Archive for the 'learning tools' Category

Getting Started In Graphic Facilitation: Tools of the Trade

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

This is a list of the basic tools and sources you’ll need to get started graphics and visual organization in your training and facilitation work.


Sometimes called banner bond, the perfect paper for graphic wall work comes in rolls. It’s generally best to find it on-line and Dick Blick is my preferred vendor. I prefer the 48″ variety. The weight of the paper (20# and 24#) doesn’t matter much. Heavier stocks are a little bit more durable which can be helpful when reusing graphics.


Artist tape is white and can be used to cover up mistakes as well as fasten paper to the wall. It’s sticky enough to do the job but doesn’t damage surfaces. I have been using it exclusively for eight years and never had it take any paint off a wall. It can be expensive in stores but Blick’s prices are very reasonable.


The Alvin Zippy is absolutely the best paper cutter for this type of work. These are often available at local craft stores.



The Grove makes Charters Markers, which are the best markers for facilitation I’ve ever used. I order them by color now, as I primarily use black, blue, green and purple. I have enough red, yellow, orange and brown to last me for years. You might start with full sets and then over time, figure out which ones to order individually. They last a long time and are worth the price. Sharpie makes a set of markers that are okay, but blunt quickly and have some odd colors. Avoid permanent markers and the scented varieties. White board markers often go through the paper.


The Daily Icon: School stuff

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

This is a sample from the Morning Routine project, from the school supplies page. This would allow parents or other caregivers to create checklists of things to prepare for school each day. I’m doubling up some icons like the books. There’s a blank version that people can customize or there’s a version with generic samples already drawn in. Some children will enjoy customizing their own schedule boards.


Guided problem-solving

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

I created this seven panel brochure- which explains a seven step process- for the Mediation Center as part of their Life Skills class, a three month course that helps families address communication issues. The empty speech bubbles are meant to encourage class participants to add their own questions and ideas. The brochure is handed out with colored pencils, wihch promotes engagement and ownership of the notes. Ideally, the brochure will have ‘fridge-time’ when it hangs visible and useful in the household.

Manager Learning Tools: Month Minder

Friday, September 16th, 2005

This is another learning tool intended to promote continuity as Amber, a long term manager, leaves her position. In this case, we gathered monthly events into a calendar, with call-outs that provided greater detail. The calendar is an easily understood reference point for keeping track of an array of essential tasks.

As is often the case, the actual gathering of information is the real learning tool. I sat with Amber, her boss and her assistant and we went through the month minder together. The page filled quickly. They are easy questions to answer, “What’s due on the last day of the month?” Every manager has something due at the end of the month. Every manager has recurring meetings. Oddly enough, most managers have something important to do on the second Tuesday of the month. Not a lot of Tuesday holidays, I suppose. People took notes, sketched arrows and other ideas and pointed out things on the calendar. I consider an information graphic worthy if people use it physically. If someone is tracing the path with their finger or banging their hands angrily on the exact location of something, the visual has engaged them fully. That’s the gig, full engagement.

We had a rich and very productive meeting. And when we looked up after an hour of brainstorming and clarifying details, we were comfortably done and felt like we had collected useful and thorough information. We were fully engaged.

I see great utility for this tool.

  • Collecting info for customized manager training
  • Drilling down collaboratively on organizational or time management issues
  • Creating a space for departing and incoming managers to share information
  • Help create meaningful, accurate job descriptions
  • Graphic below links to a larger, readable version.

Manager Training Tools: Promoting Continuity

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

As part of OTAC’s involvement with the Good to Great Project, I have been helping an organization create management training tools. One of their star managers, Amber, is leaving later this month. This day planner graphic represents one way of summarizing the main functions of Amber’s work, running the Specialized Foster Care program. This is not a literal schedule, but a representation of her major functions, including some of the stuff that just pops up.
The graphic is intended as an interactive tool. The tasks of the day should spark conversations. Ideally, Amber will be able to talk through it with her replacement. If that doesn’t happen, the graphic will become an important link in the information chain, providing a tool for much-needed continuity. Amber can explain it through with her manager, who can use it as a training tool. There’s tons of space around the margins for adding notes and there’s also a blank planner page, for all the stuff that didn’t make it onto this busy day.
Next step: a month planner that captures some of ther recurring functions and reporting duties the program coordintor is responsible for.

Click the graphic below to see an expanded, legible version.