First Steps

From Competendo - Tools for Facilitators
Revision as of 16:57, 12 January 2019 by Nils.zimmermann (talk | contribs) (Needs Exploration)
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For the successful beginning of a learning process we suggest to keep three standard building blocks in mind. Some need assessment is suggested, then an activity on personalities, expectations, and expertise. Before starting with more in-depth work, the common principles of cooperation need to be clarified together or made transparent by the facilitator.


Needs Exploration

At the beginning of a seminar or unit start with the needs of participants, institutions and facilitators. Our opportunity is to make the seminar tailored to the participants' and stakeholders' needs and to agree about the common learning experience.

Dynamic Research

A very effective "4-minutes questionnaire" for the beginning of a training.


Trainers and participants sometimes have different expectations and wishes towards a training. Therefore, it is needed for all involved persons to share at the beginning of the training their expectations. In this way trainers and participants can agree upon certain things and disappointments can be avoided.

Five fingers-expectations

Facilitating a conversation on expectations of participants and facilitators toward a common learning event, giving the human needs place.

Establishing Good Working Conditions

Another basic issue is to shape the ground for good collaboration. A space for deep and holistic learning requires trust, transparency and the cooperation of all people involved. This includes the basic rules or working principles, with a collective negotiation of these rules, and as well learning the names through "name games".

Three basic rules

We provide a STOP, discretion and disagreement rule as basic agreements on the working style.

Code of Conduct

A seminar is an island and we imagine ourselves to be stranded on this island. Now we have to find our own rules.

Trustbuilding: What facilitators can do

Trust helps people get involved and to integrate in a seminar group. What can facilitators do to support participants in mobilizing trust and a willingness to


Methods for Trustbuilding

A collection of methods mostly including body contact help to build relations among participants.

Tips for Increasing the Participants' Levels of Ownership and Involvement

Here come five easy and straightforward methods for boosting the participants' involvement in the training organization, delivery and evaluation and thereby increasing their sense of ownership.

The Nail Game

The following activity provides an opportunity to discuss the attitudes in team work and prerequisites of a fruitful team work.

Name Games and Getting to Know Each Other

You’ve already learned a lot about your participants by discussing their needs and basic working principles. It is essential to a good working atmosphere that both the trainer and the participants know everyone’s names and the correct pronunciation. The deeper sense behind these name games is that learners may interconnect independently of the teacher, and that they build trust, which is a precondition for deeper experiential learning later on.

Name Games

A collection of basic methods to support participants in remembering each others names.

First Evening

A collection of methods for a common first evening for a good start of your training.

Games for Getting to Know Each Other

As the title says: A collection of games for getting to know each other.

Creative Hunting

An activating method for teambuidling.

Cultural Shock

This method is a brief introduction about intercultural differences and cultural shock.

Time Machine – updates in group

This method facilitates the process of coming together as a group.

Personalities, Beliefs, and Expertise of Your Participants

Trainers and participants start the seminar with very different expectations and requirements. Therefore, in addition to a needs assessment, it is also necessary for all the people involved to share their field expertise, their specific interests, and their knowledge at the beginning of the training. It is also important to learn about your group’s learning styles and goals. Tools like Democracy Scrabble illuminate on a topic from many different perspectives. They encourage discussion and help cluster words or aspects as a good introduction to work on a complicated topic. The term “democracy” can be replaced by other rich and meaningful terms such as sustainability, mentoring, gender, government...

A Wealth of Experience

This is an exercise to get to know one another on the level of content and to discover knowledge and expertise within a group.

Democracy Scrabble

Students brainstorm in a scrabble style on their associations regarding a key word like "democracy". The method is used for getting ideas into an order, to make different attitudes visible and to become clearer about different aspects of a topic.

Human Rights Quiz

Introduce the Human Rights in an insightful and playful way in groups of all ages.

Word Cloud

This is a tool for collecting associations in small groups or teams. It consists from the steps collecting associations and prioritizing these.

Democracy Circle

An interactive method for learning more about the diverse perspectives within a group on a topic. Here under the question: "What does democracy mean for me personally, what is my relation, am I critical or convinced from it?"

Concept Map

A concept map is a graphical tool for organizing and presenting knowledge and showing links among different concepts. The idea is to create a map throughout the duration of the meeting. As participants add aspects to it every day, it will document the group’s shared knowledge.

Collection of ideas and problems

Two walls function as saving and inspiring places for inspiration, information and findings within a seminar. A wall of ideas and a wall of problems

The Dilemma Exercise

Through bringing the participants face to face with various controversial issues this method fosters deep and engaging discussions

Collegial Inspiration

A person describes a problem he or she wants to solve, and his or her colleagues inspire him or her with their associations and advice.