Including the Participant Guide in your Facilitator Guide - Good Idea or Bad?

Including the Participant Guide in your Facilitator Guide - Good Idea or Bad?

My heart sinks every time someone tells me they always do a side-by-side setup with exact replicas of each page of their participant guide within their facilitator guide. So, I guess you know where I stand on whether or not this is a good idea.


Here are a few reasons why including the Participant Guide in your Facilitator Guide is not the best idea.

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A facilitator guide will contain more text than a participant guide, in the form of instructional guidance for the facilitator. This is true even when compared to the most thorough participant guide. The sheer volume of facilitator guide content makes it impractical to have a side-by-side setup with the facilitator guide on one page and the participant guide on the facing page. 

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Notes & Images

A participant guide will contain plenty of capture space for note-taking, as well a larger renditions of images, charts, graphs, etc. Replicating large images and note capture space within a facilitator guide is a waste of space.

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Not Necessary

A facilitator who is using a facilitator guide can deliver the class without seeing an exact replica of the participant guide. Detailed guidance on flow and content is already in the facilitator guide.

Here are 3 ways to integrate references to the participant guide within your facilitator guide that will assist your facilitator & support a solid instructional flow.

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Whenever the participant guide is needed, direct the facilitator to reference it.

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Include enough information about the participant guide page(s) referenced for the facilitator to understand what the participants will be doing with those pages.

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Page Numbers

Include participant guide page number references so that the facilitator can look at the specific page in his or her copy of the participant guide if desired.

While there is a need for both a facilitator guide and a participant guide, they serve different purposes. Recognizing this will help you create the best materials for both audiences, ensuring the most successful outcomes for everyone.

Learning Types

Learning Types

The 3 C's of Effective Training Materials

The 3 C's of Effective Training Materials