How to Make Supplemental Resources: Facilitator guide templates, job aids, and more!
Here’s a request that pops up in The Hangout community: help, I need a facilitator guide template now!
This is a scenario that occurs way too often. For example, an instructional designer is asked to create a facilitator’s guide after finishing a course. They’re looking for a template or guidance because it’s a last-minute ask.
There are a couple of problems here. First, they’ve got to know what a facilitator guide looks like and its purpose before they can create an effective one. Or even before they can effectively use a facilitator guide template, for that matter!
More importantly, the instructional designer was asked to create a supplemental resource (like the facilitator’s guide) as a quick, extra item at the end of a project. The project leader or the client (wrongly) assumes that this is a fast project that won’t take more time or cost more money.
So let’s clear a few things up! First, we’ll talk about what these different supplemental resources are. How might they be helpful to create as part of your course project? This includes facilitator’s guides, participant guides, job aids, etc.
I’ll even share some resources, like a facilitator guide template, that you can use!
Most importantly, we’ll talk about how to include all supplemental resources in the project scope from the beginning, so you don’t get left with an extra project at the last minute.
What is a Facilitator’s Guide?
As the name suggests, a facilitator’s guide is a document that accompanies a course meant only for the facilitator. It contains helpful information like:
- Course objectives and overview
- Suggestions for timing
- Ideas for additional engagement activities
- A course script they can use as a starting point as they deliver instruction
- Further notes on the learning materials
When do I Need a Facilitator’s Guide?
To start, typically, only instructor-led courses will use a facilitator guide. However, a blended course (one that combines eLearning modules with instructor-led sessions) may also use a facilitator’s guide for the instructor-led sessions only.
Why do I Need a Facilitator’s Guide?
Facilitator’s guides help ensure consistency among multiple trainers. They are beneficial when many different trainers conduct the course you’ve designed. Also, there may be a different facilitator at each branch in larger companies with numerous locations.
Your facilitator’s guide spells out specific activities and important language. Of course, your trainers can (and should!) add their own voice and creativity to their delivery. But, the guide makes sure they don’t stray so far from the intended content that the participants in their session walk away with a different understanding of the content.
Where Can I Find A Facilitator Guide Template?
If you need to create this fast, you might be searching for a facilitator guide template to speed up the process. You’re in luck! I have a thorough plug-and-play template in my instruction design store.
This facilitator guide template can save you hours of extra development time. It’s got customizable sections like:
- About the course
- Instructor facilitation tips
- Multiple content page layouts
- Learning objectives
- Notes section
- Cover page
- And more!
What are Other Supplemental Course Resources?
This is a question I get all the time, and it’s not just from new instructional designers. When designing training, your primary focus should be on putting out the most effective course for your audience.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean all of your project time and resources are devoted to the course itself!
Part of an effective course might include a supplemental resource. Like a facilitator’s guide that ensures the person delivering the training stays on track.
Here are some other supplemental resources you might consider for your training project.
A participant guide is a document for the person taking the course. It often includes key takeaways from the course with room for notes. It might also have reflection questions, or knowledge checks intended to be for the participant only (not as course data you’ll collect).
You can get my participant guide template here. Just like my facilitator guide template, it’s customizable and easy-to-use.
A job aid might also be called a quick reference guide. It contains the essential points of the training in short steps, usually with labeled images. A job aid serves as a quick reminder of a process learned during training that the participant can refer back to quickly.
I like to use job aids when designing software tutorials or training on a multi-step process.
As the name implies, a one-pager is a simple, one-page document that course participants can take away from a training session. However, participant guides and job aids are more thorough and have multiple pages.
A one-pager condenses only the most critical, objective-hitting info. It’s a great resource to use to fight the forgetting curve. You can even send it out a week post-training to refresh participants’ memories.
Even though an infographic might sit in the course itself, I would consider this an additional course resource! Here’s an example of an Instructional Design Company infographic on learner retention strategies since I mentioned the forgetting curve above.
Infographics condense a lot of information into a visually appealing and organized design. So, if they’re embedded in the course itself, why am I grouping infographics with supplemental resources?
Because they take extra time and resources to develop! You might even need a graphic designer to create it for you. So even though infographics, and all the other extras we’ve reviewed, are great add-ons, you need to make sure they fit into the project’s scope.
How to Include Extra Course Resources in Your Project Scope
Let’s go back to that problem I mentioned at the beginning of this article. An instructional designer is searching for a facilitator guide template because it’s just been requested. This is not an uncommon scenario!
Sometimes, your boss or client sees how an extra resource could be beneficial when reviewing your developed course. The problem is, what they see as a great add-on, you see as extra project hours that you hadn’t factored into the project scope.
Scope Your Project Thoroughly
It all comes back to your project analysis. As an instructional designer, it will be your job to identify when things like a facilitator guide or job aid will benefit the training audience.
We discuss project analysis and project scoping in much greater detail in The Instructional Design and Tech Accelerator Certificate Program. In addition, accelerator students have access to my Training Needs Analysis. This document contains all the questions you need to ask during your project analysis to scope the training.
Not to mention, Accelerator students also get that facilitator guide template and participant guide template for free. We even have a whole module dedicated to using them.
Propose Extra Resources Early
Include them in your course proposal once you’ve scoped your training and identified a resource or resources that you think will complement the training.
Explain how and why a participant guide or a job aid will benefit the audience. Then, if your team approves the resource, you can include it in your development plan!
However, your suggestions might not be approved right away. Unfortunately, even though instructional designers see the benefits of these course resources, other decision-makers may just see them as something costing more money that’s easy to scratch off the list.
Ask For More Time/Money For Out-Of-Scope Items
So your proposal for a job aid or facilitator guide was shot down? It happens! You’ve already proposed why the resource would be beneficial with an estimate of the additional time or cost in your analysis phase.
As a result, when it comes time for your boss or client to review your developed training, you might hear, “actually, I think we should do that job aid you suggested!”
You’ll have to pull out those scoping documents and remind the higher-ups that additional time or funding is needed to complete that part of the project.
If you’re working as a corporate instructional designer, they might need to reschedule another project or take something else off your plate so you can address this additional task.
For freelance instructional designers, ask the client to approve additional funds depending on how much extra time this will take you. And, of course, you can consider using something like a facilitator guide template to make your life easier!
Wrapping It Up
As an instructional designer, you’ve got to know about all these fun course add-ons. Anytime an extra resource will make the learning experience you design more effective, it’s worth the time and effort! But, of course, it may also be your job to convince your team on that one!
Now, I want you to bring all your questions about using supplemental resources like a participant guide, a job aid, or even that facilitator guide template over to The Hangout. The Hangout community is full of aspiring instructional designers and instructional design experts at different levels eager to help.