Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg: Portfolio-Tool: Learning Companion for Facilitators


Our Competency-focused Self-learning Tool for Facilitators

The idea of this learning companion is to help you find your definition of a facilitator through observation, practice and individual work. What you save here represents in sum your portfolio of competencies and characteristics. The companion helps you to collect your experience and makes it accessible for (self-) evaluation in a systematic way.

Learning Companion: Screenshots

The Role of a Facilitator

Facilitating training in non-formal education is often different from the teaching we experience in schools. The traditional model of a teacher mainly disseminates knowledge. Facilitation means to accompany people during a learning process which is a process of developing competencies. Facilitators create good conditions for the individual to form knowledge and competencies voluntarily, and according to their specific needs. This can be referred to as empowerment.

Facilitation therefore seeks to focus on the existing knowledge, skills and potentials of every individual. In teacher-centered learning the teacher is the cook and hopes that the group will enjoy the dish and ingredients. In a facilitative approach everyone cooks together. In the best-case scenario everybody is given the dish, the nutrients and flavors that help him or her best.

This example makes it clear that facilitation is more than simply allowing everybody to do whatever they want. It does not mean that a facilitator is no longer a cook. Nor does it mean that plain cooking cannot lead to tasty results. But many cooks may spoil the broth. The example shows that both your knowledge and experience are very important, in facilitation and in classic teaching.

Develop your attitude and style of facilitation

Following this presumptions, the Learning Companion will help you on your way during becoming an empowering facilitator. Therefore we identified key-topics as relevant, which we address in the Companion, in example diversity consciousness, power relations, team work, personal development, personality, dynamic learning process management. In general, and to reuse the kitchen metaphor, these are the ingredients, we recommend to use:


  • The section A is about your general attitude as a facilitator and your learning style as well as your development goals.
  • B focuses on the institution and the concrete learning environment in which you are facilitating with its explicit and implicit expectations.
  • C is the section with templates for concrete practice. Therefore the pages of this section may be copied and filled out for practice each time when you are facilitating.
  • D is all about the evaluation and reflection of your whole learning process.

How to use the Companion

The interactive version allows you to save text inside the PDF.
  • For offline-use you may download a .PDF for print.
  • For online use we offer you an interactive .PDF with form elements.

The companion helps you to collect your experience and makes it accessible for (self-) evaluation in a systematic way. We encourage you to write, paint, draw or however it is comfortable for you to express yourself.

Beyond individual learning it might be helpful for you to include other people. Different perspectives complement the picture. Therefore your co-facilitators or participants in a training session might give you valuable feedback. Other facilitators may inspire you with their experience and their observations.

We wish you inspiration, motivation, fun and successful work as a facilitator!


Nils Eyk-Zimmermann

Manager Publications


TEL +49 30 315174- 83
FAX +49 30 315174- 89
SKYPE: nils_zimmermann_office

Learning Companion 2016

An empowerment tool for empowering facilitators. Download


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Interactive PDF

The 2015 edition might be used as an online tool: write and save your notes in the PDF.

Whole Learning Companion

Interactive PDF

Download Single Chapters

A Attitude and personal learning goals

B Target group and institutional framework

C Checklists for concrete training practice

D Evaluation and perspectives