A common question that must be addressed by IEA trainers is: “Is this training or facilitation?” The two approaches are quite different and we suggest that the question be given careful thought as one prepares for a session. In general, training is more focused on content delivery and facilitation is more focused on discovery (i.e., participants going through a process of discovering the content for themselves). The following section is designed to help you think about that distinction. Our basic guidance is that there are many resources available for training, many ways to approach the experience, and your success at any given one will be influenced by your style and preferences, and by your audience.We suggest that as a trainer, you experiment with different approaches and learn which ones are most compatible with your own teaching style. Be diverse and inclusive in accepting ones with which you feel somewhat comfortable. That will allow you to be most adaptable when you enter any given training situation and interact with any given audience.
Within the modules included in this manual, different skills will be needed on the part of the delivery team. In some cases, content inputs and information will need to be structured in a way that the participant can easily assimilate and use it. The trainer who is a content specialist will be valuable to the participant by being able to structure his or her knowledge in a way that is easiest to understand in the training process and apply it to his/her work.
If training involves discussion sequences that help participants to ground the information in their own realities, share their concerns and ideas about applying it to their own contexts, or working with fellow participants to create new understanding of the information offered, then process facilitation would be an appropriate form for delivery. Process facilitation sets a container or frame for an open discussion that is purposeful and helps the participants to make connections for themselves and others, helps them adapt or use the information provided in a self-directed way, and allows for creativity and understanding of the concepts to emerge from the process constructed.
There are many facilitation tools and techniques that can be helpful to a trainer. A simple typology of tools is offered here for consideration: