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Trainer’s Notebook: Just A Few Participatory Facilitation Techniques

Beth Kanter

Recently, a colleague asked me a wonderful question: How did you learn to become a good facilitator and trainer? I answered yes to all, but more importantly I think these two methods helped me the most: Carve out time for reflection after each training and do an after-action review with yourself. Evaluate your content, facilitation, and logistical skills against participant evaluations. Four Corners/Brainstorm Small Group Facilitation.

Basic Facilitation Techniques for Nonprofits

Beth Kanter

As a trainer and now adjunct professor, I’m constantly working on and honing these skills sets: assessment, instructional design, curriculum/materials development, presenting, facilitation, and evaluation. There is a lot of learn and refine in each of these areas. And that’s why I love teaching and training because it is all about the learning for both you and the participants. Reflective Practice. Networked Facilitation. Participatory Gatherings.


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How grant makers and nonprofit grant recipients can do great things together with data and evaluation

Deborah Elizabeth Finn

It took Tech Networks of Networks almost two years to organize and implement a series of candid dialogues about data and evaluation for grantors and nonprofit grantees, and now it’s complete. What you see here are a few notes that reflect my individual experience.

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12 Ways We Made our Santa Cruz Collects Exhibition Participatory

Museum 2.0

The content focuses on the question of WHY we collect and how our collections reflect our individual and community identities. This exhibition represents a few big shifts for us: We used a more participatory design process. Our previous big exhibition, All You Need is Love, was highly participatory for visitors but minimally participatory in the development process. We're involving visitor services and volunteers more intentionally in facilitation.

Adventures in Participatory Audience Engagement at the Henry Art Gallery

Museum 2.0

In 2009 , students built a participatory exhibit from scratch. Thirteen students produced three projects that layered participatory activities onto an exhibition of artwork from the permanent collection of the Henry Art Gallery. This post shares my reflections on the projects and five things I learned from their work. When activities were not facilitated, people were often too timid to interact. These two projects were always facilitated.

Using Design Thinking for A Foundation’s Investment Strategy

Beth Kanter

I was thrilled to work with the Brainerd Foundation staff to help design and facilitate a design lab using techniques based on Luma Institute methods earlier this month. Here’s what I learned about the facilitating design thinking processes: What Is A Design Lab? In some ways, a design lab can be thought of as “participatory research and testing.”. To generate group or collective understanding, I facilitated a cluster or affinity analysis of the different themes.

Advice: An Exhibition about Talking to Strangers

Museum 2.0

You can explore the project wiki where we coordinated the exhibit, including the project overview , our six-week plan to get it all done, and individual sections for development of concept , content , interaction , graphics , marketing , fabrication , installation , and evaluation. There is also a final evaluation report available for download, which offers lots of great quantitative and qualitative content about what visitors did in the exhibit.

Pointing at Exhibits, Part 2: No-Tech Social Networks

Museum 2.0

The Race exhibit served as a facilitation of potential dialogue based on a very simple finger-based exchange. Design Implications The "pointiness" of an exhibit is a metric that reflects the extent to which the content motivates visitors to share things with strangers and friends alike. If we think about network effects not in terms of data collection but in terms of a useful outcome for visitors and institutions, we can design platforms that reflect our participatory values.

Trainer’s Notebook: The Importance of Hands-On Learning

Beth Kanter

Going beyond content delivery, I also use a lot of participatory and hands-on learning techniques to help students gain a deeper understanding. I always create a lesson plan, a more detailed agenda, that includes topics, bullet points, timings, processes, and materials, even if I am the only one facilitating the class. More importantly, after every class I facilitate, I do a debrief with students as part of evaluating the training.

Social Media, Networking, and African Women’s Leadership Training in Rwanda

Beth Kanter

My sessions were integrated into the various leadership, visioning process for women’s rights, curriculum development, and evaluation methods modules throughout the week as networked and social media skills were not the main focus. This design was a participatory process and was intended to provide an opportunity for deep reflective process. Here’s a few facilitation techniques that I learned from documenting the session.

Is “Ambient Data” from Social Media Channels Useful for Funders?

Beth Kanter

The convening used participatory methods to identify topics for small group conversations related to the theme and was expertly facilitated by Allen Gunn from Aspiration. ( I wrote a reflection last week about the facilitation techniques here ). I got to facilitate a deep dive with a dozen folks and here are the takeaways from the discussion. We brainstormed a few: Real-Time evaluation of communications strategy for a nonprofit or foundation.

Mobile Innovations for Social Good


Mobile Voices offers an open-source multi-media platform optimized for low-cost mobile phones that lets users create, share, and reflect on stories about their lives and communities. An academic-community partnership, the project brings together immigrant day laborers, scholars, software developers, and community organizers for participatory design, curriculum development, evaluation and research around this emerging media tool and its social impact.