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Preface > Chapter-by-Chapter Highlights

Chapter-by-Chapter Highlights

Your success as a facilitator of learning depends on your ability to immerse yourself in the learning experience with the learners by sharing it with them and guiding them at the same time. Your success also depends on creating an environment that is safe for the learners on multiple levels (interpersonal, physical, psychological, and emotional).

Each chapter focuses on a critical aspect of creating and maintaining an optimal learning environment. Here’s a summary of the 10 chapters in Facilitation Basics:

  1. Introduction: It’s Not About You! It’s About Them!” gives you an overview of the book. It establishes the premise that effective facilitation is about the learners, not about the facilitator. Finally, some considerations are discussed that will help you appraise the course design in preparation for facilitation.

  2. Learning Facilitation” presents the principles that underlie effective learning facilitation and explains why effective learning is about the learners. The chapter covers the differences between presenting and facilitating, how adults learn, and the implications for facilitation of learning.

  3. Learner and Facilitator” focuses on learner preferences and learning styles, what it takes to be a facilitator, roles that learning facilitators take on, and criteria for selecting effective facilitators.

  4. Getting Started” builds on a premise of this book: that it is critical to focus on what happens in the learning environment as the learning unfolds. To start a learning session off on the right foot means the facilitator must know the audience, create a climate for learning, establish a physical presence, and personalize learning materials.

  5. Facilitating Learning Activities” discusses the types of learning activities used by facilitators, the goals of these learning activities, and the planning that must be done before you ever get in front of the learner group.

  6. Facilitation Techniques” addresses the events that occur as the learning experience unfolds, along with how to facilitate those events, including the sequencing of activities, giving activity instructions, managing time, managing group size, grouping participants, monitoring activities, providing feedback, managing assessments and measurements, and adjusting facilitation on the fly.

  7. Managing Difficult Participants” offers techniques for working with difficult participants, starting with the idea that perhaps defining them as “difficult” is part of the problem! Considerable time is spent looking at ways that facilitators can set aside personal agendas and focus on the professional agenda, which is to make learning happen. To support this, tactics to handle disruptive behavior, both prior to and during the learning experience, are identified and described.

  8. Using Media to Support Learning” introduces the world of media available to you as a facilitator. Believe it or not, there really is a whole world outside of Microsoft PowerPoint! In this chapter, using media specifically to support the identified learning needs is discussed (and there are appropriate situations for PowerPoint). Tips for using each type of media effectively are presented as well.

  9. Assessing Facilitation Quality” covers ways facilitators can get feedback on their performance and ways that facilitator quality (either your own or a facilitator you manage) can be assessed using materials that are built into your courses, such as tests, assessments, and smile sheets.

  10. A Final Note” can help you pull everything together. In this chapter, food for thought is presented on the facilitator’s role in the organization.

In addition, the book includes an Additional Resources section that lists many sources to support your professional growth as a facilitator.

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