Facilitation is Key in Learning Now

As new ways of working are popping up all over the world, so does learning. Agile, scrum, appriciated inquiry and start-up methods are challenging the status quo. This shift is driven out of the perspective to collaborate more. Making space for better, more innovative work and learning! Silos are breaking, networks are forming and co-creation is booming with the purpose to stay. So why is facilitation now more crucial than ever and why are facilitators in such high demand at the moment? Let’s break it down.


Have you ever worked in a team where everything runs smoothly ? It feels great right? But then on the other hand you’ve probably also attended a work session where nothing seems to move forward. You’re making no progress and everyone’s banging their head against the wall. The art of a facilitator is in looking at the session in it’s entire context. Taking in mind to what has been before and what will come after this gathering . Then craft the the perfect learning design loop for that specific session. With a helicopter-view, facilitators look at a problem, offer insights and set a timeframe accordingly. In doing so, the team doesn’t have to think about the process or the politics. This way all the focus is on coming up with the best and most creative solutions.

external facilitator

Before starting any session, it’s vital to set aligned goals with an external facilitator. Why get an external facilitator to do this? The thing is, everyone in life has their own agenda, worries and demands. Therefore having an internal facilitator set aligned goals with the team and protect your journey towards them, has proven to be hard. Facilitators are unbiased and neutral and make sure that everyone on the team is heard and that the team’s shared desired outcome is achieved. Just think about it.



play and positive

Play and positivity has proven to be essential for the workflow. Playing makes you happy which boosts motivation and drive. Without motivated learners, the energy level goes down and our brain starts to drain and away goes the focus. Nobody wants this. Therefore facilitators believe firmly in the power of play. Not only does playing together make the bond stronger between people, it is essential to let creativity and innovation thrive. Through play we practice the possibility of losing and open ourselves up to accept failure, and this realisation is very important in real life. It makes the individuals attending the work session feel more comfortable which allows everyone to unlock their true potential. B. Brown puts it like this: ‘Play is anything that makes us lose track of time and self-consciousness, creating the clearing where ideas are born’.

overprepared but understructured

We think we are prepared, you did the research, followed the method (e.g. design thinking) and are rocking it. But then something happens, a certain tool didn’t land the way you thought it would. They are stuck or an unexpected important conversation throws off your preparation and time schedule. Sticking to the plan can feel useless, and sadly sticking to the chosen method, is often disturbing the process further. Facilitators bring along a massive bag filled with all sorts of tools, hacks and experience in how to facilitate productive and engaging sessions. When something unexpected happens great facilitators can easily adjust their time schedule and use whatever is needed to keep you and your team on track. Facilitation is something different than teaching. The art of facilitation is a craft you can learn as a teacher. Think about it.

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