Mastering the Facilitation Process

Mastering the Facilitation Process

Learning Objectives: To know how to effectively use the Kolb Facilitation Model to maximize learning for your group.


  • Create Posters using facilitation guidelines (dark colors for writing, alternating colors, etc.)
  • Understand needs of student group, either through prior assessment or observation
  • Work with co-facilitator to divide tasks/facilitation
    • Have a plan for when each facilitator will contribute. Is there a signal? Will the primary facilitator invite the participation?
  • Be clear about the goal of the session and the main, overarching lesson you are trying to help the group learn.
  • Have several activities in mind to meet the goals of the session.
    • Review the instructions before the session.
    • Ask questions of other staff who have used the activities before for tips and tools.PREP-2
  • Set the appropriate tone for the session, providing goals/overview.
  • Understand participants’ goals/hopes/fears.
  • Try to learn participants’ names. Use nametags and name games. Ensure other participants know the names of group members.
  • Provide some background information on yourself, if this is the first time you are meeting the group.PREP-3
  • By activity, we do not mean to imply that every session must have a game. An activity gets group members interacting with each other, practicing new skills, or engaging in an experiential activity.
  • Any curriculum piece is an activity. What we do not want you do is LECTURE. Ask questions rather than GIVE knowledge. Help them build their own knowledge base and confidence.  Simultaneously, make sure to provide information that they do not have.
  • Be clear in your instructions. Give enough information for the group to understand, with enough freedom for them to solve the problem and be creative.
  • Take notes of interesting actions/comments during the activity.
  • Most activities require some sort of sharing or debriefing.
    • If you have some individual or small group work they probably need to share. Here are some useful sharing strategies:
      • Open sharing (groups share anything and everything)
      • Top 3 most important ideas
      • Individuals share with other individuals
      • Mixed small group sharing
      • Share something from each category (if you have multiple categories like Strengths and Weaknesses)
      • Put all ideas on a post it and place all post-its on a poster. Group similar ideas.
      • No repeats from other groups (combined with another sharing technique).
    • If you have facilitated an experiential activity, your group will need to debrief.

PREP-5Here are some basic guiding principles of debriefing, for a more in depth exploration of debriefing, check out The Debriefing Model.

  • The process of debriefing is about the group’s experience and learning, not about what you hope they learn
  • Have a lesson in mind, but don’t be tied to it
  • Ask questions that help the group find the lesson. This means no leading questions, like “Don’t you think leading and following were important?”
  • Ask more questions than you make statements.
  • Let more than one person answer the question, but don’t let the group run the discussion.
  • Don’t get stuck on any one line of questioning.