ATD Blog

Delivery and Facilitation Are Vital Capabilities

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Training delivery and facilitation is one of the 23 capabilities in the Association for Talent Development’s new Talent Development Capability Model, which encompasses the knowledge and skills TD professionals need now and in the future.

This capability resides under the Building Professional Capability domain and explores methods, techniques, and challenges that comprises facilitation.

“The skills and knowledge outlined in training delivery and facilitation prepare the training professional to elevate his game to the level of a true educational consultant and away from being an order taker,” said Carrie Addington, ATD senior facilitator.

The evolving discipline of learning sciences and the continual emergence of new learning technologies are two forces that will affect how TD professionals deliver and facilitate training in the future. Under this capability, TD professionals must be able to incorporate new research and technologies into their work as well as be flexible enough to adapt to changes within the industry and workplace. (Evidence of the importance of agility is apparent today as many TD professionals are pivoting the way they deliver and facilitate courses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.) The ability to independently assess how external and internal factors affect learning solutions and to communicate that clearly to stakeholders ensures that TD professionals can serve, as Addington says, as true learning consultants.

“To continue developing my professional capability, I need to be aware of [learning techniques] that are constantly evolving and vary the instructional methods to reach all learners,” Addington explained. “The benefit here is not only elevating my professional capability in the training delivery and facilitation space but also allowing me to constantly refresh my approach, my perspective, and the learner’s experience. And when that happens, everyone wins.”


According to the model, TD professionals who can effectively deliver and facilitate training will need to be skilled at:

  • coordinating the logistical tasks associated with planning meetings or learning events (including face-to-face and virtual environments)
  • facilitating meetings and learning events in face-to-face and virtual environments
  • applying a range of facilitation methods and techniques (This involves understanding the critical differences in facilitating versus teaching versus presenting; correctly interpreting and responding to learner reactions as the event unfolds; and managing disruptive learner behavior.)
  • creating positive learning environments
  • selecting and aligning delivery options and media for training to the desired outcomes (This includes the critical step of understanding the training needs assessment.)
  • delivering training using multiple delivery options and media; for example, via mobile/multiple devices, online, classroom, and multimedia
  • designing and developing learning assets that align to a desired learning or behavioral outcome.

Being able to assess the existing knowledge and skill level of learners and to adjust learning assets and delivery methods accordingly is crucial for TD professionals and is a key part of this capability. An awareness of the learning assets that already exist or can be developed within the project parameters is vital in this scenario, adds Addington.


If a trainer is interacting with a group that already has a firm grounding of theoretical knowledge on a given topic, for example, he or she may incorporate practical ways for the learners to apply their knowledge. That may involve small-group breakout sessions where learners engage in critical thinking exercises; or perhaps, if resources allow, a game-based approach.

“The key is having that knowledge to leverage in the moment of need, based on the learner experience,” says Addington. “The more aware I am of the learning assets available to me, the more flexibility I have in meeting the learners where they are and enhancing their experience with the content.”

About the Author

Stephanie Castellano is a former writer/editor for the Association for Talent Development (ATD). She is now a freelance writer based in Gainesville, Florida.

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