Why Two Facilitators???
With everyone looking at ways to cut costs these days, this question is heard more and more often. It is a valid question as many workshops are offered with only one facilitator providing the information. So why two?
To begin with, Human Factors (HF) training is not like normal
technical training. It requires that the participants use and apply what they
learned in their workplace in order for it to be worthwhile. A HF participant
could get 100% on a test at the end of the workshop and still not use or apply
any of what was learned. The reason for this is; HF training is considered
"Soft Training." By "Soft Training" we mean that some of
material is open to a certain amount of interpretation versus "Hard
Training" where; 1 foot is exactly 12 inches and no other response is
correct. Thus this "Soft Training" calls for what I term, "a leap
of faith" in order for it to be successful. In other words, HF training
calls for the participants to believe that what the facilitator is saying will
be useful to them to help reduce the chance of them making a human error. This
"leap of faith" or bond between the facilitator and participant is
vital for the success of any Human Factors training. Thus the facilitator is key
to the success of any HF workshop
#1. By having two facilitators, the chances of the "leap of faith" occurring are increased. There will always be some who will not bond or relate to a facilitator. By having two facilitators, you increase the chances that the participant will be able to relate to at least one of the facilitators. I have taught both single and with another facilitator and I note that all the participants are on line sooner with two believers up front versus only one. Itís as if they feel that if more then one believes in this HF thing, there must be something to it.
#2. Having two facilitators will enable more material to be presented and accepted. Many participants have commented on how two facilitators helped keep them awake with the constant sudden change in voice. It is well known that a person often has to hear something more then once in order to remember it. Having a second person doing the repeating in a slightly different way is much more efficient and effective. Thus having two facilitators enables more material to be presented and more of the material to be retained.
#3. A second facilitator acts as the inspector or auditor who picks up on anything forgotten or missed by the training facilitator. Many a time, my second facilitator has suddenly asked me: "Ok Gordon, but what aboutÖ" That would alert me to the fact that I had missed a point; a point that could make accepting the material a lot easier for some participants. The participants didnít know that I had forgotten something and thought it was all part of the presentation. In fact, at times, we have deliberately asked an obvious question at the beginning so the class believes that it is a normal part of the workshop.
#4. Having the backup facilitator enables the teaching one to not have to worry about referring to notes to ensure he/she hasnít forgotten anything. There is nothing worse then a class that comes to a standstill while the facilitator refers to his/her notes to be sure he/she hasnít missed anything.
#5. Having a second facilitator gives each facilitator a break. This enables the workshop to move at a faster pace. The fast pace helps keep the material from getting boring but requires a lot of energy from the training facilitator. If a facilitator isnít tired at the end of the day, he/she hasnít done their job.
#6. Two facilitators enables, short skits to take place, that vary the mode of training and are very useful in getting a point across in an often humorous manner. It is surprising how many participants will remember the badly acted skit in some past workshop and hopefully the point behind the skit.
#7. Two facilitators will result in more "war stories" that help prove the value of HF training. These examples, often-personal true stories, have a very strong impact on the acceptance of the value of the training. A facilitator who says; "I know someone whoÖ" lacks near the impact of one who says: "This is what happened to meÖ" The value of these should never be underestimated. The sincere right story at the right time serves to drive a point home. Two facilitators, doubles these valuable points.
#8. Two facilitators assisting the teams with the case studies and other team assignments, helps both the participants and the time. In fact, if time is too short, one facilitator can write the responses down while the other draws them out. It takes more time to accomplish the same amount of training with only one facilitator.
#9. A second facilitator can carry a weak or unprepared facilitator. This can make the difference between a workshop being an overall success or failure. We cannot afford to have failures in HF training as the natural negative leaders soon spread the word that it is worthless. If this happens, it is very difficult to overcome.
#10. Two facilitators can become like Laurel and Hardy or Mutt and Jeff, making the workshop fun to participate in. We have been called both and it is a true compliment that means that the participants were truly participating and having some fun at the same time. One alone cannot accomplish this.
So is the expense of two facilitators worth it? Good HF facilitators are worth every penny they earn and to have just one is: "Penny wise but pound foolish." In the long run you will not get the best possible "bang for your buck." The training is costly in productive time lost so it makes sense to ensure that it is the best it can possibly be. This can only be done with TWO facilitators.