Facilitarium 2 - art of visual facilitation of learning

Programme and action: Erasmus+ KA1 training course

Dates: 14.09.2016 - 22.09.2016

Venue: Worcester, United Kingdom

Number of participants: 26

Participating countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Spain and United Kingdom

About the project: The following project idea was inspired by numerous conversations with fellow trainers, facilitators, youth leaders and those responsible for organising learning/teaching/training spaces. To be more precise, the inspiration came from such simple comments as: ‘I am not very creative’, ‘Sorry, my handwriting is not very good’, ‘I hope you are able to read that’ (comment of a trainer after completing a rather messy flipchart), etc. Working with colleagues from around the world we have already heard many of these. This, in turn, made us reflect on why many of us, facilitators of learning, prefer to complain and come up with excuses, rather than work on our teaching/training/facilitating capacities? Do we really believe that we are not creative at all or enough and that there is no hidden potential deep down underneath our overall competences?
The answer to the question became clearer once we discovered so called ‘visual facilitation’ - a way of combining graphics, text and all types of images so as to convey meaningful and goals-oriented messages. Want to know more? Simply google visual or graphic facilitation and you will be blown away ;)

Aim and objectives: Facilitarium 2 will see the implementation of a highly practical, hands-on training course aimed at improving the quality of communication and educational activities of youth NGOs by means of providing their staff with a set of tools and practices for enhanced visual facilitation when organising educational or informational activities in the youth field (training courses, seminars, partners meetings, study visits, exchanges, presentations, meetings etc.).
In order to reach the project aim, the following objectives have been set:
— to explore and better understand the need for visual facilitation of learning in the youth activities nowadays (note: it is important that each of the organisations and participants engaged in the course discover the context in which VF can be used in their own everyday work)
— to equip participants with the variety of tools and methods applicable in visual facilitation and mapping of educational and informational activities in the youth field
— to develop practical skills in using important components of visual facilitation (e.g. shapes, colours, composition, hand-writing, visual metaphors, analysing and summing up of information
— to set up the basis for further development of these skills on individual and organisational level in order to ensure the exploitation of newly gained knowledge for the benefit of NGOs and a variety of learners we work with.

Methodology: The working methods of the training will include typical non-formal education methods, focused on individual and group exercises, workshops, live presentations, discussions, quests for experience and tests for skills, by which we are going to cover all the components of visual facilitation process. Most importantly, though, training course is a hands-on activity which means that project's agenda includes a lot of creative practical tasks allowing participants to reveal their talents and master facilitation skills.

For whom: The very project is looking at intensive capacity building of youth work practitioners and skills development in visual facilitation. Therefore, it is necessary that the attendees are related to the fields of education and youth e.g.
- through the delivery of teaching/training opportunities
- organising workshops
- creating and facilitating development spaces
- leading youth groups, etc.

Expected impact: The proposed project offers a great learning and capacity building potential for participants involved, partner promoters as well as target groups we all tend to work with back home. These are typically young people, as well as occasionally children and adult learners. Here, those attending will be provided with the unique opportunity to develop a set of highly creative and by far innovative competences in visual facilitation of learning. As such, the skills and knowledge gained can be used broadly across various fields, encouraging creativity within meeting rooms, board rooms, workshops, training courses, classrooms and any other places, where visual facilitation of learning is deemed useful. This means that the effects of our joint work are likely to not only target direct partner involved but may stretch out to our local communities as well as any other work carried out by the partners at the regional, national and international level.
We expect that also the proposed project will have significant impact on the participants and partner promoters, thus leading to new ideas and future projects being planned. Here, the process of taking next steps after the project shall be skilfully facilitated and will be incorporated in the training course daily timetable.