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Facilitators need to know how a training workshop or course is going. It is not enough to wait until the end of a session to ask participants if they felt that the course was valuable: strategies must be in place for continually checking with participants that the workshop objectives are on target in relation to the content and structure of the workshop. Revisions to both structure and content must be considered if the participants record that they are not satisfied with the way in which the workshop or training event is developing. A number of quick review methods, which will provide facilitators with essential feedback, are suggested below.

• Talking wall

The talking wall is a group exercise that provides opportunities for all participants to respond to open questions or statements from the facilitator, to evaluate a session, to record attitudes to a given topic, or to comment on a given aspect of the training session. The exercise is conducted in such a way that all comments are public for others to read and supplement in an interactive way.

Several flip-chart sheets are prepared as posters by the facilitator in advance.

Each poster contains an open statement printed at the top (e.g., “What I think is missing from this workshop is…”). The sheets are placed around the walls of the room where everyone can read them. Each participant is given a marker and invited to walk around the room adding appropriate comments to each sheet. Alternatively, each person may be given a supply of post-it stickers and a pencil and asked to write comments on separate stickers that are then posted on the most appropriate sheet. Everyone should be encouraged to read the comments written by others. This technique is thought-provoking and good fun to do for virtually all groups.

• Feedback rounds

Rounds provide a quick and simple method of gathering an instant reaction from all participants to the current state of the course or group.

At a suitable point in the programme – usually at a natural break or between exercises or before moving on to a new topic – the facilitator announces that s/he would like to hear from all the participants how the course (or the most recent part of it) is going. The idea is to receive quick, impressionistic responses, not analytical or detailed answers.

• Choose your corner

Set up four flip-chart sheets, one in each corner of the room, each with the title of a session from the previous day (or a subject area). Ask participants to go to the subject that most interested them the previous day. The group gathered around each sheet brainstorms about the main things they learned about the session. These are written up on the sheets. Feedback from each group should be requested in sequence.

• Bus stop

Using the same format as ”Choose your corner”, participants are allocated to four groups. Each group spends two minutes at each “bus stop”, brainstorming about learning points. Each group moves around to the other bus stops in turn, adding anything they learned to the lists. Feedback from each bus stop.

• Clap, clap,

Everyone stands in a circle and is given one minute to think of one word (only) that summarises how they feel as a result of the training session. Start a round by clapping hands twice and asking the first person to say their word; then clap twice and the next person says their word, and so on around the circle. Get a good rhythm going:

Clap, clap, , clap, clap, … going right round the group.

Stop the clapping and ask each person, in turn, to explain briefly why they chose their word.

End with another round of clap, clap (repeating their chosen word).

• Continuum cards

These can be used to check participants’ views of the workshop. The facilitator should write pairs of cards and set them out as a continuum on the floor with a few metres between the cards. Examples of pairs would be: very interesting Image very boring; very relevant Image not relevant. Participants are given a blank card and asked to vote (anonymously as far as the facilitators are concerned) by placing their card on the appropriate place on the continuum.

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