I am getting ready to present a session at a NSW SES Region L&D Forum this weekend. The session is for trainers and assessors who are keen to expand their toolbox when it comes to facilitating great learning.
The best lessons I ever learnt about being a good facilitator were on SES leadership courses, so it seems like a good karmic deal.The best lesson I learnt about facilitation: Telling doesn’t ensure learning. The best learning comes from self reflection and realising things yourself. So a good facilitator asks questions and makes you do the thinking.
This is widely supported by research, such as Hatton & Smith (1995) who observed the benefits of discussions (having a “critical friend”) where another person talked with, questioned, confronted and helped the learner to reflect in a safe environment.So how do you build this into your training and assessment sessions?
Firstly, a good strategy already used across the emergency services and defence forces – The after action review:
- What did we aim to do/actually acheive?
- What worked well?
- What could we do differently next time?
Secondly, using a combination of observations and tunnelling questions:
- I saw….
- I heard….
- What were you thinking when you were doing that?
- Why did that happen?
- Have you thought about how a new/experienced person might do that?
- What could have happened if…?
- What would you have done if…
And one more – The traffic lights! A quick but powerful way to end a session, either as a written reflection, group discussion or individual reflection:
- What is one thing you will stop doing now?
- What is one thing you will think about some more/investigate further?
- What is one thing you will start doing now?