In the world of training, co-facilitation, or having more than one facilitator deliver the training in the same session, can offer many advantages. It gives the learners an opportunity to experience different training styles and personalities, and it can make the training more relevant and engaging. It can also provide the learners with a broader range of experience to learn from.
Co-facilitating training is like a well-choreographed dance. When done well, it can look deceptively easy. Yet without proper practice and planning, it can result in loss of instructor credibility, confusion, and conflict within the training session. It’s essential that both instructors/facilitators pay attention to individuals and the group dynamics as a whole.
Co-facilitators act as another pair of eyes and ears to observe the group, allowing more opportunity to address any issues that come up during the session. It also allows more time to help the group deal with complex content. Co-facilitator’s have each other as sounding boards for post-course reviews and to determine any tweaks needed for future training sessions.
And of course, having a partner in training allows each trainer time to review their notes for their next part in the session, take a moment to breath, hydrate, and re-energize.
Before you co-teach your next session, here are a few things you’ll want to discuss and iron out with your colleague:
1. Identify who will start the training and how and when the facilitator introductions will be conducted. Include how the instructor credibility will be established.
2. Choose the pieces of content each facilitator will cover and how long it will take to deliver it.
3. Decide when breaks will be scheduled and how long they will be.
4. Practice how and when you’ll change active roles from one facilitator to the other.
5. Determine when and how the off-stage facilitator will support the on-stage facilitator.
6. Decide whether the off-stage facilitator will correct any factual errors or misunderstandings made by the on-stage facilitator.
7. Determine if the off-stage facilitator will act as a demonstrator. If so, review what will be covered by their demonstration.
8. Pre-arrange a cue if the off-stage facilitator will be advancing the slides.
The points above are just the beginning of the foundation of a working relationship between the trainers. “Two heads are better than one” so the saying goes, and co-facilitation can be a valuable training tool when the trainers involved are dedicated and have open communication with each other. Once a solid working relationship is established, the positive results in the training room—especially for the learners—can be amazing!
Learn more about facilitation techniques by enrolling in Langevin’s Advanced Instructional Techniques workshop!
What kind of experiences have you had co-facilitating training sessions? Let me know in the comments below and we can compare notes!