Facilitation training at CIAT: A full day of learning-by-doingSep 15th, 2011 | By Simone Staiger | Category: Knowledge Management, Tools & Methods
Last week, my colleague Sophie Alvarez and I trained a group of 23 colleagues from CIAT and the Cali-based Bioversity office in the basics of facilitation.
This was one of several training courses that we offer this year in knowledge management. Other topics that we are covering are: Social Network Analysis,Web publishing and Blogging, Search Engine Optimization, collaborative tools. We have trained more or less 150 CIAT staff and partners since January and still have some sessions planned for this year.
This was the first time we gave a full day training on facilitation. Main topics that we covered in a total of 25 exercises, were:
- Active listening skills (paraphrasing, drawing out, summarizing)
- Use of flipcharts
- Situational designs using cards, prioritization, voting, etc.
- Group dynamics such as world café, open space, fishbowl
- Design of participatory meeting agendas.
This is a lot to cover in one day. However, the constant use of exercises and the absence of presentations made it feasible. We formed groups of 3, 4 or 8 participants and switched the facilitator role constantly. For each 5-minute exercise we prepared a question or discussion topic.
What I most liked about this very dynamic and motivated group was the constant relevant questions that were raised after each exercise and that allowed to cover a lot of ground in a very natural flow of conversation. Some issues that came up: How to handle dominant personalities? How to make sure that everybody has the same understanding of the question / discussion topic? How to combine active listening skills wisely? How to be neutral while fully present with the participants?
Here are some pictures to illustrate the day.
Next week we are off to Uganda for a three day knowledge management training course. We will cover facilitation, online collaboration and participatory monitoring & evaluation. Again, a huge agenda… stay tuned. We are hoping the participants to this HQ course will give us their comments to help us in adjusting the schedule and exercises for their colleagues in PABRA… let us know what you think!