Facilitating Groups: Teaching, Learning & Engaging

Dartmouth Facilitation CollageWelcome to Facilitating Groups: Teaching, Learning & Engaging, a series of online video workshops designed to help people better facilitate events and meetings so that participants learn, are engaged and get more accomplished. Participants will learn how use best practice techniques and tools to more confidently and successfully facilitate others. Click to access our online facilitation training workshops program and facilitator tools.

Facilitating Groups is great for people who need to teach something or get results with a group. Workshops will introduce tools and techniques for facilitating group discussion and activities. Participants will engage in different types of facilitation and discussion and identify the challenges that they expect to face. This is relevant for both students and professionals. I show people how I do what I do in these workshops.

Outcomes – You Will Learn How To…

  • Use verbal, paraverbal and nonverbal skills to better communicate with your group.
  • Foster group relationships while accomplishing a task.
  • Use various specific tools to create an interactive session.
  • Design and give a facilitation session.
  • Use the Experiential Learning Cycles to guide participants to reflect.

Included Workshop Modules

Workshop Module 1: Theories of Learning and Engagement for Group Facilitation
Workshop Module 2: The Group Facilitation Experience
Workshop Module 3: Group Facilitation Tools and Activities
Workshop Module 4: Facilitation Design

Access our online facilitation training workshops program and facilitator tools.

What do people say they learned from this online series of facilitator training workshop modules? Just read some of the reflections and comments are students in the program have shared.

“I found this workshop to have interesting ideas to make facilitating a workshop a better experience for all involved. I found really interesting the Positive Outcome Impact and what effects that. It is true that when you are working with a group you have to asses the level of comfort. I have spoken to a group on service and I liked the style of asking them questions. But because their comfort level was not very high it made them less likely to want to speak up. I liked how the video gave other tools to help with that and get groups to know so that in the end groups would be more willing to “free for all”. I would probably use an activity like “around the horn” when first talking to a group. With the same group they were sitting down the whole time while I stood up. I really enjoyed the part about standing up within the discussion even if it is just standing up to poll instead of just having participants raise their hands. I imagine a workshop about service and know I would now like to incorporate some key points. One would definitely be active participation. I liked the idea of a group standing up to talk such as having think-pair-share by getting up with their partner and moving to another side of the room. This not only gets them more active but could help their comfort level because they are not required to get in front of the group. I would also make sure after having them discuss to come back and as group talk about it whether using the tool of “questionize” or another tool like free for all if the groups comfort level is high enough. At the end of all the activities I would make sure to reflect on what was talked about in the hopes that the participants can realize what happened, why what we talked about was discussed and where real world application could occur. Using tools learned in this module I feel as though can more thoroughly facilitate a discussion and improve the overall experience.”

“I really appreciated the way you made sure to fuse the importance of active learning (e.g. saying & doing, saying & reading, etc.) and the differences individuals have between their own ways of activating their learning. Furthermore, I thought it great the way you recommended smaller group sizes to increase overall involvement. When I had to give presentations in high school I used a very similar method to necessitate group involvement. I look forward to implementing these ideas again with certain improvements (e.g. using more multiple-intelligence-centric games as opposed to the traditional quiz/reflection games).”

“I really enjoyed watching this online workshop. I really thought that the Cone of Learning was helpful. Most things that I remember are ones that I say and do instead of reading or hearing about them. The idea of how people learn differently can help if I have to facilitate a group too. Sometimes it is easy to just do what you know instead of thinking about engaging the whole group. Through group experiences I’ve had in the past, the best ones were groups that formed a bond and were set on completing a task without steering to far off course. Some of the tools that stood out to me were brain rain, because I used to do this in my creative writing class. It can be a really helpful tool in the future. Another was think-pair-share because it gives people the ability to work together in smaller groups and engage before combining with the larger group. Finally, the one that I would use most is stand and move.”

“I really enjoyed watching each video in this online workshop. I found module three to be most enjoyable to listen to because I could relate it to the majority of the situations I face in my life. I found the group facilitation tools and activities to be very useful when thinking of the group projects, clubs, and internships I take part in. Although it seems to be common sense, many do not know the proper way to facilitate a group meeting because there are so many things to consider! The Cone of Learning was another great aspect of this presentation because it finally showed me why I could never retain any information. The way that these videos were set up and presented had a greater impact on me than most of my teachers and professors have had throughout my life. I plan to use these tips at my next club meeting! After watching these videos I now understand the importance of a cohesive group and exactly what tasks to perform with a group in order to have a high impact and a positive outcome. Thank you!”

“I really enjoyed watching those video and learning how to prepare a completed meeting for my audiences and my peers. Also I have learned about how to engage different people who has different talented skills. I also discovered the information about the three types of communication which was so helpful since I tend to have communication anxiety. The tips I have learned will really help me when dealing with the group work. Now I think I have some great techniques to work with individual or group. thank you Darin!”

“I am not much of a group facilitator, and therefore do not know much about it. I have given a few group presentations though and have worked facilitating a class during the presentation. During these, I often find myself lecturing or having a hard time finding ways so that the class will be engaged. This work shop taught me the different styles of learning and different ways to focus on different learning styles. Also I liked the different kinds of verbal communication, I feel like I need to especially work on them. For example, my paralanguage can say a lot about how I feel about the topic, and hopefully get others to be excited about the topic as well. I think that if you sound interesting, people will be interested. But not only is the topic important, the relationships you build with the fellow group members is important too. I thought the name tags was a good idea and connecting with people on a personal level can make the group more enjoyable and comforting.”

“As someone who does have some experience in facilitating group discussions, I am always looking for new tools and techniques to add to my repertoire of activities to help discussions flow, and this workshop helped me to do that effectively. I enjoyed a lot of the little activities introduced to improve the group dynamic, especially the use of objects to energize and reinforce talking points, which is something I’ve noticed that is effective in my own discussions. I think encouraging people to get involved through activities is one of the most important things you can do as a facilitator, so activities such as think-pair-share and role play can be invaluable tools to elicit higher level thinking and help to retain the information gained during the group discussion.”

“I enjoyed this video series. As someone interested in marketing and business the video gave great tips on facilitating group discussion. I realize that although I tend to take the lead in a group setting, it is important that I better facilitate a conversation and group dynamic for others to participate and offer incite. I especially liked the tip about name tags. I know from working with children the importance of knowing someones name when communicating with them.”

“Some of the things I learned to further improve my future workshops or presentations is to focus on my verbal, para-verbal, nonverbal language. What I specifically need to focus on is my para-verbal language. As the comfort in my presentations rise I communicate better para-verbally, but I need to work on how I talk in the beginning minutes when I am more nervous. Another aspect of how I can facilitate my workshops more efficiently is from the multiple intelligence theory. In my future presentations I will integrate a variety of different interactions so that I connect to all of my listeners learning styles. This workshop was very interesting and shows easy to use techniques to further my leadership skills.”

“I really enjoyed this workshop and it really opened my eyes about group facilitation. I especially liked learning about the different types of intelligence and how you can incorporate different activities to engage different types of people. This was really interesting because before this workshop I did not really know how to approach/ work with people who have different learning styles. The different forms of communication were also very interesting, I found this interesting because it was nice to put a label to the different types of communication. Throughout high school my teachers always emphasized verbal, paraverbal, and nonverbal communication but they never specifically named the types of communication. I think having a label for each type will help me use each type in a presentation or meeting. Another part of the workshop I liked was around the horn, because I think it would be useful in my own group meetings to get everyone involved and connected.”

“I really enjoyed watching this workshop and have found many components that I think will be extremely helpful for the next time I lead a group activity. I found the “stand and move” part to seem like one of the most engaging techniques to make the group members interact. I will try to engage people in a group using active involvement through different techniques so that the individuals will have a lot more involvement. In the future, I will try to implement closing reflection by using an object since I think it will make the closing more symbolic for the group. The cone of learning is extremely crucial to help facilitate group success, and when facilitating a group I will make sure to break down the group into a small number of people so that the session is more engaging. These techniques and the reverse poll will be perfect tools to implement in the future to help guarantee an engaging group activity.”

“I thought the Cone of Learning diagram was SO influential. I now realize why I did poorly in a class because of the type of learning the teachers chose and the unbearable amounts of listening to them go on and on and not interact with us. I completely believe that after only two weeks we remember:
10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we hear and see
70% of what we say
90% of what we say and DO!”

“The strategies presented helped me a lot! Thank you! There was a particular tip that i had not realized would make a difference. By making name tags for everyone, or just presenting everyone in the room, it was so much easier to facilitate the discussion. By going around the room it made everyone a lot more likely to participate, rather than sit back. A lot of the video’s had small tips that made a big difference while presenting and facilitating the discussion, thank you for bringing it to my attention and giving me a different prospective on group discussions.”

“I found these videos about these different activities to be extremely helpful in preparing for my discussion. I wanted to be able to incorporate the audience into my discussion and get their inputs on what I was discussing. One of the methods that I was very intrigued about using is the Think-Pair-Share method. It will be a great tool to use to get the audience to interact with each other and then come back together as a whole and get insight from everyone else. I also was intrigued to be reminded that not everyone is the same person and each person has their own way of taking in knowledge and so I am more aware of that and tried to incorporate that idea into my roundtable. This workshop helped not only with this roundtable but for future talks that I might have to give in the future.”

“This workshop gave me a different perspective on working with large groups. I noticed that I usually do a lot of the talking when I lead groups because I just assume that people are looking for information and quick answers. However, this workshop really emphasized getting the group involved as much as possible because people do not like listening to lengthy lectures. It made sense that people learn the best with a combination of hearing information and seeing the same information so visual aids are very beneficial. Also, the speaker mentioned that people have different types of intelligence so you can’t treat all group members the same if they learn differently. There were a lot of great tips for group facilitating which I plan on using in the future. I was particularly attracted by the techniques to get the group comfortable with sharing ideas. I think using the around the horn method or reverse polls is a great way to get the group situated with each other and eager to share their opinions. This workshop gave me some good ideas to use for the next time I am facilitating a group and I really saw the importance of getting others involved when holding a leadership position instead of dominating the conversation yourself.”

“I think that these strategies and tips are a great way to keep a discussion. The two particular ideas that drew my attention were the idea of a reverse poll and Think-Pair-Share. I liked the example that was provided in the video. Have all the people stand up and sit down based on how many people they know within the group. This gives the facilitator an idea on how much talking the group will do on their own and how much the facilitator will need to encourage discussion. Also, with Think-Pair-Share, it is a great way to promote discussion amongst the group so it is not just the facilitator doing all the talking. If they do all the talking the group will lose interest. I plan on including those in my round table discussion and other activities that emphasize the bottom layer of the Cone of Learning. I agree with the Cone when it says that the most effective way to learning something is to do it. Keeping the people in the group interested and doing the skills that they are learning is the best thing to do. I think all the tips and tools discussed were great.”

“I found that this workshop has taught me a lot about how to keep an audience engaged and how to help them retain the information presented. Being that people are more likely to remember something when they are actively participating and engaged, I will incorporate methods to get people involved, such as a BrainRain, in my workshop. I like BrainRain especially because a lot of the time when facilitators are to ask a question, there is an awkward silence when people try to think of responses, or when people are hesitant to share what they think of. By incorporating a BrainRain, there will be time to think and reflect about their responses, and they will probably be more likely to share and participate.
Not only this, but I will be sure to incorporate different activities as well to go along with the multiple intelligences and how different people will learn better in different ways. I want to be able to reach everyone, and therefore will have to incorporate different aspects of learning: kinesthetic, visual, audio, etc.”

“This workshop gives a lot of thought provoking techniques to use in out roundtable discussions. A few that really caught my eye were the introductions, around-the-horn, the brainrain, and the use of polls. Introductions would be an important part of my discussion because I want everyone to know each other so everyone feels comfortable enough to share with the whole group. This makes the discussion a lot more personal. Around the Horns would be helpful because you can get everyone’s opinion in a short amount of time. Even if you ask them a question along the lines of “What’s the first thing that comes to mind when…?” Brainrains allow everyone to follow their train of though through a process and then share it with the rest of the group. Finally, polls seem interesting because you, as the facilitator get to learn about your audience and what experiences that they have possibly been through. These tools all engage the entire group and would make for an awesome presentation.”

Access our online facilitation training workshops program and facilitator tools yourself. Begin the program today or email us if you would like this for a group.


Sign up here for complimentary access to the first workshop of the Facilitating Groups program, additional resources and more.  View program pricing here.

Contact Darin@DarinEich.com for more information about customizing and structuring your own program.