WizIQ on their Moodle courses. Here’s more about integrating WizIQ on Moodle and other course management systems:

WizIQ Course Management System
However, Moodle is not enough for a complete online program because it’s based on courses that have limited durations. I looked for another venue so my students could continue learning. I found WizIQ. WizIQ is truly education online because it has a course and learning management system that includes: (a) courseware (content sharing), (b) course feed (forum discussions), (c) live online classes with recordings (webinars), and social networking (mailing & notification system) opportunities via facebook, linkedin, pinterst, google plus, and mail. The courses, classes, and content can be shared on social networks and through personal emails. WizIQ courses enable teacher to manage and share content with the students of the course.

Teaching Training Courses on WizIQ
I developed courses for teachers from K-12 and higher education to teach using web technologies online on WizIQ. WizIQ provides the infrastructure to teach in a social learning environment. On WizIQ education online, everything is in one place. You do not have to waste time going from one network to another to manage and share information.

How to begin with WizIQ Education Online?

Learn about Web Technologies on WizIQ
You are invited to enroll in the online professional development and teacher training courses I created, suggest courses you would like me to give, and/or create your own courses. WizIQ is providing me with what I need to connect with other teachers for learning. I can now provide teacher training for anyone who wants to teach online or to integrate web technologies into campus-based blended learning formats such as the flipped classroom. You are invited to collaborate with me and others in creating private, public or Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs on WizIQ.


Dr. Nellie Deutsch is an education technology and curriculum consultant, faculty at Atlantic University in the MA transpersonal and leadership studies, teacher trainer, researcher, and writer. She organizes Moodle MOOCs and online conferences. She earned her doctorate in education and educational leadership with a specialization in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix Her dissertation research (available on ProQuest & Amazon) focused on instructor experiences with integrating technology in blended learning contexts in higher education around the world. Nellie offers free teacher training courses on teaching with technology, action research and Moodle for teacher courses to new, veteran, and future teachers who wish to teach online, face-to-face or in blended learning formats. She also provides online courses to teachers and ICT people on how to be administrators of Moodle websites. She integrates Moodle and WizIQ live virtual classes in all her courses.


  1. I agree that definitely teaching is a good evidence of one’s learning. I see this happening among children of all ages, and I also experience it as an adult. But to some extent, the ’expression’ of what or how much one has learned takes time and may depend on the ff:

    -one’s learning goals and choices
    -one’s actions to achieve those goals
    -the timing of support received from others
    (fellow learners within a community)
    -the quality, amount and timing of support
    intentionally provided by an expert
    -one’s ability to reflect on his/her learning
    -one’s prior experiences of happiness and success in learning
    -one’s perceived predisposition to succeed

    Therefore I think it may take time for others to demonstrate their learning through teaching. Perhaps not everyone would jump
    into teaching to show what they have learned. The ’role’ of listening , facilitating or sharing content to fellow adults can be overwhelming to others and not everyone would be willing to explore and take their chances.

    I am one of those overwhelmed with university teaching. I would say I can comfortably show my new learnings whenever I teach children or do school-based curriculum work or do workshops with fellow teachers. But getting into teaching at the university level, and online teaching at that, was quite uncomfortable for several months. The demands on a higher ed instructor are immense yet the support given is minimal. One’s expertise in the discipline/field of practice does not necessarily translate into excellent teaching. Hence I had to go back to my own beliefs about learning to be able to hurdle the challenges of university teaching. I always go back
    to my own experiences of classroom teaching with children. So I did a few
    things here and there to keep me on track.

    Watching teachers teach online and experiencing how it is to become an online learner at IT4All definitely gave me the boost I needed to hurdle my ’teaching block’. I learned a great deal from watching the recorded classes at WizIQ and participating asynchronously inMoodle. Now, I even tried having my student –teachers at my university watchthe recorded live classes as part of an online course on Principles of Teaching. This kind of activity was a welcome change since they have never experienced this before.

    In sum, I think it took the right technology, the right kind of community and the right amount of teaching presence, sheer love for learning plus a great resolve to share with others, for this kind of active learning to happen.

    • Online teaching seems to bring a lot of confidence to students want to teach as a way to learn, but not in front of a face-to-face audience. Yes, it’s very scary for many at first. However, teaching online and creating videos instead of giving live online synchronous classes is less threatening at the beginning and probably easier to manage. This would make for an interesting research study.

  2. I love online learning and teaching! Every time I see one of your videos I get excited about learning more about actually setting up my own courses. See you in class!

  3. Learn to teach online via MOOCs, blended & flipped classes and get one-on-one mentoring from a leading educator. Everyone is welcome!

  4. It’s great to read about how it all started and how you have been such a pioneer in online education, Dr. Nellie. Your presence on WiZiQ makes a huge difference to the rest of us:)

  5. What professional development teacher training course would you like to see on WizIQ?

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