Participation is the most effective way of giving training sessions to adult learners because most participants will already have some knowledge and experience with the topic being presented.
A group size of 10 to 15, with 2 facilitators, allows for maximum participation by those in attendance. Each breakout group should have no more than 6 participants.
In preparing the workshop, facilitators take into account participants' knowledge of and experience with the workshop content. The stage of the organization from which group members come - whether new and emerging, older and more developed, or a combination of the two - is also important.
This information, which can be obtained from workshop organizers, will allow facilitators to plan content and choose or modify which, if not all, of the units of the toolkit to present.
Begin the sessions with an icebreaker. Icebreakers help participants and facilitators learn to know each other and begin the process of involving each person actively in discussions. In working with culturally diverse groups, take special care to use icebreakers that do not embarrass participants. (See Appendix 1, for an example)
After the icebreaker, ask participants for their expectations of the workshop and introduce the agenda. Group consensus is important in participatory workshops. Adjusting the agenda to meet group expectations (as much as possible) will improve the interaction and education of group members.
Tips for Facilitators
Remember that facilitation, not presentation, is key to group consensus and empowerment. It also helps in providing information and developing ideas. The group will influence the direction of the workshop and you must facilitate the direction they have chosen. Each unit contains a workshop outline which you may use for your presentation. Evaluating the workshops helps you keep on track. (See Appendix 2, for a sample workshop evaluation).
Ask participants for their definition of the topic. For example, what does governance mean to them? List their ideas on a flip chart. Then proceed with the rest of the unit. Case studies help develop ideas, understand concepts, identify different styles and interpretations, and accept others.
Deliver the toolkit unit by unit. Hand out each chapter when you facilitate that particular unit. This lets the facilitator thoroughly explore the contents of each unit and makes the information more accessible and less daunting.
The techniques and tools used during facilitation help to maintain a level of alertness in the group. Use a variety of instruments to maintain the group's interest. For example, flip charts are an interactive tool as opposed to a power point presentation style. A good time to present sessions that are a bit lighter in content is after lunch.
Use breakout groups for each unit of the toolkit to generate ideas and facilitate discussion of different points of view. The smaller breakout groups allow for greater interaction among participants and enhance the ability to express individual viewpoints.
Staying on Time
As a facilitator, remember to control and direct your group so that you stay on time. If the group wants to spend more time on one unit than on another, accommodate this change during the workshop. However, if you find a participant is using more than their share of time, use appropriate action and remind them to be more concise.
- Don't judge others' points of view.
Respect differing opinions.
There is no wrong answer.
Please don't interrupt others; intervene only if one individual is using too much time.
Be aware of the time allotted for each part of the session and keep to the timelines posted with the agenda.
Post the agenda where all the participants can see it.