One of the central concepts of adult learning theory, or Andragogy, is that the learning process is most successful when learners are actively engaged in problem-based, collaborative experiences. Small group learning experiences are ideal for this kind of active learning to take place, but require those facilitating the learning experience to use different skills and strategies than they would in a didactic, lecture-based experience.
The resources included on this page describe a variety of strategies you can use when facilitating a small group learning activity. By using these approaches you will support more active involvement from learners, which should result in a more successful teaching experience for you and learning experience for them.
Also, as you review these small group strategies, consider how some of these approaches could be adapted and incorporated into a large group learning experience. Encouraging active participation in a lecture hall can be a challenge, but carefully planned moments of active involvement by learners can help to reinforce retention of new knowledge.
1. Online Resources
The following websites include small group facilitation resources developed primarily for medical school faculty. Consider how these concepts could be used in other situations in which you may be asked to teach.
Florida State University College of Medicine - Small Group Facilitation & Learning
Pedialink - the American Academy of Pediatrics offers a variety of educational resources in the "Continuing Education" section of the site (PLEASE NOTE: some Pedialink mateirals are limited to AAP members only)
London Deanery Faculty Development Resources
Above are some printed materials that also address the facilitation of small group learning experiences. These can be downloaded and/or printed for your use.