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Module I
Preparing for Training and Facilitating

Þ This module provides information and techniques for planning participatory training in the context of natural resource management. The main target group of this module is people who are familiar with participatory methods and tools but may have less practical experience with providing participatory training.

Training Objective:

To plan and facilitate training workshops in the context of participatory processes towards co-management of natural resources.

Training Content:

Session 1 -

Exploring training needs

Session 2 -

Development of training objectives, outputs, topics, contents and inputs of a training workshop

Session 3 -

Training Shedules and Aendas

Session 4 -

Organising the framework of a workshop

Session 5 -

Designing a training session

Session 6 -

Basic approaches, techniques and skills

Session 7 -

Facilitatine and debriefing of training activities

Session 8 -

Monitoring and evaluation of training workshops

Session 9 -

Creating awareness of attitudes and behaviour

Session 10 -

Processes of changing attitudes and behaviour

Session 11 -

Facilitation in the field

Training Outputs:

- Experience in planning and preparing a training workshop
- Techniques and skills for a lively and positive atmosphere during a training workshop
- Experience in the processes of providing a training session (e.g. lecturing and facilitating)
- Development of self-critical awareness about personal training/facilitation style
- Techniques for monitoring and evaluating the success of a workshop


Initiating a participatory process in co-management of natural resources requires sensitivity and flexibility. Facilitators and trainers need to offer as much support guidance and encouragement as necessary while still maintaining a low profile, in the process. Enhancing a process of discussion, negotiations, agreements, planning and implementation amongst a number of stakeholders from different backgrounds is a challenging task. In order to enhance such activity, this source book focuses on:

SECTION A - Preparing a Training Workshop

Session 1: Exploring training needs

This session introduces future trainers to the necessity of adapting training materials to their trainees' needs. It provides some pointers on how to assess these needs and on how to use the information gathered as a basis for planning workshop.

Key Issues

Proposed Training Strategy:

A. Discussion: Importance of Knowing Training Needs

The first step in determining the requirements of a training workshop is derived from the expression of such a need by the respective target group.


It often happens, that a training workshop is organised by a higher level of administration, by an implementing agency or by outsiders, while the group that is to receive training has not expressed a need for the training nor has been involved into the decisions on the content. Such a situation requires additional sensitivity from you as a trainer, because you will have to find a common level between the officially imposed training topic and the needs of your trainees.

Whatever are the initiating and determining factors concerning the training, you will have to conduct, at least a rough analysis of the basic professional and personal characteristics of your trainees as well as their working circumstances (see "Proposed List of Factors" below). This kind of information will serve you as a basis to plan your workshop. It influences the focus, structure and timing of the workshop, the depth and theoretical background you provide, the exercises you offer and the examples you use. It is relevant in helping you design a successful training workshop which is tailor-made for the situation of your trainees and responds to their needs and interests.

If you have a chance to contact your trainees beforehand, find out what they require directly from them. If not, contact the initiator of the training request and ask for as much information as possible about the trainees, their wishes, knowledge and experience.

The Cloud Dreamer

Introduce the cloud-dreamer (or another culturally adapted cartoon which has the same message) to participants and ask them first, what they see. Let them talk about different aspects and different ways of interpreting the cartoon. Then ask them, what is their interpretation of the cartoon in the context of providing training. Among the topics which could be raised is: inappropriate measures, appropriate measures but applied in an inappropriate way, appropriate activity does not meet the "target group", waste of time, energy and resources.

From these observations lead the discussion towards the trainees' own experiences with inappropriate training or teaching measures. Let them describe, what went wrong in those situations and what might have been the causes. Invite them to think about what would have been different, if the trainer/teacher had given them a chance to influence the training/learning situation. Summarise the discussion together with the participants by establishing a list of reasons of why it is important to undertake a ‘needs assessment’ before planning for a training workshop.

B. Exercise: Training Needs and Trainees’ Background

Divide participants into groups of 5-7 persons and spread a proposal list of factors (see below) concerning training needs and context, which should be part of a rough background assessment. Invite them to put themselves into the situation of trainers who are preparing for a training workshop and to work on the following tasks:

1. Discuss the listed factors and add more, if they feel some are missing

2. Go through the list and decide, which of them could be used with which methods

3. Decide, which ones could be assessed with the help of a questionnaire filled in by the trainees, and establish an example questionnaire concerning these factors

4. Decide, which factors would require different methods and think of ways and means to assess these remaining ones


Þ produce a synthesis list of all factors, which are important to the participants

Þ before getting into a discussion on possible sources of information, reflect briefly, what kind of information

- is needed at an individual level (e.g. previous knowledge on a topic, level of education, wishes concerning the training etc.),

- is sufficient to assess at a general level (e.g. seasons of heavy workload),

- might be too sensitive to ask for in a questionnaire (e.g. taboos, traditions)

- may be beyond the self-assessment of trainees (e.g. training need in soft skills)

Þ when starting the debriefing on questionnaires, make sure, that the problem of illiteracy and the potential need of alternative methods is addressed

Þ discuss the different approaches for questionnaires, and have them typed and copied as example handouts for all participants; talk about proposed sources of information/methods for the assessment of different factors and, if necessary, give your participants additional hints.

Proposed List of Factors

- wishes, interests, knowledge, and training needs

- education levels, working environment customs, traditions and taboos

- homogeneity/heterogeneity/tensions/conflicts amongst the participants

- times and seasons of heavy workload amongst your target

C. Eye-opener ‘Guess What’

Invite participants to split up into small groups of about four persons each. Ask each group to choose one person who will have to take the role of the ‘guess - person’. Give each group a list, naming some topics (e.g. preferred food, song etc.) and ask the "guess-persons" to guess, what are the other three persons in the group might feel concerning the topics mentioned. Let them note down, how many times, the ‘guess person’ succeeded in guessing right. Most probably, the ‘guess-person’ will have a number of failures. In the debriefing, compare the task of the ‘guess-person’ to that of a trainer who has to prepare a training session without knowing anything about his trainees’ previous knowledge, experiences or preferences.

Examples of Questions to Explore Knowledge, Training Needs and Wishes of Participants

- have you ever heard about XY?

- if so, in which context - have you practised XY - would you describe yourself as newcomer, practitioner or expert concerning XY?

- who decided that you take part in this workshop?

- do you want to learn (more) about XY, and if so why do you? In what sense do you feel it could be helpful for you?

- what is important for you concerning XY?

- what are you looking forward to and what do you fear about this training workshop?

- other comments/ideas/wishes concerning the training

D. Transferring: Applying Information on Training Needs and Trainees

Use the list of factors resulting from the debriefing of Exercise B as a basis for this exercise. Pin up the written results of the list, go through the factors one by one and discuss with your participants, which field within a training workshop would/could be influenced by each respective factors. Establish a matrix showing the fields to be influenced in connection with the respectively influencing factors to summarise the results of this exercise.

Concluding the session

At the end of the session, place emphasise on the fact that, even if you have done a careful training needs and context assessment, it is still important to start the workshop itself with a session on expectations, wishes and fears of your participants (see also session x, section y), in order to be able to be more responsive to needs, which may be relevant but not as closely related to the training contents.

Session 2: Development of training objectives, outputs, topics, contents and inputs of a training workshop

This session provides an introduction to focusing a workshop towards certain training objectives and to planning and designing training inputs.

Key Issues

Proposed Training Strategy:

This is a complex session. It may be useful to repeatedly refer back to the outline of the session to help the participants stay on track.

A. Introduction The Walk Example

It is probably best to begin this session with a brief introduction about the importance of having an ‘objective’. The text below may be a good opener.

"You may wonder, why it is important to clearly define the objectives of a training workshop. Try to compare the workshop with a walk that somebody has to take in order to reach a particular place. As long as the person does not know what particular place to aim for, he or she will not know in which direction to walk. The same applies to the workshop - as long as you don't know what you want to achieve, you and your trainees may work for some time without reaching what you wanted to reach."

B. Exercise: What are Objectives

Participants are divided into three groups. Each group is asked to come up with their definition of the term ‘objective’ and three reasons each why it is important to define the objectives of a training workshop. The working results are presented in a plenary session, discussed briefly, and if necessary complemented by the trainers.


Make sure, that you don't get bogged down in semantic details. The important point is that participants have grasped the idea of an objective being a kind of guiding direction. Introduce your own definition only if the main ideas of what is an objective are not covered by the participants' proposals or if participants express the need to have an additional definition.

Collect all ideas and create a synthesis chart on a flipchart: "why it is important to clarify objectives of a training session".

Example of a definition of "Training Objectives":

The objectives of a training workshop describe the desired changes which the participants hope to achieve in the training programme; the purpose for which the training is conducted.

Examples of reasons why it is important to clarify objectives of a training workshop:

C. Input Formulation of objectives

Once participants have a common understanding of what objectives are and why they are important, they face the problem of how to formulate them. This can be more difficult than one might think. One way to define the objectives is by asking "What is going on now?" and "What should be different after the training?". If this method is too abstract, you may introduce the "Helpers" for the formulation of objectives listed below.

"Helpers" for the Formulation of Objectives (Source: adapted from PL&A)

There are some questions which make it much easier to make oneself clear about formulating the objectives.

- Why is the training conducted?

e.g. in order to encourage co-management of the natural reserve

- Who are the trainees?

e.g. the staff of the national nature reserve

- What is the primary content to be communicated in the training?

e.g. participatory processes and tools

Objective formulated out of the example answers:

The staff of the national nature reserve is able to apply participatory tools and enhance participatory processes in order to encourage co-management of the national nature reserve.

Remind participants to be aware of the information they have on their trainees and the present level of knowledge these trainees possess. The objectives they can realistically reach in a training workshop depend upon on the level they start from.

D. Input: Introduction of an example on outputs, topics, contents, inputs

Summarise, what your participants have learned about how to assess training needs and how to formulate objectives of a training workshop. The next step in preparing a training workshop is to think about how to fulfil training needs and how to reach the training objectives. In other words, one has to plan for the content and the procedure of the training workshop.

Explain in simple words to your participants what this means. They have to think about:

- what results their training workshop should achieve (produce) in order to meet the objective they have decided upon (outputs),

- the problems they have to address (topics) during the training in order to get these results

- the exact information they have to provide (contents) in order to cover the topic and fulfil the training needs of their trainees

- the form in which they want to present this information (training input)

E. Exercise: Elaborating outputs, topics, contents, inputs

Participants are spread into groups of not more than five persons. Each group has the task of elaborate training outputs, topics and contents for a fictive training workshop. They receive a pre-formulated objective of a training example, a rough description of a ‘made-up’ target group and a sample of a pre-prepared matrix.

In order to understand these different steps, it will be helpful for your participants to do an exercise on a topic, which is a less complex and easier to manage than the planning of an entire training workshop. The example should refer to a simple topic, which does not distract attention from the actual planning steps. It may be best to chose an objective referring to a simple procedure which a common part of the daily life of the participants, e.g. The tourist from Europe is able to ride a camel after training in the art of camel riding.

It can be very enlightening to give the same example to all work groups and alternate only the description of the target group. The differences appearing in the results (or not) will help your participants to develop greater sensitivity for adapting training contents to the training needs of their target group.

Example for a training's planning matrix

Training Objective:

The tourist from Europe is able to ride a camel after training in the art of camel riding.


(the results which your training has to produce)


(the problems which must be addressed in order to have the desired effects)


(the exact information you want to provide during the training)

Training Input:

(the form in which you want to transport the information)

Helping questions:

Which steps do you have to introduce to the tourist in order to enable him to ride a camel

What does he have to know for that?

Which details do you want to give him?

How do you provide this information?

1. distinguish the camel from a goat

look of a camel

Its general shape & height

e.g. photo show plus flipchart

2. catch the camel

behaviour of the camel

- walks away

- it grumbles

e.g. role play

3. make it kneel down

knowing the right words of command

- front legs

- back legs

e.g. real life presentation with the camel

4. make it stand up again

knowing the right command

balancing in the saddle so as to stay on

e.g. real life presentation with the camel

Concluding the session

Conclude the session by discussing the complexity of planning a training workshop. Encourage your participants to undergo this process nevertheless, because it is the basis for the success of the training effort. It will save trainers a great deal of trouble during the implementation of a workshop, if they have properly planned it beforehand.

Despite the importance of sound planning, emphasise also the fact that a training agenda and the connected training contents should never be used in a dogmatic fashion. Good trainers always remain open and flexible and respond to the mood, feedback and interests of their trainees.

Session 3: Training Schedules and Agendas

This session is aimed at introducing participants to the difficulties of setting up a training schedule and provides examples of training agendas.

Key Issues

Proposed Training Strategy:

A. Introduction: The pressure of limited time

Emphasise at the beginning of this session the one major problem of scheduling training sessions: Time is never enough! Begin this section with a few introductory sentences such as:

"The last step in planning a training program is the task of designing an appropriate training schedule. This means looking at the training inputs you want to provide, the time which you will need for each session and the overall timeframe of the workshop. It is often difficult to match up these elements. In most cases, the number of inputs envisaged is far too ambitious for the time given. The few days set aside for the workshop seem to be insufficient for all the topics one may want to offer to the trainees. In this context, it is better to reduce the number of topics than to overload the workshop. In either situation you will eventually have to leave out certain inputs, which you might feel are important. If you do this during the planning of the schedule, you have control over what gets left out. If however, you create an overcrowded schedule, you will simply have to leave out which ever inputs fall at the end of your programme when you run out of time".

B. Brainstorming Points to remember when designing a workshop schedule

Sit together with your participants and hold a brainstorming exercise on what you will have to remember when setting up a training schedule. Put all the responses up on flipcharts and discuss whether they need to be expanded. Add to the participants ideas whichever of the following points are not raised by the group:

- daytime/hours of the training

which times of day might exclude a certain group of potential participants (e.g. daytimes, when women have to do a certain types of work), which times should be dedicated to breaks (e.g. when participants usually have their meals/prayers/siesta etc.)

- time dedicated to each of the sessions

inputs, exercises, energisers, monitoring, breaks (e.g. make test-presentations and try exercises and energisers out with the preparation team; remember that exercises generally take twice the time you think they will)

- time dedicated to unforeseen events

in any training workshop there will be unforeseen events, such as e.g. the trainees' wishes to have additional inputs, longer discussions on certain topics or additional exercises. Add on an additional 10% of the workshop time for such events.

C. Exercise: Guessing time requirements

This exercise is meant to sensitise trainers to the topic of time requirements and improve their capacity to guess the duration of certain sessions. Prepare a list of activities such as energizers, exercises and common tools with a multiple choice set of possible answers concerning the duration of the activity. Give each participant a copy of the list and ask them to guess which answer is most likely.


Prepare an flipchart of the list and the answers and go through it with the group. If there are answers where participants have guessed very unrealistic time requirements for certain sessions, work jointly with the group to think of all the different steps involved in that session. Give them examples which clarify how long simple procedures like "Let's all sit down" may take. Invite participants to talk about their own experiences with planning workshop schedules and the lessons they have learned from them.

To give your participants further guideline, hand out copies of sample schedules from other workshops. Examine these schedules together and look at the various durations of different sessions. Invite questions, or comments related to these schedules.

Discussing your personal experiences during past training workshops is often a very effective means of putting the message across

D. Input Trainers' and Trainees' Agenda

Give a brief description of what a trainers' and a trainees' agenda are and what needs they have to fulfil. Mention, for example, that a trainers' agenda is (G&F) minutely detailed, includes the outputs of every session, and is for the trainers' use only. A trainees' agenda, however, is limited to general topics and approximate time allocations in order to offer an overview and to allow for greater flexibility. Examples of both are found below.

Example of a Trainer’s Agenda





Opening and Introductions

8:00 - 8:45

Trainer notes for opening

"Climate setting". (a) warm, friendly atmosphere; (b) stimulate interest and curiosity; (c) enable trainees to begin thinking about gender analysis; (d) encourage trainees to get to know each other

Objectives and Methods

8:45 - 9:00

Overheads or slides

Objective clarification: (a) present statements or questions to the trainees which clarify the purposes of the workshop; (b) provide an opportunity for trainees to add objectives.

Method clarification: (a) Discuss role of trainees and trainers in participatory workshop; (b) Explain Case Study method

What is Gender Analysis? Small group exercise or role play

9:00 - 9:30

Questions or role play descriptions

Issues clarification: (a) take mystery out of "gender analysis"; (b)clarify one or two key concepts; (c) facilitate participatory exchanges, e.g. One group to represent village women whilst others represent village man, city man or city woman.

Overview of Gender Analysis and forestry Plenary Session

9:30 - 10:15

Framework presentation notes plus slides or overheads

Problem identification: overview of the problems or issues with respect to gender roles and forestry

Introduction to methods and skills, clarify key concepts in gender analysis, and give overview of how to use the Gender Analysis Framework.

Make it relevant: explore reasons why learning about gender analysis may be important and useful to this specific group of trainees

Coffee Break

10:15 - 1030

Introduction to Case Study

10:30 - 11:00

Slide show Projector Screen

Provide information: (a) review facts on gender roles in case study forestry project area; (b) reinforce learning from written case study; (c) visually transport trainees to project area, making issues meaningful; (d) visual relief

Introduction to small group work

11:00 - 11:10

Profile with examples

(a) objective clarification

(b) method clarification

(c) time allocation

Small group analysis of Case Study for Context Profile

11:10 - 12:30

Profiles, Case Study


Increase information, understanding and skill:

(a) Gender Analysis Framework; (b) Produce information that can be analysed; (c) engage trainees in learning.

Example of a trainee’s agenda (source: G&F)



Opening and introductions

Workshop Objectives and Methods

What is Gender Analysis?

Overview on Gender Analysis and Forestry

10:00 - 10:15

Coffee Break


Introduction to Case Study: Slide Show

Small Group Analysis of the Case Study

The Context Profile

12:00 - 13:30

Lunch Break

13:30 - 16:30

Plenary Discussion of Case Study Findings

The Context Profile

Small Group Analysis of Case Study

The Activity Profile

Coffee Break

Plenary Discussion of Case Study Findings

The Activity Profile




Day One Summary and Closure

E. Exercise Spreading tasks out and agreeing on a team contract amongst trainers

Ask all participants to brainstorm about the process of distributing tasks when once there is more than one trainer. Make sure that formal criteria such as competence for the topic, balance of trainers' inputs, and availability of trainers are raised. Informal criteria must also be raised and include, for example, who likes or dislikes certain topics, who is more amusing when presenting certain inputs, and who works more effectively in the morning or in the afternoon.

For the second part of the exercise, divide participants into groups of 5-7 persons and ask them to imagine they are working together as trainers in a big workshop for the next 3 weeks. Ask them to collect their ideas on which agreements should be included in a team contract amongst trainers. In the course of the debriefing, prepare a list of all the topics mentioned. Have them typed out, copied and distributed to the trainees. These are important handouts.

Concluding the session

Emphasize that it is very useful for trainees to have the agenda of a training workshop given to them at the same time that they receive an invitation to attend. This is not just a matter of politeness. It also generally informs participants about what the workshop will be about and how long it will take. Thus it helps trainees to organise their own daily activities. It can also be the basis for considering, before the beginning of the workshop, any necessary changes in the schedule or its agenda.

Session 4: Organising the framework of a workshop

In order to guarantee the smooth running of a workshop many things which need to be organised and a number of issues need to be clarified. As a trainer you will most probably not be responsible for general organisational issues. Nevertheless, it is useful to be aware of crucial issues so that you can offer support to the organisers.

Key Issues

Proposed Training Strategy:

A. Brainstorming: Organisational and Logistical Issues

Invite your participants to come up with ideas about what they think has to be organised before and during a workshop. Use a flip chart and write down all the suggestions, allowing for inputs, which may not seem to be the direct responsibility of a trainers. You may put each idea on a card or a ‘post-it’ and then cluster the cards according to whether or not they appear to be the direct responsibility of the trainer.


Add your own experiences to the brainstorming session if that seems necessary (for list of examples see below). Produce a synthesis list. Go through the list with the participants and discuss the implications of each point.

List of Examples of Things to Organise and Remember

Decision on the timing of the training

It is important to know which hours, days, weekdays, seasons, times of the year are convenient to the target participants (e.g. seasons of low workload), and which ones periods should be avoided. (e.g. religious fasting periods/festivities, general holidays, harvesting season, seasons of herd movements).

Decision about selection of workshop participants

Let the target group take part in the decision about who should be invited, but try to ensure that the decision is based on objective criteria (beware of jealousies and hidden interests).

For preliminary training in participatory approaches and methods, it is useful to have a heterogeneous group of participants (different levels of education, different professional backgrounds, different living conditions). If possible try to have a gender-balanced group, but be aware of the fact that, in certain contexts the presence of men may be a hindrance for women to take part in the workshop; in such a case it may be advantageous to provide single gender training.

Keep control over the number of participants - 10-20 people in a workshop is a good number. This is big enough to ensure a variety, opinions, and attitudes, but still small enough to give space for each trainee to actively participate. There is, however, no absolute rule. Each workshop has its own focus and dynamics. Some workshops may work well with well with double the number and others may be very challenging with as small a group as of 5. If you have had little experience with providing training, it is better to start with a smaller rather than a larger group.

Getting permission from groups affected by the workshop

All people affected by the training workshop should be informed in advance and their permission sought. These may include people in the neighbourhood where the workshop is going to be held, local leaders and/or government authorities in whose regions you plan to run the exercises, and local people who might inadvertently be used in some way during workshop activities.

Select the location

Make sure that the location of the workshop is convenient for all the participants you want to invite. That means, for example, that transport to and from the location should be available. There should be adequate space for plenary sessions as well as small group work. The physical environment, temperature, light, sitting arrangements, and general atmosphere should be of a standard which maintains good working conditions.


Invitations to attend should be sent out early. It is also useful if each participant is given a workshop programme and some organisational information (how to get to the workshop site, who are the other participants, which facilities are provided for, etc.).


Make sure that all technical facilities, workshop materials and equipment are available and fully functional during the duration of the workshop.

Session 5: Designing a training session

This unit is about how compose a training session.

Key Issues

Proposed Training Strategy:

A. Role Play: Setting up a ‘Bad Presentation’

Often a negative example is very useful as a learning tool. In this exercise the trainer will purposefully set up a bad presentation. To do so, you need to select a page of text, which is badly structured and full of detailed information on a technical topic. Prepare one or two charts related to this information and make them as confusing as possible. Ask for three volunteers from among the participants. Explain to them what you intend to do and ask them to listen carefully to participants comments and to observe the reactions of their colleagues. When they have returned to their seats, start the ‘poor’ presentation with the remark that the information you are going to introduce is not very important, but that you are providing it as an ‘extra’. Then start reading out the text at high speed in a low monotonous voice, with no intonation, and no breaks. When you have finished reading the text, ask your participants some detailed questions on the content of the text. Most probably, they will have difficulties in answering your questions.


Ask your trainees to imagine that the whole of workshop was designed like this poor presentation. Ask them why they had problems in answering the questions and what they felt was difficult about the overall training approach of this session. Make sure that problems like "lack of motivation", "difficulties to keep listening", "difficulties in remembering", "poor presentation" are mentioned.

Discuss the reasons for these problems.

Ask the observers to describe the comments and mood of their colleagues during the test. Hopefully they will come up with inputs like "felt bored", "were confused", "got slightly angry", "did something else". If they don’t make these comments, ask the participants if any of them felt bored, or was confused. Conclude the debriefing with few remarks about how destructive a bad presentation can be for both training success and for the attitude of the participants.

B. Transferring: Challenges for a good training approach

Divide participants into small groups and invite them to refer back to the ‘poor presentation’. Ask each group to deal with one of the problems in the poor training approach and to think about possible ways to avoid the respective problem in a training situation. Let them come up with examples of strategies for concrete learning situations. For example, if the group is dealing with the problem "lack of motivation", they should not just come up with solutions like "motivate for the topic", but with proposals such as: "start with an energiser on the topic" or "invite participants to talk about their own experiences" etc.

C. Input: How to compose a training session

Give a brief introduction to the important characteristics of successfully designed training sessions. This should include discussion about how to combine different sorts of inputs and how to pace the contents.

Designing a Training Session

When introducing a new topic, it is important to grab your trainees' interest and to clarify the relevance of the topic for them personally. It is very helpful to start each session differently, and thus attract the attention of your trainees by making them wonder what is going to happen next.

Try to design your training sessions in as interesting and lively fashion as possible. This does, not necessarily imply that you have to play the full-time entertainer. But you have to aim for a good balance between concentration and relaxation, serious work and some fun, passive learning and active participation, theoretical discussions and practical application. This means you will need to use a multi-sensorial training approach (let participants see, hear, speak, do) which integrates trainees' knowledge and experiences as much as possible.


what you hear - you forget
what you see - you remember
what you do - you can replicate

Pace and Content of Sessions (Source: PL&A)

It is important to structure each session carefully. Always ask yourself

How much do they already know?
What do they need to learn?
How much time do you have to cover the material?

To help in the selection of material, think about what the participants:

must know
should know
could know

The day after a ten-minute talk, the average member of the audience is unlikely to remember more than one or two major points. It is natural to want participants to learn everything we teach them. But too much detail covered too quickly will hinder the success of a presentation. For a 30-minute talk you should select no more than five main points, or ‘golden nuggets’. The rest is detail to keep everyone interested.

The session should then be structured around the key points you think they MUST know by the end of the session. Always repeat the golden nuggets or central ideas. Repetition reinforces memory. If you are trying to communicate five main points to the group, then try to save the most important for last. Begin by capturing the interest of the group, and then give a taste of what is to come. Deliver the detailed message in the main body of the presentation and build up the most important point. Then summarise everything by restating the purpose and the major points.

Whether you are giving a lecture or facilitating a group exercise, planning a session around these three stages will help to ensure that the key issues are remembered. If you are planning to give a lecture, then it will be more effective if you follow these stages:

Allow plenty of time for the preparation of notes and materials. A safe rule of thumb is to allow double the time of the presentation for preparation. But if you are presenting a topic for the first time, it may take much longer. Do not forget to plan anecdotes and jokes as part of your presentation. A good speaker or trainer makes jokes or remarks which appear unrehearsed but are likely to have been prepared. A trainer may well have said the same thing several times before. But a well-planned joke or story can sound spontaneous and can reinforce the learning points. For each training session, it is very helpful to prepare a planning sheet which clearly lays out what it is you intend to do and achieve.

Try to introduce new topics with a balanced combination of fun, attracting attention, information and application. Such a combination could look like this:

Example for a combination of training inputs concerning topic XY:

1. Energiser/Eye-opener

Þ to have fun, create awareness for the problem XY and so attract the attention of the trainees for further information on XY

2. Brainstorming

Þ collecting trainees' ideas and knowledge on the topic XY

3. Short theoretical input

Þ information, providing an overview of what is important to know about the topic XY, always referring back to the trainees' former contributions on the topic

4. Group Exercise

Þ application - collect trainees experience and elaborate on topic XY

5. Plenary Discussion

Þ create a common level of understanding by resolving remaining problems and open questions; establish further connections between the working/living situation of the trainees and XY

6. Closing down the session

Þ summarise the content of the session, put it into the context of other sessions or the whole workshop or give additional hints which go beyond the actual content of the session

Note: Even when you like the example combination or another combination of training inputs, try not to stick to rigidly to it - otherwise the sequence of training inputs becomes a routine as well.

In considering the presentation of the topic you want to work about, as yourself:

Then try to integrate involve these factors when designing the training inputs for the specific topic.

D. Discussion: Providing theoretical inputs

Refer back to the ‘Poor Presentation’, role play. Point out that most training workshops require theoretical input. Ask the participants to come up with their experiences of good and bad lectures and invite them to express their ideas about what makes a "good" lecture. Use a flipchart and write down their ideas adding to them, if necessary.

Providing theoretical inputs

It is hard to imagine a training workshop which has no theoretical introductions or explanations. Moreover, no matter how important such theoretical inputs might be, they are the most difficult parts of a workshop to manage.

Research has shown, that after listening for more than 15-20 minutes to a lecture, most people have difficulties maintaining their concentration and tend to drift away. Try to keep this in mind when you want to introduce a topic.

Restrict yourself to a few main points. Your input is more successful, if your trainees remember 5-7 general points, than if they only remember 1-2 very detailed ones.

Help the trainees to remain concentrated and to follow your inputs by providing good and clear visual aids or flip charts (see also VIPP) in combination with well-structured handouts which summarise the contents of your input.

SECTION B - Conducting the Workshop

Session 6: Basic approaches, techniques and skills

This session introduces basic approaches, techniques and skills which help create a positive training atmosphere and learning process.

Key Issues

Proposed Training Strategy:

A. Discussion: Participatory versus top-down training

Ask participants to discuss differences between participatory training and top-down teaching. Encourage them to express their opinions and get them to discussion the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches. Introduce the overhead "traditional teaching and participatory training".

Participatory Training versus Traditional Training (Source: G&F)

Traditional Teaching

Participatory Training

teacher’s role is to tell students what they need to know

trainer’s role is to ask questions, and to facilitate discussions

teacher is more knowledgeable and experienced than students

both trainers and trainees are knowledgeable and experienced

teacher shares her/his knowledge with the students by lecturing

everyone must reflect on her/his own, then share their ideas, experiences, and expertise

students are passive, just listening and taking notes

trainees are active and analytical, asking questions and exploring alternatives

students learn the right answer from their teachers

trainees develop their own answers - indeed, there may be many different answers

Ask the participants to discuss what kind of skills and personality traits make a good participatory trainer. Distribute handouts with background information on good trainers, on participatory training, and on the stages of control in the training process (see" Background Materials at the end of this session").

B. Exercise: Positive working atmosphere

Start a discussion about which features influence the atmosphere of a training workshop and how to create a positive working atmosphere. Use a flip chart to write up the ideas and encourage additional inputs, if you feel that important points are missing. Introduce some tools and techniques to help create a positive working atmosphere (see example no.5 in the "Background Materials" section). Let participants decide on their own activities as trainers, i.e. which of the features listed they would want to control or influence and at which stages of a workshop. Organize the suggestions into a useful sequence. In this way you will have created a hypothetical checklist. Have it typed and distributed to the participants

C. Brainstorming: Learning support

Ask participants to come up with their own experiences in learning situations. Which activities and techniques from their trainers made it easier to follow the training content. Which ones made it more difficult while remaining committed to the training process. Use a flip chart to write up the results. Supplement this list, if necessary with additional points such as:

- having a visual training agenda within the training room and repeatedly referring back to the outline/greater context (Þ helps trainees maintaining an overview)

- handoutsavoids trainees losing their concentration trying to write notes)

- visualisation of working steps and results on charts or cards (Þ helps trainees follow a working process and maintain an overview)

- open questions boardprevents distraction from the actual)

- debriefing and Closing down (Þ helps to keep the main lessons learned in mind)

- monitoring and evaluating the learning process (see session x) (Þ allows trainees to reflect their learning status and helps trainers to react and tailor-make their inputs)

- Variety of training techniquesmakes the training more interesting and thus helps to maintain attention of trainees)

D. Input: Variety of training techniques

Give a brief introduction as to the advantages of a wide variety of training techniques and give a number of examples.

As all of us know, routine activities become boring after a while. The same applies to training inputs: if the training is always using the same kind of methods, trainees will lose their interest. Therefore it is very helpful to use a wide range of methods and techniques in order to introduce different topics, such e.g. eye-openers, energisers, brainstorming, short inputs, pre-elaborated reports from trainees, exchange of experiences, group exercises, case studies, slide shows, films, brain-training-games, creativity techniques, drawings, guests' talks etc.

Concluding the session

Emphasise the importance of good training conditions and encourage your participants to reflect on their own good and poor training experiences before they attempt to set up any workshop themselves. This will help them to develop a better idea about their trainees' perceptions of the workshop approach and adapt it accordingly.

Background Materials

1. "Participatory training"
2. "What makes a good trainer"
3. "Stages of control in the training process" (PL&A, page 9)
4. Example list on tools and techniques to create a conducive working atmosphere
5. Summary paper on training approaches
6. Energisers as Training Support
7. Background paper on seating arrangements

1. Participatory Training (Source: G&F)

Participatory training is "participatory" because learning occurs through the active involvement of the trainees. They are the ones who develop the answers. It is "training" because learning opportunities are created by presenting new information together with analytical methodologies for trainees to discuss and consider in light of their own work experiences. Participatory training is very different from traditional "teaching".

Many of the principles of participatory training draw on theories of adult learning. Adults learn more by doing, than by listening. Adult learning theory stresses that adult learners need opportunities to think, to understand, and to apply.

Learning is accompanied by change - changes in behaviour, knowledge, understanding, skills, interests, values, awareness, and attitudes. To facilitate these changes in adult learners, experiential activities, during which participants work out their own conclusions, are more effective than lectures. Thus, participatory workshop trainers need to match learning activities with learning outcomes. Good training courses include a broad variety of learning activities, including presentations, games, and role play, each with its merits and uses.

During participatory training, activities are selected specifically to encourage trainees to engage with the materials and become active and animated - trainees offer ideas, raise questions, build on one another’s statements and challenge one another’s opinions. They learn from, and with, other participants and work together on a collective analysis.

The trainers are also active and mobile. During participatory training, the trainers’ job is to structure and facilitate rather than deliver information, explain, or provide answers. Trainers initiate discussion and then draw in the trainees. They amplify some trainees’ comments and summarize others’; they compare and connect separate remarks and point out opposing views. They draw the threads of discussion together and relate them to the workshop’s objectives.

Participatory training is structured around the ability of the trainees to reason, to analyse problems, and to work out their own solutions. It emphasizes the process of inquiry, and therefore participatory training workshops often end with questions as well as conclusions.

2. What makes a good trainer (Source PL&A)

Many of the problems that appear in groups are ultimately related to the personality and skills of the trainer or facilitator. Jenny Rogers put it this way:

"Thinking back to my own schooldays and to the teaching I have encountered since, the outstanding teachers all shared an enthusiastic, open, relaxed style while teaching."

To be a good facilitator requires time and experience, and learning by doing is the best way. The most effective trainers and facilitators have a range of key characteristics (adapted from Jenny Rogers, 1989):

Some of these characteristics can be attributed to people’s personality. Others can be learned or improved through experience and practice. Still others can be developed by using specific exercises which are structured to provide some of the conditions for learning by participation. Most importantly, though, good facilitation requires you to be self-critical about your performance at each stage of the session or workshop. Rather than asking yourself whether you could have done better, ask what and when you could have done better. Constructive criticism from colleagues or peers is an important addition. When doing this do remember that you will never be able to fully satisfy every participant. If you have managed to encourage learning amongst the majority of your participants, then you have done your job well.

3. Stages of control in the training process (Source: PL&A)


4. Examples of tools and techniques to create a conducive working atmosphere

- actively support the process of knowing each others

- assess expectations of trainees and respond accordingly

- training-team-contract (e.g. leave your title outside)

- working environment and sitting arrangement (see background text)

- basic rules of collaboration, e.g. "every idea counts"

- granting of mutual respect (give everybody a right and space to express his/her opinion, protect this right against others who try to interrupt, shout down or joke about contributions

- social observation (induce a process of awareness for mutual respect, try to point out, when a comment is destructive or constructive without blaming participants for their behaviour

- sufficient breaks and energisers

- monitor trainees' mood (see session x) and react accordingly

5. Summary of Training Approaches

1. Participatory Training

It is more conducive for learning and more exciting for trainees to have participatory training instead of top-down frontal teaching. This is particularly the case in the context of promoting participatory processes. Participatory training reduces lectures to a minimum and gives broad space to learning situations. Trainees are actively involved and contribute to the learning process.

2. Self-image of the trainer

Your self-image as a trainer is closely connected to the approach of providing training in a participatory way. Try to see yourself as a service provider instead of a teacher. Your role is not to push certain facts into the heads of your trainees, but to encourage and facilitate a mutual process of exchanging knowledge and experience amongst your trainees and between them and you. Acknowledge that their contributions to the training are as important as yours, and interact accordingly.

3. Conducive Training Atmosphere

A conducive working atmosphere ensures that trainees are committed to the training process and that they concentrate completely on the training contents. Distraction through negative feelings as well as through uncomfortable working and sitting arrangements can be minimised, if the trainers apply a number of simple tools and techniques. Prepare a checklist of important points and go through it repeatedly during a training workshop.

4. Learning Support

Some trainers, unwittingly act in a way which confuses trainees instead of helping them to follow the training process. However there are some basic training activities, institutions and techniques, which when applied help in avoiding some of the major sources of confusion.

5. Variety of Training Techniques

Routine activities become boring after a while. The same applies to training inputs. Therefore it is very helpful to use a wide range of methods and techniques in order to introduce different topics, such e.g. eye-openers, energisers, brainstorming, short inputs, pre-elaborated reports from trainees, exchange of experiences, group exercises, case studies, slide shows, films, brain-training-games, creativity techniques, drawings, guests' talks etc.

6. Energisers as Training Helpers

Energisers are small games, tasks or exercises which usually bring together a high "fun-factor" with a number of important physical, social and didactical functions at the same time. They are often helpful, as well, as a break or interruption between two sessions or as introduction to a new one.

Possible functions of Energisers:

physical functions

A relax
B move the body and muscles
C refresh and awaken the person

social functions

C. build a feeling of equality and break down hierarchies
D. break the ice within a group
E. improve a heavy atmosphere by having fun together

didactical functions

- introduce to a new topic
- create awareness of a problem
- awaken interest for the following inputs

7. Seating Arrangements (Source: PL&A)

Seating arrangements have a big influence on a workshop session. Although these can vary greatly, there are six main types (see illustrations):

  1. Rows of tables and/or chairs
  2. Hollow U-shape
  3. Banquet or fish-bone style
  4. Conference table
  5. Circle of chairs
  6. Table trios

Each arrangement has particular advantages and disadvantages. In general, the more group work you have planned, the better it is to use the banquet or fish-bone style. This does not require the moving of chairs, and therefore limits the disruption as you shift from a presentation or lecture to a ‘ buzz’ group. Think about the type of chairs. Are they so comfortable that your participants might doze off in the middle of a slide presentation? Is it a room that the participants know well and if so, are they likely to sit in familiar seats of their own? Many people are used to sitting in rows, knowing that they may be able to daydream or fall asleep at the back. If you decide not arrange them in rows, then you should explain to your participants why you have made these arrangements. If you have the time, you could initiate a session to explore the relative advantages and disadvantages of each arrangement. Be creative with seating arrangements. They should not be seen as static, and rearranging them can help to keep participants active. Robert Chambers describes how he continually changes the seating: "I use sequences a lot. For a one day workshop, I start with participants sitting in threes at tables. Then after a few buzz groups, I join tables for a chart exercise (such as participatory mapping on the ground or paper). Then for fruit salad all the tables are moved to the wall, leaving space for circles and much else with practical work, ending the day with no chairs at all."

Session 7: Facilitating and debriefing of training activities

This session provides a theoretical understanding of what is meant by the term facilitation. It also gives participants an idea of the role of facilitators within the context of training activities.

Key Issues

Proposed Training Strategy:

A. Introduction: the term "Facilitation"

Invite participants to recall their own practical experiences with participatory research tools and ask them for their interpretations of the term "facilitation". Collect all ideas on a flip chart and ask the participants to compose a definition of facilitation which covers as many of these ideas as possible.

Example for a definition of the term "Facilitation":

Facilitation, in the context of participatory processes, means the provision of support and, if necessary, guidance in different situations. These may include, for example, doing analysis procedures, undergoing social processes, applying certain tools, conducting participatory workshops, enhancing medium or long-term processes towards increased participation.

Having composed a definition of facilitation, then discuss with the participants the role and performance of the person who undertakes the facilitation, that is, the facilitator.

Role of the facilitator

The facilitator takes a central role in guaranteeing the smooth, goal-oriented and successful running of training activities, as well as the involvement of all participants in such a process. Additionally she/he has the task of creating a positive atmosphere in which participants experience and exercise attitudes and behaviours appropriate to participapotry engagement. Some traits common to good facilitators include:

- being neutral

- keeping personal opinions out of the dynamics of the process.

- being a good observer (keeping an eye on social interaction and content of the work)

- encouraging participants to exercise fair and respective behaviour towards each others - reminding them as often as necessary of the key-principles and attitudes of participatory processes

- being a kind of instrument, maintaining a balance between letting the group work on their own and assisting actively in order to avoid unnecessary detours and friction

B. Input: Facilitation of Training Activities

Facilitation of training activities is less complex than that of ‘real life activities’. It also has a slightly different focus. The latter is primarily goal-oriented. Facilitating training activities, however, is mainly oriented towards achieving an understanding amongst trainees of certain tools and the processes.

Facilitation of training activities

Facilitation in a training context has a special focus. Instead of being mainly output-oriented (like facilitation in real-life situations), the facilitation of training activities is mainly focused on participants' understanding of certain activities, tools and exercises. It is also concerned with connected processes and the lessons to be learned from them.

The first step towards successful facilitation of training activities is the provision of clear working instructions. Visual aids and handouts repeating the tasks of an exercise are very helpful.

When you facilitate an exercise, encourage your trainees to organise the process of working together as team. That means, for example, clarifying the task and the working steps which are necessary to fulfil an objective. It also means setting a realistic time management plan. Remind participants to think about whether or not they want to chose a moderator and assign other roles to the team members. Encourage them to write out their working steps and processes. And ask them to prepare their work for presentation to the group.

During exercises remain with the group, but keep a low profile. Let the group start on their own. Mix in only when you feel that the working process has not started, or the group is lost and needs your support, or alternatively, when the group asks you for additional inputs.

Give participants enough space for discussions. It is more important for them to be clear about where there are difficulties and problems in mapping than for them to create a perfect map exercise.

Within a training situation you should allow a group to take unusual working steps (e.g. interrupt the working process to discuss with a resource person), deviations or even decisions which may be problematic in terms of fulfilling the task they were given. Such experiences can turn out to be very useful learning experiences and trainees may remember them much more clearly than had you simply talked about them.

C. Discussion: Importance of having a debriefing

Invite participants to discuss what they feel is helpful/needed from the trainer at the end of an exercise or a training session. Ask them to consider why it may be important to have some kind of final evaluation. Collect their ideas and list them on a flip chart as a reminder for your trainees.

Closing down a session (Source: adapted from G&F)

The closing down part of a session is the momentum to:

- summarise key findings of the training session

- link the findings of the session to the training objectives

- link the findings of the session to those of past sessions

- add additional important points, hints, or warnings, which are going beyond the actual message of the session

Concerning the overall-flow of the training, the closing down of the session has similar functions as the debriefing of a training activity - it is an official conclusion of the respective session, which prepares trainees for the following ones.

D. Input: How to debrief and close down a session

Build on trainees' remarks during the discussion and present a flip chart or other visual aid on closing down a training session and debriefing. Introduce the ‘helpful questions for a debriefing’ (see below) and invite participants to add others.

Debriefing an exercise

The debriefing is the final part of a training activity and a way to:

- recapitulate and reflect on the process of work

- analyse and explain experiences and results

- answer open questions and clarify difficulties and problems

- draw conclusions and formulate lessons learned from training activities (e.g. exercises, brain-storming, role games, eye openers, etc.).

A debriefing is a vital part of any training activity, which has a message. Through the use of debriefings, you can provide a guarantee that there will be a common understanding among a group of trainees and that the activity has a positive impact on the training success. Even if an exercise did not achieve its intended results, many lessons can be learned from it through a professional debriefing. In the didactic sense, a debriefing helps help trainees to conclude certain learning step, to understand their role in the course of the training session and to clear their minds for the following one.

A debriefing should be given after each activity. However there can be no rigid rule. Sometimes sub-activities within a session may constitute a logical entity and can be debriefed separately or jointly at the end of a sequence of steps.

The trainer has the responsibility of setting up and managing a useful debriefing. Once participants have understood the role of a debriefing, they can do it on their own. However even with experienced trainees, the facilitator can support the process by asking guiding questions and leading the stream of discussion to key-points and lessons. See below some examples of introductory guiding questions.

Helping questions for a debriefing

on the process

- what happened?
- what did you feel?
- what was your impression of the collaboration?
- how was the atmosphere and why was it so?
- which were the activities/persons that influenced the process?
- what have you learned and what do you feel, you still ought to learn?

on the contents

- was the task clear?
- which were your working steps?
- which are your results and how did they come up?
- which steps were easy?
- where did you meet difficulties?
- what have you learned and what do you feel, you still ought to learn?

During the process of debriefing, the trainer/facilitator should try to keep a low profile. Questions should not be answered immediately, but be reflected back to the group. The solution of a problem should come from the group itself, while the facilitator supports the participants with guiding questions.

Facilitators should encourage trainees to freely participate,. He/she should also keep trainees from making general judgements such as "this is wrong" or mutual accusations such as "it was just your fault, that...". The facilitator should point out what has been done well and emphasise on the fact. Even deviations or tensions during group work can be pointed out to have a value within the training context, because one can always learn and improve from such situations.

In ending a session record on flip-chart the important lessons learned during the activities of the unit and make them part of the final wrap-up of the session as well as the workshop documentation.

Session 8: Monitoring and Evaluation of Training Workshops

This session provides tools to monitor the run of training workshops with an eye to adapting training activities to the actual requirements of the workshop. It also provides techniques to evaluate the results of a workshop so as to make improvements in future training measures.

Key Issues

Proposed Training Strategy:

A. Introduction: "Cloud Dreamer"

Refer back to the "Cloud Dreamer" (in session no. 1) and ask participants why the performance of the man is so poor and what could have been done to improve the situation. Ask them to think of parallels between the "Cloud Dreamer" and the trainers within a training workshop. Solicit their thoughts and encourage them to talk about the importance of observing and reflecting upon training processes.

Relevance of monitoring and evaluation in a training context

Monitoring and evaluation techniques are an important and vital part of any successful and professionally conducted training workshop. These tools help trainers to constantly check and adapt:

The earlier you know whether or not your training is what the participant are hoping, the better your chances of reacting to the situation and adapting the training context accordingly

Furthermore, the feedback from trainees can be a precious source of information to improve your own capacities as a trainer. If you receive critical remarks, try to avoid taking a defensive, offended stance. Deal with these comments openly and honestly. You will find, in most cases, that the feedback you received was right-to-the-point, and offers you the chance to learn from your mistakes.

Using a flip chart, work out with the participants a common definition for "monitoring" and for "evaluation".

Definitions: Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring a training workshop means to constantly observe and analyse what is happening during the workshop in terms of learning and social processes. This is vital in order to be able to react and adapt as early as possible to tensions or problems. It can also be used to become aware of particularly successful phases in the workshop, where the mood and learning processes are especially good in order to replicate them in the future.

Evaluation is an activity which is carried out ‘ex post facto’, after the event. It can help to establish:

- what was good or bad within the workshop (for example, your performance as trainer, the topics discussed, the atmosphere, etc).

- an analysis of why it turned out as it did.

- conclusions about what has been learned and how it can be applied in future work

B. Brainstorming: "How to do it"

Ask participants to come up with ideas on how to monitor and evaluate the success of training workshops. Encourage them to talk about their own experiences in training workshops they have attended in the past. Allow them also to be creative in their suggestions. Collect all their ideas together on a flip chart and come up with a brief description.

C. Input: Tools and Techniques

Add to the results of the brainstorming exercise by introducing additional tools and techniques for monitoring and evaluation. Mention, that there are many informal ways of monitoring and evaluating. Among them are sorrow observation of trainees, informal chats during breaks, and critical self-assessment.

Critical Self-Assessment (Source: PL&A)

Conducting training sessions or workshops in participatory methods is always exhausting. If you are new to training, then you will be surprised at how tired you feel at the end. Make sure that you have space and time to recover.

Do not organise workshops back to back. Immediately after the workshop is a critical time to learn from the experience, even though you will be tired. If you wait, you will forget many learning points. You can learn through self-reflection or by asking participants for comments.

It is an excellent habit to make notes on your performance as soon as possible so you can improve next time. Analyse the good and bad points by reviewing each session thoroughly. How could it be done better next time? How accurate was the time-keeping? Were you able to maintain the interest of the trainees?

Focus in particular on the weak points of your performance. It is from mistakes that we can learn most. Why did some parts not work well? Would a change of style or substance have helped? Were you responding to the participants’ needs? Or were there peculiar conditions or factors involved? Think carefully about the detail. Your audience was learning from you; and you can now learn from them how to do an even better job next time.

Make a list of the things you know you do not do well. This is not easy. For many people, it is easier to focus only what went well. Did you, for example:

A good way to learn from your trainees is to ask them to evaluate you. This can be done formally with a written evaluation of their overall training experience. Do not ask more than one or two pages of questions. You could ask them specific questions about the content and organisation of the overall workshop, relevance of the content for their work, the trainer’s style and preparedness and the logistical arrangements and adequacy of the venue.

Another way to evaluate a workshop would be to ask them to comment on each of the major sessions in terms of its organisation, content and style. Still another approach would be to ask open questions:

"What did you find most useful about the training?
What did you dislike about it?
If you were organising a training of this kind, then what would you do differently?
What would you do the same way?"

You may also want to leave space for any additional comments people would like to make.

However you structure the evaluation form, ensure that you leave sufficient time for the participants to consider and respond to the questions. It is generally advisable to distribute the forms a day or two before the end of training. If you wait until the very end, the responses will be hastily written and less thoughtful. Ask them to fill it in the forms before they leave, otherwise you may never see their comments.

Remember that only you and a selected group of other people (typically the organisers) will have the opportunity to read the written evaluations once they have been completed. Therefore, in addition to asking the trainees to complete a formal evaluation, you may want to set aside time for an informal plenary discussion to receive comments about any aspect of the training. This gives each person the opportunity to express his or her views, whether positive or negative, so that the other participants can hear them. This need not take more than 20 minutes, but it is advisable to leave some time for a free-ranging evaluation.

Another way to make evaluations is through public exhibitions. You can prepare a set of questions, written up on a chart and stuck up on a wall. Each participant then enters his/her comments under the appropriate question. These questions are useful for rapid feedback:

The following tools and techniques (see the annex) have been shown to be very helpful for monitoring and evaluation in the context of participatory training workshops:

Emphasise the point to your participants, that neither monitoring nor evaluation have any value if the results are not followed up. If you analyse the successes and weaknesses of your workshop with input of your trainees and then don't respond as the results demand, participants will most probably feel aggrieved. This is quite understandable, because you would be giving the impression that you care, but in reality doing nothing would indicate that you are not interested in their opinion.

SECTION C - Attitudes & Behaviour in Participatory Processes

Session 9: Creating awareness of attitudes and behaviour

This session introduces information on attitudes and behaviour which can help or hinder the participatory processes. It shows, how training workshops can create awareness and enhance the first initial process of positively changing attitudes and behaviour.

Key Issues

Proposed Training Strategy:

A. Role-Play: Recognising Different Attitudes and Behaviours

The trainers perform 6 different short role-plays. They should show six different attitudes and behaviours:

passive attitude,
dominant communication behaviour
poor listening behaviour.

Divide participants into three observing groups, and assign each to analyse 2 of the role-plays each. Hand out the pre-prepared task-sheets for exercise B. One group should act as specialists for "perception" (intolerant attitude & inflexible attitude), a second should assess "oneself and others" (top-down-attitude & passive attitude), and the third, "communication" (dominant communication behaviour & poor listening behaviour). Chose as an example a situation which is well known from the personal and cultural context of your trainees. For example, the trainees could role play a discussion between a sheepherder and a government official concerning the possibilities of gaining access to government controlled grassland (plantations).

B. Exercise: Analysis of Attitudes and Behaviours

This exercise is aimed at getting the participants to analyse the role-play. Prepare a task sheet, showing the following questions:

- how would you characterise the behaviour of person x?
- what could be the reasons/root causes for such a behaviour?
- why could such behaviour be a hindrance within a participatory process?
- which behaviour would be more positive instead?

Hand out the sheets before the presentation of the role-plays in order to give the an opportunity to read and be clear about the task analysis expected of them. Let the sub-groups work on their analysis separately and then hold a common debriefing.

C. Input: Approaches to Change Attitudes and Behaviours

Prepare a presentation showing factors, which can influence attitudes and behaviour in the context of participatory processes. Introduce the relevant information to create awareness about obstacles to changes of attitudes and behaviours together with the respective tools to do so. Combine this with the introduction of approaches how to implement and experience changes of attitudes and behaviours.

Background text on challenges in changing attitudes

Enhancing a change of attitudes is fundamental in order to encourage participatory processes among persons and groups who are not used to working and acting together in a co-operative and non-hierarchical way.

A small number of fundamental attitudes provide the basis for all participatory processes:

- mutual respect

- acknowledgement of each others' needs, rights, and abilities

- validity of each others opinions as well as the connected behaviour

This sounds like a very trite remark, but in reality, the lack of such attitudes seems to be the biggest problem hampering participatory processes.

Therefore it is vital to encourage attitude and behavioural changes rather than introducing as many participatory tools as possible during a training workshop on participation.

Personal Level Challenges

Changes of attitudes and behaviour are processes which take much longer than the duration of a workshop. But the workshop is the framework within which you can create awareness and start developing new attitdues and behaviour. Once your trainees are sensitised to such changes and have agreed to implement them permanently, there are some tools and techniques, which allow for a continuous development towards new attitudes (see session 10).

There are 3 major factors of attitude and behavioural patterns which strongly influence a person's ability and readiness to get involved in participatory processes:

Factors influencing attitudes and behaviours in participatory processes

These factors are intimately connected the persons involved in participatory processes. They can buildup or destroy the basis of the participatory process. They should therefore be addressed thoroughly in any participatory training workshop.

When you provide training to enhance participation, make sure that you dedicate at least a quarter of your training time to changing attitudes and behaviour. Ensure sure that this topic comes up again and again during the workshop; introduce techniques to sensitise participants to each others’ behaviour and repeat them as often as possible. In your presentation on the factors which can influence attitudes and behaviour, use some of the relevant particpatory tools found in the annex, such as the eye openers.

Discuss the content of your presentation with the participants. Ask them to tell you about their own experiences concerning attitudes and behaviours and ask them to suggest tools which may be useful. Then put forward those tools, which they may not have mentioned. Emphasise again the importance of repeatedly returning to these attitude and behaviour changing tools.

Tools and Approaches to Induce Attitude and Behavioural Changes in a Workshop

Many trainers have difficulties in concretely addressing attitudes and behaviours within training workshop. They feel, that they can't do much about it and hope that changes will arise automatically, once participants are confronted with participatory philosophies and tools. However, there are concrete tools and approaches to create awareness about attitudes and behaviour (see table).

Observed Attitude/ behaviour

intolerance/ inflexibility

superiority/ inferiority

domination/ misunderstanding

underlying factor

differing perceptions

assessment of oneself and others

communication/ interaction


create awareness about:

- complexity of reality

- selective perception due to personal background

- different perceptions due to unequal selection

- different rationality behind actions or decisions

- legitimacy of these differences

- enrichment of processes resulting from these differences

create awareness about:

- worth of each and every person participating

- feelings of inferiority/superiority due to age, social status, wealth, education etc.

- different perceptions and their legitimacy

create awareness about:

- participatory communication

- real "listening"

- mutual respect

- taking each others and each others ideas serious

- sensitise for processes

- transparency

- relaxed atmosphere

- mutual trust

- communication problems (interrupting, wrong listening, neglecting ideas)

- learners' types (visual, audio)


- Apple

- Bird/Rabbit

- Hs and Ks

- Assorting people

- Circle Game

- Whisper Game

- greeting in unknown language

- Controlled Dialogue

application/ experience

- group work observation

- discussion and debriefings

- professional facilitation

- monitoring and discussing about processes

- instruments: VIPP/Energisers/teamwork-guidelines

- cushion/ball

- professional facilitation

- teamwork guidelines

- basic rules, e.g. "every idea counts"

Session 10: Processes of changing attitudes and behaviour

This session provides an overview of different phases in changing attitudes and behaviour. It proposes some approaches on how to start creating an awareness and rethinking of attitudes and behaviour. It also promotes a further process of enhancing such changes beyond a training workshop.

Key Issues

Proposed Training Strategy:

A. Input: Phases of Changing Attitudes and Behaviour

Introduce the ‘phases’ model (see below) to your participants and describe the characteristics of the different phases. Ask participants to adopt this model

Phases of Changing Attitudes and Behaviour

As a trainer you have to be aware that a workshop alone will not be sufficient to sustain attitudes and behaviour change towards greater participation. Such a process of change consists of different phases and you have to think of how you can best support the proceedings from phase to phase, and beyond the workshop.

Phase 1: Awareness Creation/"Eye Opening"

This is the first contact of the trainees with a certain topic/problem. Give them the chance to have an emotional response - a chance to be surprised and curious about the topic - before you give further information. Good tools to do so are Eye-openers, Role Plays, Energizers.

Phase 2: Information Phase

Once your trainees have had preliminary exposure and are curious about the topic, they will probably be interested in hearing some theoretical input about it. In connection with such input, you can also provide some tools or guidelines, which can help them to deal with the respective topic in a working situation.

Phase 3: Experience/Application

Make your whole training workshop a context that allows your trainees to experience the advantages of participatory processes again and again. Let them feel how positive it is with:

every idea counting,
people listening to each others
mutual respect expressed for each others opinions
work taking place successfully in a team.

You can greatly influence these experiences. Try to observe processes carefully and sensitise your trainees (without blaming them) to behaviours and expressions of attitudes which are not conducive to participatory processes.

Phase 4: Institutionalisation/Further Process

It should be quite straightforward to agree on a certain code of behaviour among all the participants during a training workshop. Many ideas are new to your trainees, the atmosphere is positive, and they are open and curious. However, the task of maintaining the newly acquired behaviour and attitudes after the end of the workshop - when people get back to their usual daily working environment - is much more challenging.

Give them instruments and tools to monitor and evaluate their own behaviour and attitudes after the training workshop. Encourage them to create institutions such as monthly meetings to exchange experiences and to distribute clear responsibilities among themselves concerning these institutions. If possible, provide them with further supervision within their working environment and organise follow-up training.

B. Exercise: Approaches to Support the Different Phases

Refer back to the discussion of personal level challenges (see session 9). Divide participants into four groups and invite them to deal with one phase each. Let them think of additional approaches on how a trainer/process facilitator could support the changes within the respective phases. Ask them also to talk about the appropriate frame to implement the respective approaches. Discuss the different ideas and, if necessary, add to these with further proposals on tools and techniques.

Approaches and Frame for the process of changing attitudes and behaviour

C. Application: Strategies to Work on own Attitudes and Behaviours

Clarify first, that this step is neither a game nor an exercise, but an activity, which is leading over to the "real life after the workshop". Ask participants to come up with proposals, how to divide themselves into groups for this activity. The criteria for persons being together in one group should be, e.g. that they are working together or that they are working in the same region. Ask the groups to develop a strategy on how they want to institutionalise their personal efforts of maintaining and further improving attitudes and behaviour, which are conducive for participatory processes. Ask them to define a set activities and responsibilities with this in mind. Emphasise the importance of coming up with a realistic plan, which is feasible even after everyone has returned to their original work. Consider carefully the feasibility of their plans during the debriefing, adding practical hints to encourage participants to adopt and implement these plans outside of the workshop setting.

SECTION D - Facilitation in the Field

Session 11: Facilitation in the Field

This session provides a brief overview of the many different tasks a trainer has to fulfil when facilitating group work in the field. Unlike the facilitator of training exercises (see session 7), the field work facilitator is under pressure to support the respective group in producing concrete results. Additionally the facilitator has to aim to guarantee a positive working atmosphere for, sometimes, very large groups of people.

Key Issues

Proposed Training Strategy:

A. Exercise: Comparing Tasks and Challenges

Divide participants into groups, let them have a look at the responsibilities and challenges of a training facilitator and invite them to elaborate on the differences between them and those of a facilitator in the field. Encourage them to think especially about tasks and responsibilities which are not so obvious. Use a flipchart to record the group’s findings and synthesise these points into a common list, adding further points, if necessary.

B. Brainstorming: What Makes a Good Field Facilitator

Invite participants to remember situations where they facilitated a group process or saw other persons facilitating them in the field. Ask them to give their ideas on what makes a good field facilitator and also what a good facilitator should avoid.

Basic Rules For Facilitators (Source: FAO Participation Website)

There are some basic steps which can help in fulfilling the complex task of a facilitator (they must be adapted each time to the respective on situation):

1. Make sure that there is a positive working environment (e.g., enough space and light, appropriate temperature, minimal outside disturbances, necessary equipment readily available, well-prepared agenda, visual materials, handouts etc).

2. Try to get prior information on all participants in order to be able to assess their strengths and weaknesses thus providing optimal support to each of them.

3. At the beginning of a working session, ask participants to introduce themselves (if time/group size does not allow for that, give an overview of which groups/professional backgrounds are represented). Then present the agenda/purpose/goal and timeframe of the meeting in a visual form and allow time for questions, followed by comments, contributions, and suggestions for additions and changes.

If you are dealing with a group that is going to work together for more than one session, introduce team work rules (see module IV, session on team work) and propose that group members decide upon a team contract. This would be a set of rules decided upon by the group which regulates how they want to be treated, how they will behave with each other and so on. (Such a "team-contract" is a very helpful tool to refer back to in the event of conflict or friction).

4. If the group is not familiar with VIPP (Visualization In Participatory Processes, see xy), briefly explain the advantages and introduce the (visual) VIPP-rules. Then let the group decide, whether or not they want to use VIPP.

5. Invite the participants to discuss, and if necessary adapt a proposed agenda and then start work according to this agenda - offer proposals on working procedures and tools to be used, but do not insist or feel offended if the group decides on something else. Encourage quieter persons to contribute and tactfully restrict those who tend to talk too much. Continue to guide the group from a distance checking that they stick to the subject, to their way of dealing with each other, and to their timeframe. If necessary assist them in taking common decision to change any of the above.

6. At the end of the session, give a (visual) summary of achievements and pending issues. If necessary, let the participants decide on the next steps and those who will be responsible to initiate them. If they wish to do so and if time allows, let participants talk about their perception of the process and how it might be improved during another working session.

C. Application: Trainees Facilitate Tools

This part of the learning process is the hardest, as participants will have to put into practice what they have learned and then they will be confronted with a feedback situation. They should now, one after the other, facilitate their colleagues use of different PRA-tools. They should each receive feedback on their performance. Ideally the contents of the exercises should refer to the real-life, working situations of the participants and result in practical outputs, which may be used in the future.

Although this is a very time-consuming activity, it is worthwhile since newcomers learn to observe themselves and to recognise their strengths and weaknesses as facilitators. It makes sense to offer this exercise as part of intermittent training, perhaps one such exercise day per week.

Emphasise that these applications have a second objective: they will train participants in sensitivity and observation skills as well as skills in giving constructive feedback. This is of great value in their role of future trainers.

The feedback should consist of three parts:

Prepare a guide list of points to be observed (see example below). If you have the technical possibility to use videos, it can be of great help for the participants to see themselves facilitate and for you as trainers to do debriefings.

1. Self-evaluation

Invite the respective participant to sit down in a quiet corner after his/her facilitation experience and write down everything he/she observed during the process. This first summery should be a rough draft (what was good - what was bad). Then he/she should go through the detailed observation guide list and repeat the exercise. The last step might be the video - if the exercies was taped - and refining the written observations.

2. Feedback from other group members

Avoid holding an open feedback round, as it can be hurtful and embarassing for the person in question. Rather let all group members read through the guide list for observation and note down their comments on a piece of paper during the process and additionally after the session. Emphasise that positive comments are as important as negative ones. Collect all comments, check them for fairness and keep them for the feedback discussion with the participant.

3. Feedback from the trainers

Sit together in a quiet place, just you and the person to receive the feedback. Mention first, that no facilitator starts off as a good facilitator. To be a good facilitator requires along process of practice, evaluation, and critical self-reflection. Emphasise, that in this context, no mistake is a bad mistake, as long as one is prepared to learn from it.

Invite the participant to offer his/her own observations, starting with what has been good. Then add the observations of other group members as well as your own. If there is a large discrepancy between self-assessment and the perception of others, try to discuss, why this is so (if there is a video of the event, have a look at it together). Discuss the negative observations in the same sequence. Then invite the participant to come up with his/her lessons learned and add to these, if necessary.

Guidelines for Observation

Observation as a basis for feedback should address facilitators' performance in supporting: a positive group process and working atmosphere a well-structured working process (keep the group on track and reach certain results within the given time)

Guide Questions for Observation of Group Processes

- was the working environment/sitting arrangement positive - if not, did the facilitator try to improve it?

- do you have the impression that all group members were clear about the task/exercise/tool they were to carry out?

- did all group members participate equally?

- Did the facilitator try to encourage quieter participants?

- were there persons dominating the discussion - did the facilitator try to reduce their influence?

- were all ideas taken up and discussed - were they all equally taken into consideration?

- Was their tensions within the group - was there a sense of achievement or disappointment, or frustration?

- did the group look after the less experienced/less well informed persons?

- were there factions emerging or opposing subgroups? - did the facilitator attempt to bring about a general rapprochement?

- did all participants seem to be following the topics being discussed?

- did the facilitator succeed in balancing guidance with low profile managment? How?

Guide Questions for Observing the Working Process

- how did the facilitator explain the activities to be undertaken?

- was there an agreement on the steps to be taken and the timeframe?

- did participants start work immediately or was there some reluctance - if so, how did the facilitator respond?

- what did the facilitator do to enhance progress (e.g. technical hints, examples)?

- were there deviations or side-discussions which did not contribute to the actual objectives of the task - if so, how did the facilitator resolve the situation?

- where there problems within the working process - if so, what kind of solutions did the facilitator offer?

- did the facilitator help participants to keep an overview on the process, e.g. by summarising different opinions or common achievements?


· feedback is preferably just between two persons

· if you provide feedback, imagine yourself in the position of the receiver

· watch the other person carefully and try to make sure that you are not upsetting him/her

· give personal messages, so called "I-messages". In other words, make it clear that what you say is just your personal opinion. Start your statements with "I have the impression that..." or "It seems to me, as if..."

· avoid statements like "you always do..." - refer to concrete situations instead. For example "when you were talking about xy, you did..."

· try to avoid adjectives which have a strong negative connotation, like "bad", "boring", "wrong" as they will probably hurt the feelings of the other person and thus distract attention or create a defensive reaction. Rather talk about effects on yourself. For example instead of saying "Your presentation was boring" you could say "In my opinion, your presentation could have been more lively - therefore, it was difficult for me to concentrate at times"

· adapt your feedback to the personality of the other. For example, a very self-confident person may tolerate stronger words and clearer messages, while a person who is already very critical and unsure about his/her own style of facilitation, might feel a complete "loser" if you come up with strongly adverse comments.

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