Facilitators: Types of Facilitation Services Offered

Facilitators are a remarkably savvy business management resource, enlisted by organizations of all sizes. Understanding the types of facilitation services offered by professionals is an excellent way of determining which fit your specific business goals.

Conference Facilitation and Planning

Conferences are a common way of formally bringing people within a company or industry together to discuss new business ideas and opportunities. These services assist with building program agendas, gathering marketing and promotional materials, and scheduling sessions or speakers. They are highly desired by companies that struggle with time management issues and the amount of planning required to host or attend these conferences.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is an intricate process rather than an event in which a company and coordinator develop a projected long-term goal to increase business productivity. A well-organized strategy enables dialogue, opposition, positive feedback, and the mutual efforts of all internal company departments with a continued focus on the future. Organizations often recruit facilitators to ease the incorporation of a strategic plan during times they expect resistance from employees, such as drastic procedure changes and industry adaptation.

Team Building

Team building is a process used by facilitators and targeted toward increasing cooperation, teamwork, and camaraderie within a work unit to boost employee morale and positive collaboration. As business owners realize each member of a team plays an integral role of the company’s success, professionals are desired to introduce and monitor team building exercises with themes like creativity, brainstorming, problem solving, and trust. Designed to be stimulating, light-hearted and fun, coordinators are often able to pinpoint where a work unit’s social weaknesses lie based on how well they work with or against each other in each situation.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict is often the result of basic differences. Occurring whenever people disagree about personal motivation, perception, value, or ideas within the workplace, an unresolved employee issue can have severely damaging effects on the entire group. Business owners cannot afford to compromise productivity as a result, and strive to rectify the conflict with professional assistance. Conflict resolution services are a valuable part of the facilitation solution for an inevitable problem, offering a neutral party to mediate and settle disagreements diplomatically.

Process Improvement

Process improvement is a systematic approach to help companies fine-tune their underlying procedures to achieve more efficient results. Coordinators take what is normally a tedious and time consuming task off of the business owner’s shoulders to learn about each employee’s role, responsibilities, and method of carrying them out in search of more time and cost efficient ways of operating.

Focus Group Management

A focus group is a form of qualitative research in which an outside group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitude toward a company’s products. Facilitators organize and plan which questions will produce the most beneficial and informative results for a company that may be struggling to meet consumers’ desires and preferences.

Partnering Sessions

Partnering session facilitation services are a professional and ideal means of support for business owners rekindling a former financial and legal partnership, or establishing a brand new professional relationship.

Research-Led Teaching: A Personal Perspective

The fact that candidates for jobs in the United Kingdom higher education sector (UKHEs) are continually asked to make presentations on topics such as ‘What are your views on, and experience of, research-led teaching in education?’, ‘How will your research contribute to the delivery of the University’s Learning and Teaching strategy?’ and ‘Describe how your research will contribute, over the next 3-5 years, to the international teaching profile of this University’, indicates the importance and perennial need to link teaching and research in the UKHEs. Additionally, those employed are encouraged to make their teaching ‘more research-led’. From this perennial desire locally, emerges coined phrases such as ‘research-led’, ‘research informed’ or ‘research enhanced’ teaching, which have now become established jargons in the sector.

One University in its learning and teaching policy defines research-led teaching as that which introduces students to the latest findings in their subjects and develops students’ powers of critical insight and intellectual synthesis. This idea is supported by writers such as Tushman & O’Reilly (2007), Anthony & Austin (2008,) Prichard (2000), and Paul & Rubin (1984) who see the role of research and its connection with teaching as enabling knowledge growth and improving practice and/or teaching.

Embedded in this definition is a reason for engaging in research-led teaching that is, to keep students informed of current developments in their chosen field and to aid the development of a cognitive skill. Another reason for engaging in research-led teaching in education and related careers, include the fact that it enables students to effectively function in many educational and related roles such as (Teaching, Educational Management or Administration in schools, Youth work, Community and Charity work, or the caring professions generally) which require:

  • the skill of critical analysis
  • critically evaluating knowledge
  • making rational judgment in light of good evidence
  • gathering and reflecting on the evidence
  • being creative in light of rapid change and uncertainty (Brew 2010 and Brew, & Boud 1995).

So what exactly constitutes research-led teaching?

To answer this question I pull on personal experience ‘in the field’. My experience in this area involves:

  1. Sharing research with students. I do this in four ways:

One, I use personal research reports as teaching material during classes to enrich both postgraduate and undergraduate students’ learning. For example, my 2001 research on the church school relationship in the Cayman Islands resulted in the publication of a book with a similar title. This book is required reading for a module I teach. During specific sections of the module, the work is discussed and students are encouraged to critically think about, evaluate and challenge the claims made.

Two, during teaching, I utilise personal experiences and anecdotes/stories related to my own research to convey points of interest to students. For example, I might tell of interviewing a research participant and her responses, which betrayed her true belief about an educational issue.

Three, in addition to using personal research publications and personal stories during teaching, there is a list of required and recommended readings provided for all modules I teach. It is my responsibility to research the local archive, libraries, journals, and to order text books for all these modules. These readings are discussed during lessons and used to guide and broaden students’ thinking about the subject being studied and to actively engage them in critical examination of literary sources.

Four, I utilised the knowledge gained and data from own research on reflective teaching to construct face-to-face, online and hybrid modules for undergraduate teacher education students. Examples of my research used are:

  • Reflective Teaching and… (Paperback and Kindle Edition)
  • Reflective teaching: Properties, Tool, Benefits and Support (Paperback)
  • Reflection and Reflective Teaching, A Case study of Four Seasoned Teachers in the Cayman Islands (Paperback).
  • Reflective Teaching as Self-Directed Professional Development: building Practical or work-related knowledge.
  • The Role of Reflection in the Differentiated Instructional Process.
  • Valli’s Typology of Reflection and the analysis of pre-service teachers’ reflective journals.
  • A Reflective Approach to Teaching Practicum Debriefing.

  1. Engaging students in enquiry based learning

Firstly, this involves encouraging students to engage in research by making it a required element of modules I develop and teach. By engaging in a small research project, they develop an understanding of the research process; examine the literature; pass judgement about what counts as evidence, and reflect on the evidence (Brew 2010 and Brew, & Boud 1995).

Secondly, I involve students in personal research. For example, undergraduates were involved in searching the literature which contributed to the production of the following piece: Reflective Teaching, Critical Literacy and the Teacher’s Tasks in the Critical Literacy Classroom (A Confirmatory Investigation).

Thirdly, students are required to produce a final thesis as a course requirement in a department of Education for which I was in charge. This further facilitated their induction in to research, for their involvement in the actual production of a high quality research thesis results in a greater appreciation for, and involvement in the research process.

  1. Researching and Reflecting on own Teaching (Scholarship of Learning and Teaching.

In this approach I am involved in researching and reflecting on my own teaching and the students’ learning via action research or applied research, which involves identifying a learning/teaching problem, researching the problem, applying the solution to my teaching and publishing the results. Current examples of this occurrence are:

  • Encouraging Secondary Students’ Deep Reflection-on-learning: a case for a Reflective Approach to Student Learning Evaluation.
  • Reflective Teaching and Disruptive Behaviour in Regular High School Classrooms in London, England.
  • Teaching Tasks and the composition of a ‘piece’ using music technology in the classroom: Implications for the education and training of teachers.

I reflect on or critically think about my own teaching. Via this process, I reflect on what steps need to be taken to improve the learning and teaching process, using a variety of evaluation methods (i.e., reflective journals, students’ evaluation form, and personal and peer observation) and then act on them in practical ways.

Here are a few strategies for encouraging and enabling research-led teaching

The development of a culture of research is one way of encouraging and enabling research-led teaching in a HEi. This can be achieved by developing and facilitating faculty’s professional development, which enables and encourages them to engage in the ‘scholarship of teaching’. This may include instituting awards /incentives that recognize outstanding teaching, based on researching and/or studying ones’ teaching; developing policy and criteria for this recognition scheme; facilitating in-house training in the area of the scholarship of teaching, and organizing a special lecture series by noted scholars to address the idea of the scholarship of teaching.

Developing or facilitating faculty’s engagement in research and publications is another way to encourage and enable research-led teaching in a HEi. Strategies to encourage this may include: building time in the teaching schedule for faculty to engage in research; providing funding for faculty attendance and participation in local and overseas conferences; developing policies to regulate faculty attendance and participation in local and overseas conferences; providing internal forums for faculty to showcase their research, for example, a lunch hour series that is broadly advertised, where faculty can talk about and present their research ideas for discussion, and present research that they have completed; encouraging internal review of publications that faculty are planning to submit to journals or conferences, and encouraging students’ research by requiring (where appropriate) the completion of a thesis or portfolio.

Other ways to encourage and enable research-led teaching in a HEi is to encourage consultancy work by faculty by showcasing to the local university and wider community their credentials, experiences and achievements; hosting and organizing annual or biannual conferences at the University to address issues relevant to education; and using the University’s website to display faculty research and scholarship achievements.

References

Anthony, E. K & Austin M.J. (2008). The Role of an Intermediary Organization in Promoting Research in Schools of Social Work: the Case of the Bay Area Social Services Consortium. Social Work Research 32(4) 287-294

Brew, A. (2010). Imperatives and Challenges in Integrating Teaching and Research. Higher Education Research & Development 29, 139-150.

Brew, A, & Boud, D. (1995). Teaching and research; establishing the vital link with learning. Higher Education, 29, 261-273

Paul, C.W and Rubin, P.H. (1984) Teaching and Research: The Human Capital

Paradigm. Journal of Economics Education 15(2), 142-147

Prichard, R. (2000) Future Directions for Research in Caribbean Higher Education Institutions. Chapter 11 in Higher Education in the Caribbean: Past, Present & Future Directions. 251-265, ISBN 9789766400798

Tushman, M & O’Reilly III, C. (2007). Research and Relevance: Implications of pasteur’s quadrant for doctoral programs and faculty development. Academy of Management Journal 50(4), 769-774

Easy-To-Use System For Approaching Niche Product

Let’s get started with this interesting fact. You are likely to make more money online selling a niche product rather than a business product. There are just too many people trying to promote a self improvement on business product these days. You are better off selling a niche product where you can actually target your customer more accurately.

One good way in which to approach any niche product research phase is to setup multiple content sites that are monetized with AdSense ads. I am pretty sure you have already heard this word, “CONTENT IS KING”! Well my dear friend, it still is. The best way to do this is by writing a 400 – 600 words article and put it into your website. If you can’t write one, just hire a ghost writer but you have to spend some of your money for them to produce your desire article.

If a given site starts generating a considerable amount of natural traffic, test out some affiliate links. You might be surprise when people start purchasing your affiliate product. Once the traffic is in, you have the power in your hand to make money by not doing anything. That is kind of cool, isn’t it?

Once you are making lots of profit from your affiliate product, then begin working on your own product for that niche. At first, it might be hard for you to do this but if you put your heart into it, you will make more money than you could possible imagine.

Make an attempt to brand your niche product. For instance, you could use an interesting concept in Butterfly Marketing written by TOP Internet Marketer, Mike Filsaime or you could use your own name, especially if you have a considerable amount of knowledge in your own industry. Branding will help your product gain notoriety; and will also facilitate the creation of pre-launch ‘buzz.’

If you feel lost, re-read the section above about the importance of content and ‘buzz’, once you have done that, we will move on to the next step on approaching any niche product.

Purchase a program that allows you to create your own software. This will help you to expand your niche product creation abilities beyond simply creating an executable e-book or a PDF. Additionally, software has a higher perceived value, which means it is likely to convert better than other options. However, this will vary from niche to niche. If you are wondering how the top Internet Marketer make their money online, the answer is they used or purchased themselves a good software to expedite their sales.

If you do not currently have potential customers for your product, all you need to do is performing a preliminary scan of the market to determine whether or not a product launch will be viable. For instance, is competition far too dense? Do competing sites refuse to participate with each other out of fear that it will dwindle their customer bases to nothing? Keep on asking yourself a few questions before you decide to join any niches product.

If you have sites that already receive natural search engine traffic for a given niche, consider setting up polls on those sites to determine what your best course of action might be in terms of product creation. For instance, ask your visitors what type of product they want – software, e-books, videos, audios, or something else entirely.

Begin testing this idea right away and start making money online with a niche product. Trust me, if you follow this simple guidelines, your dreams of earning 5 to 6 figure incomes and fire your boss at the same time is just right at the corner.

Group Facilitation: What Factors Are Controlled to Nurture Efficiency?

A team of employees brought together to achieve a goal, resolve conflicts, or make important decisions is group facilitation. Facilitators are in charge of ensuring the productive flow of a meeting. They make certain the meeting flows, has an agenda, and keep the group on track and disrupt arguments by interjecting when necessary. This individual manages the discussion while remaining neutral to assist the participants in reaching an understandable and well-researched decision. A group facilitator is not the same as a team leader or company executive because their experience is given strictly in an objective manner to aid in the progress of the discussion. A facilitator is in charge of:

  • Keeping Everyone Focused
  • Unlocking Creativity or Expertise
  • Making Certain Items are Discussed Thoroughly
  • Helping the Participants Reach Better Decisions
  • Resolving Issues or Accomplishing Objectives

Facilitators have precise techniques that are designed to promote participation and positivity during the meeting. Telling individuals assigned to a group that they must do something does not automatically provide good results. Personalities have to be balanced in order to create an environment where ideas are pondered rather than rejected. Facilitators are trained to maintain the environment necessary to reach a productive outcome.

How Does a Group Facilitator Maintain the Right Atmosphere?

A group facilitator focuses on what can be done to help participants work together and reach a common goal. They guide the team through each agenda and monitor what goes on to put everyone’s skills to the best use. This addition allows a team to be highly successful and supplies improved results at a much faster pace. An effective organizer will have these qualities:

  • Flexibility
  • Adaptability
  • Proactive Nature
  • Responsiveness
  • Resilience

Group facilitation requires an individual to be capable of modifying activities prior to and during a session. They should be able to change activities based on the observed characteristics of participants. Experts remain neutral while taking steps to prevent extreme tensions or frustrations from affecting productivity.

Six tensions typically arise during a team-based meeting and can drastically affect progress if they are not handled correctly. The following tensions enhance a meeting when managed efficiently by a group facilitator:

  • Structure
  • Pace
  • Interaction
  • Focus
  • Concern
  • Control

The structure of a meeting can range from tight to loose in regards to how the rules are laid out. An extremely tight structure involves defining rules before the process starts whereas rules are defined as the discussion progresses in a loose meeting. Group facilitation experts manage the interaction between participants ranging from cooperative to competitive environments. Focus can be process driven, result driven, or remain neutral with concern ranging from a more individual approach to the group as a whole. A facilitator will take an unobtrusive role if a team must decide on what actions or objectives offer the most value. They sometimes take a neutral, consulting, leadership, or background role based on the objectives that need to be met. Professionals must be capable of balancing every tension to create the most productive atmosphere and guarantee positive results.