Why qualified Trainers or Facilitators?

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Facilitator or Trainer the Trainer

The “facilitator” or “Trainer” is a guide or “discussion leader” for the group. The process of facilitation or training is a way of providing leadership without taking the reigns. A facilitator or also known as a trainer’s job is to get others to assume responsibility and take the lead. Some common definitions include: “A person who is acceptable to all group members, substantively neutral, and has no decision-making authority who helps a group improve the way it identifies and solves problems and makes decisions.”

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Why accredited Facilitators or Trainers?

In South Africa acceptable accredited Facilitators or Trainers successfully completed the unit standard 117871 – on a NQF 5 or higher, based on Outcome Based Education – also commonly knows as Train the Trainer courses. There is a clear distinction between:

  1. lecturers who lector to a group of people 50 +,
  2. teachers who teach to a group of people 15 to 50 and
  3. trainers who train groups between 1 to 15 people in a class.

The expectation between lecturing, teaching and training is totally different.

  • Lecture – produce a lecture (one way communication) – qualified lecturer.
  • Teacher – some interaction with the learners, but minimal and only use some of the OBE or Outcome Based Education principles – qualified teacher, typical teachers diploma.
  • Trainer – groups are small, lots of interaction and the expectation is much higher and based on OBE or Outcome Based Education – qualified trainer, typical completed Train-the-Trainer course.

What is OBE or Outcome Based Education?

OBE or Outcome Based Education is a method of curriculum design and teaching that focuses on what students can actually do after they are taught. OBE or Outcome Based Education addresses the key questions as:

  1. What do you want the students to learn?
  2. Why do you want them to learn it?
  3. How can you best help students learn it?
  4. How will you know what they have learnt?

Thus, the OBE or Outcome Based Education’s instructional planning process is a reverse of that associated with traditional educational planning. The desired outcome is selected first and the curriculum, instructional materials and assessments are created to support the intended outcome. All curriculum and teaching decisions are made based on how best to facilitate the desired final outcome.

Four points to the OBE or Outcome Based Education system that are necessary to make it work:

  1. What the student is to learn must be clearly identified.
  2. The student’s progress is based on demonstrated achievement.
  3. Multiple instructional and assessment strategies need to be available to meet the needs of each student.
  4. Adequate time and assistance need to be provided so that each student can reach the maximum potential.

Why OBE or Outcome Based Education?

The arguments developed by the proponents of OBE or Outcome Based Education are:

a) OBE or Outcome Based Education is able to measure—‘what the students are capable of doing’—something which the traditional education system often fails to do. For example, assessment methods in a conventional education system often grade students based on their ability to choose a correct answer from a group of four or five possible answers. Such practices do not allow students to demonstrate what they have learnt. Ideally, students should have an understanding of the content, which is a cognitive skill that goes much deeper than finding the correct answer. OBE or Outcome Based Education requires the students to understand the contents by “extending the meaning of competence far beyond that of narrow skills and the ability to execute structured tasks in a particular subject area and classroom” (Spady, 1995).

b) OBE or Outcome Based Education goes beyond ‘structured tasks’ (e.g. memorisation) by demanding that students demonstrate his/her skills through more challenging tasks like writing project proposals and completing the projects, analysing case studies and giving case presentations etc. Such exercises require students to practise and demonstrate their ability to think, question, research, make decisions and give presentations. Thus, OBE or Outcome Based Education involves students in a complete course of learning—from developing their skills in designing to completing a whole process (Spady, 1994a, 1995). OBE or Outcome Based Education also identifies higher levels of thinking (e.g. creativity, ability to analyse and synthesise information, ability to plan and organise tasks). Such skills are emphasised especially when students are assigned to organise and work as a community or entrepreneurial service teams to propose solutions to problems and market their solutions.

Conclusion

OBE or Outcome Based Education that is only fully supported by training (not lecturing or teaching) promises high level of learning for ALL students as it facilitates the achievement of the outcomes, characterised by its appropriateness to each learner’s development level and active and experienced-based learning. Moreover, knowing that this system is going to be used would also give students the freedom to study the content of the course in a way that helps them learn it. OBE or Outcome Based Education must involve administrators, educators, parents, teachers and students for successful implementation.

In order to implement OBE or Outcome Based Education an approved/accredited Facilitator or accredited Trainer with the correct background and understanding of OBE must be used.