How to Utilize Facilitation Training Methods to Lead Effective Workplace Training
What are facilitation training methods?
Facilitation training methods are teaching techniques that guide participants by encouraging collaboration, discussion, and learning without excessive involvement from the trainer. This teaching style is important to Sollah’s interactive learning approach and methodology.
What is the difference between training and facilitating?
While training usually involves content experts verbally passing knowledge onto participants, facilitating offers a more collaborative and hands-on approach that encourages deeper understanding. A trainer acts as a teacher to students, but a facilitator acts as a guide to a group. A facilitated learning session enables participants to not only learn but to think. Thinking is crucial when learning about complex issues—like diversity challenges—that arise in the workplace.
A training facilitator doesn’t necessarily need to be an “expert” on the content that they are teaching. Their expertise lies in the way that they communicate, and the way that they conduct a productive conversation. Facilitators guide and structure a conversation between participants and encourage organic thinking. In facilitated training, there isn’t a distinctive “right” answer provided by the facilitator. Instead, participants should interact and discuss the problem at hand to form their solution. Facilitated training offers a collaborative way to discuss complex topics, such as racism in the workplace. The facilitated approach gives participants the opportunity to share real-world examples from which everyone can learn and benefit.
How to facilitate a training session?
Great facilitated training starts with a great leader. Facilitating a training session requires adequate preparation, a positive mindset, and a variety of interpersonal skills.
An effective training session starts long before the participants enter the room—it starts with preparation. Understand the content you’ll be covering, and what your role in the training will be. Take time to practice the content of the program you will be facilitating. A confident leader is an effective leader!
You’ve practiced your content, you’re feeling confident and excited, and now it’s the big day. Your participants are starting to arrive. Now what?
- Introduce the participants to one another. Welcome each participant to the group to build trust and community.
- Set some ground rules. Let participants know the standards of the training before it takes place. Tell them that this training will be a respectful and positive experience. Encourage the group to suggest their own ground rules. Some basic ground rules may be that only one person may speak at a time and that participants should raise their hands before speaking.
- Remain neutral. Your purpose is to guide and encourage collaboration among the participants to create a solution of their own. You are not there to voice your own opinions.
- Stay positive. Topics may be sensitive or hard to discuss. Remain positive and encouraging throughout the session. It is imperative to the success of the training session.
- Be accepting and open-minded. Everyone is different, and that’s a great thing! Treat every participant equally, and accept that some opinions may differ from yours.
- Encourage participants. Make sure that all participants feel heard and involved. Allow everyone to voice their own experiences. It is important to be encouraging, not forceful. Let participants know they are safe to share their experiences should they choose, but that they do not have to share any information if they are not comfortable doing so.
- Resolve conflict productively. Ideas, opinions, and values will differ. Disagreements are natural, and knowing how and when to intervene is essential. Only intervene as needed. In most instances, participants should be able to resolve issues on their own.
- Know how to handle difficult participants. Managing a problematic participant and resolving conflict in the group are not the same. Difficult group members lower the quality of the experience for everyone. Sometimes, a participant may dominate a discussion by speaking at any opportunity. This could make it hard for others to speak. Politely let the participant know that although their thoughts are valued, you’d like others to have the chance to participate as well. Others may cause distractions by being loud or off-task. If a participant is constantly on their phone, for example, you may need to ask the participant to leave the room because they are disrupting the group. Unfortunately, some group members may be rude, disrespectful, or inappropriate. Be firm but pleasant while reminding them that they are behaving in a way that is unacceptable, and that this training requires participants to behave maturely and respectfully. If they cannot be respectful, let them know that they are more than welcome to leave.
Why are facilitation skills important?
Facilitation skills encourage productivity and community among participants. They create a respectful forum, bring a group together, and encourage creative problem-solving. Facilitation enhances a learning experience for everyone.
How does facilitated training increase learning retention?
Facilitated training increases learning retention by stimulating the senses, involving the participants, repeating information, and evoking emotion. Facilitated training, when done right, should include activities like role-playing, practice exercises, and opportunities for participants to share their own experiences.
Participants are not sitting bored at a desk while someone lectures them. They are involved, engaged, and invested. An emotional and engaging experience is a memorable one!
If these learning tips were helpful, check out our other article about seven ways to improve employee performance in the workplace.
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