An ESports rig.

In the recent years, the term “facilitating” or “facilitator” is gaining popularity in the education world. Many nowadays strongly hold the belief that facilitating is a better way to help humans learn. Let’s take a look at these two terms and what their roles are in the learning process.

A lecturer and a facilitator are both educators. A lecturer is usually someone found teaching in a college or university setting delivering lectures to students. This could be the tenured professor at your university, a guest lecturer who is an expert from the practical or professional field, or sometimes an assistant professor delivering a more general topic of lecture to first year students. A lecture is usually delivered to a large group, anything from ten to a hundred, sometimes even more students at the same time.

A facilitator is someone who helps a group of people to work and learn together more effectively. The facilitator does not necessarily have to be a professor or an expert in the field, but rather the facilitator is someone who has experience in the field and is trained to facilitate group discussion and activities so that everyone in the group can be an active part of the learning process. The group is usually small, about three to eight people in a group. The size cannot be too big because then the facilitator will not be able to facilitate the process effectively.

Where a lecturer is focused on delivering information, for example perhaps the latest updates on his/her research with regards to the topic, a facilitator is focused on creating a supportive and inclusive environment for learners to speak their own opinion and try out their own problem solving methods. It can be said that a lecture is usually a one way delivery from the lecturer to the students, while a facilitated group is multiple ways of delivery, from all of the group members to each other.

In a lecture, a student will receive new information, while in a facilitated learning group a student will make decisions, solve problems, work in a team, and present solution or findings to each other.

Although there is a time and place for both types of learning, at the end of the day, a student in a lecture is receiving information in a passive manner, while a student in a facilitated group is receiving, processing, giving, and acting on information all at the same time in a very active manner. In the workplace, the latter skills are no doubt invaluable to the learners. Those skills might even be the deciding factor in further progress of their life and careers!