Tip #160: Designing Facilitator Guides #4

We have a number of choices to answer the seventh question: 7. What format will be most useful for the facilitator? There are three different formats I have typically used: an annotated table of contents (which we described in Tip #158), an annotated lesson plan (which we described in Tip #159), and a scripted facilitator guide, which is our focus in this Tip.

A scripted facilitator guide provides more information and guidance to a facilitator than is possible on an annotated lesson plan. While the annotated lesson plan provides a brief narrative of the activities, their purpose, and what is required (in terms of materials and directions) to facilitate the activities, the scripted facilitator guide comments on each page of the participant materials and offers lecturettes and other scripts.

The key information that the facilitator will need is:

  • the over all focus of the session
  • the learning objectives
  • the key content points (in many cases, these are the section titles or agenda items)
  • the duration of the focus on this key content
  • the type of learning activities
  • when they occur
  • how long they should last
  • specific materials for the activity
  • the goal of the activity
  • how to introduce, facilitate and debrief the activities
  • specific notes regarding how to facilitate the activity
  • the specific handout pages and/or PowerPoint slides to which the activities relate
  • break times and durations
  • specific points to make and where to make them
  • how long to spend on each item in the participant materials
  • what to say to introduce, facilitate, and debrief the activities

A scripted facilitator guide actually mirrors the participant manual page by page. The best way to format the guide is to place the participant manual pages in a three hole binder with the binder holes on the left side of each page- and then place the facilitator guide pages opposite their respective participant pages by having the binder holes on the right side of each page.

The following example is from the first day of an eight-day program for Wisconsin Energy Star Homes Consultant Training. The page number of the facilitator guide relates to the page number of the participant manual. The script is in italics. Note that the total time for the activity is given, as well as the amount of time for each activity. This enables the facilitator to pace him/herself. These instructions are printed in a font size of at least 14 and often larger, so that it is easy for the facilitator to read. Sections may also be color coded (time frames or activities or specific resources) whatever will assist the facilitator best.

The reference to overheads tells you that this program was earlier than 2004. For purposes of space conservation, the script is single spaced in most instances. In actual fact, it is double or triple spaced for ease of reading for the facilitator.

Note also that even the audiovisuals are annotated (in the case of the CD) so that the facilitator knows immediately what should be on the screen and the key points the CD makes.

Wisconsin Energy Star® Homes Consultant Training

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