Tip #157: Designing Facilitator Guides #1


After we have created our lesson plan and designed the training materials and audiovisual aids with the help of SMEs, the next step is to prepare materials that will enable the facilitator or trainer to successfully facilitate the training.

We approach this design process by asking another set of questions:

  1. What does the facilitator need to know about the training program? At the very least, the facilitator guide should include explanations of the:
    • Workshop Description
    • Training Goals
    • Training Philosophy
    • Timing Requirements
    • Participant Materials
    • Trainer Materials
    • Room Set Up Needs
    • Audiovisual Equipment Needs
    • How to Organize Participant and/or Trainer Materials
  2. Are there any key points or concepts that need to be emphasized during the training? If so, also include:
    • Key Messages
    • Points Worth Repeating
  3. What type of training experience or expertise does the facilitator have? If the training is being designed for technical experts to facilitate, very frequently they are more familiar with traditional lecture techniques. If that is the case, and the newly designed training is participant-centered, the facilitator guide will need to include a section of helpful tips and techniques for group facilitation. These might include how to:
    • Create a Sense of Community
    • Maintain a Smooth Flow
    • Assign an Exercise
    • Model the Assignment
    • Check for Comprehension
    • Debrief Exercises
    • Respond to Participant Questions
    • Wait for Participant Responses
    • Dignify Incorrect Answers
    • Refocus a Discussion Monopolizer

    Note: We will provide samples of these Group Facilitation Techniques in later Tips.

  4. How many facilitators will be involved in presenting the training? Will there be just one facilitator, will there be several facilitators, and if so, will there also be an emcee to essentially direct traffic?In the event that more than one facilitator will be co-teaching, the facilitator guide should probably include the following recommendations:
    • anticipate what it will feel like to co-present;
    • identify possible areas of friction (in terms of philosophy, background, personality, or teaching style); and
    • agree to specific ground rules to minimize anticipated friction.

    Please see previous Laurel Learning Tips #34-38 for Co-Training Guidelines.

    There are different ways that co-facilitators can work together, such as: alternating sections, co-presenting sections, or setting up a point/counterpoint relationship. The co-facilitation approach needs to be pre-arranged.

    If there will be an emcee, that individual’s specific responsibilities need to be clearly listed.

  5. What answer keys or additional references will the facilitator need? If there are questionnaires, quizzes, case studies, or any other learning activities, the facilitator will need answer keys. If some of the content is new to the facilitator, background reference material may also need to be included in the facilitator guide.
  6. Are there audiovisual aids for the program that need to be made available for the facilitator? These audiovisual aids need to be listed and their location identified, if there aren’t sufficient copies for each facilitator. There are two additional questions, the answers to which we will address in our next Tips on Designing Facilitator Guides:
  7. What format will be most useful for the facilitator?
  8. What additional quick reference guide might be helpful?

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