Practical ideas for facilitating workshops & people development

Facilitation beings with you!

Have you ever been to a workshop with a mate only to find what you thought was a fabulous presentation they found difficult to follow and were disengaged?

As a facilitator have you ever spent time really analyzing yourself? Do we fall into the pattern of believing everyone likes to learn like we do?

Time spent understanding ourselves is not only valuable for us it’s extremely important in making sure we engage our audience more completely. There are lots of frameworks which can be used – we use these in our planning but have we really applied them to ourselves and how this plays out as we facilitate.

One of the frameworks I like to use is VARK – Visual, Auditory, Read-write, Kinaesthetic, if you visit www.vark-learn.com you can complete a simple on line questionnaire to determine your preferences. There are also great resources on this website  you can download and consider for your workshops.

I am a very visual leaner and use lots of visual aids in my presentations – coloured markers, pictures and posters. I enjoy some creativity and seeing flip charts developed throughout the workshop as a preference to power point.

My lowest score is auditory and I find auditory presenters who get up and speak with no visual aids or notes very difficult to concentrate on – I remember in pictures not words. Unless I take lots of notes I don’t retain much of their presentation. Auditory learners enjoy story telling and if stories are told with visual clues this will help me learn.

Read -write preferences have told me about the importance of the notes and hand outs at the workshop. They like detail in the notes and spaces to write their own thoughts and observations or add to the detail provided. For me this has been something I have needed to focus on developing, I would provide brief notes with lots of space for people to write their own ideas and have been told this is not enough for many with this preference.

Kinaesthetic learners like to be doing something. They need to be actively engaged in their learning – build in activities and time to practice new skills in a safe environment. Consider how you react to activities and the types of activities in workshops – for example I hate role plays and dislike being “put on the spot”, however am quite comfortable with small group activities and reporting back.

Consider your preferences and how this might impact on your style – what areas do you need to focus on more to capture all types?

I will continue this theme in future blogs looking more at the role of the facilitator and understanding styles and impacts.

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Comments on: "Facilitation beings with you!" (2)

  1. Interesting! The VARK questionnaire was interesting too… I’m multimodal. Typical! I’m even indecisive about my learning mode… This will be interesting to bear in mind as I embark on refreshing my training qualifications… and I’ll be keen to refer back to that website, as well as your blogs. Thanks Jeanette!

  2. […] Consider preferred learning styles of participants and cater for all types  –VARK Learning Styles  […]

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