Learning facilitation

What are these qualities? What are the behaviours?

Lets’ start with the behaviours, or skills, if you like. This is what facilitators do when with a group…

  • Challenge habitual thinking and behaviour
  • Hold space
  • Model behaviours
  • Notice and reflect back
  • Look for opportunities to get out of the way

Do I hear a how? How do facilitators do all of this? By…

  • Selecting appropriate activities and processes
  • Providing a suitable environment/space
  • Keeping track of time and progress
  • Clarifying, questioning, sometimes challenging and summarising
  • Being non-partisan, not taking sides, not having pre-determined answers/outcomes
  • Ensuring the group does the work
  • Ensuring that the group’s work is captured, when necessary (which implies knowing when that is)

Hmmm….Is that all there is to facilitating? What distinguishes pedestrian facilitation from great facilitation?

Maybe it’s the personal qualities, or attitudes, that facilitators bring…

  • Humility
  • Empathy
  • Bravery and a willingness to fail gracefully
  • Playfulness
  • Presence
  • Curiosity
  • Flexibility
  • Responsiveness

If I’m learning to be a facilitator, I probably want to learn the how (processes, techniques, tip and tricks) first. Then I’d want to know about application, when and why I would use one and not the other. Problem is, learning is not linear. It happens in loops and leaps, in small moments of clarity, in confusion and messiness. In other words, learning, and meaning, emerges. It can’t be structured in a way that makes sense to everyone because everyone learns differently (and no, I’m not thinking learning styles – that’s been well and truly debunked).

Here’s the dilemma. While learning is non-linear, the training is. It starts on Monday, finishes on Friday. Each day has a start and an end. We progress from one day to the next. Doing what? There’s no end of choices really.

It’s the curse of the agenda: in advance, we’ll decide we’ll do this, then that, then something else. I don’t know until I’m in the room with the group what the group really needs. The group becomes its own learning laboratory – it has within it all the complexity and messiness of any group of humans. It comes down to the curse of planning. We have the ability to think ahead, to plan what we’ll do. In many cases that’s a sensible thing to do. If I have to catch a plane I need to plan when to get to the airport, and make sure I go to the right airport. The consequences of not planning are pretty clear. I can apply the same thinking to working with a group of people. I can plan certain things – when we’ll start, when we’ll finish, where we will meet, when we will break for lunch, why we are meeting. It’s harder to plan for what might happen with a group of people, especially once I use a process that is participatory. If I follow a plan meticulously, I might miss some opportunity, or something important. If I have no plan at all…

I’ll need to draw on my ability to be spontaneous and improvise, to use what’s available (including the people in the room) combined with my own skills and knowledge of facilitation.

If an agenda is not so helpful, what is? Learning outcomes? At the end of this training, you will be able to…will understand…will know… Hmmm… There might be a shift towards these things. Learning may happen during the training. Most likely it won’t. It might happen next time one of them is in front of a group. Who am I to determine what learning you need? Nope, learning outcomes don’t help me.

In the end I need to do what I usually do – start somewhere, see what happens. Notice. Respond. Do something else. Explain what I’m doing and why. Provide opportunities to experience different approaches (processes) – not just watch, actually be a part of them, exploring topics that illuminate even more about working with groups. I need to be prepared for a number of possible approaches and to offer a rich and diverse, human, experience that enables people to learn at their own pace, to struggle in their own way, to allow meaning and insight to emerge by providing space and opportunities for them to make their own meaning, rather than me impose my meaning.

The topic of facilitation is so large, I need some anchors, some boundaries: time is one (a one-day course is very different from a five-day course); the participants and their current level of understanding is another (I won’t know that until I work with them). Briefing from the client? Can be unreliable, especially if they’re not sure themselves what they want. Facilitation principles? Too abstract. Qualities of a facilitator? Too obscure.

117871 Train the Trainer Course

Policy for the implementation of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy

Glossary of terms

  • Access An entry to education and training of a particular qualification or part qualification or entry to a final external summative assessment.
  • Assessment The process of collecting evidence of learner’s work to measure and make judgements about the competence or non-competence of specified National Qualifications Framework occupational standards or qualifications and part qualifications.
  • Assessor A person who is registered by the relevant AQP in accordance with established criteria to conduct internal and/or external assessments for registered occupational qualifications and part qualifications.
  • Candidate A person whose performance is being assessed by an assessor registered with relevant institution.
  • Credit The value given within a learning programme for achieved learning.
  • Informal learning Learning that results from daily activities related to paid or unpaid work, family or community life or leisure.
  • Formal learning Learning that occurs in an organised and structured education and training environment and that is explicitly designated as such. Formal learning leads to the awarding of a qualification or part qualification registered on the NQF.
  • Learning outcomes A statement of measurable learning that describes what a candidate should know and/or be able to do as a result of learning.
  • Learning The acquisition of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes in a particular occupation or trade.
  • Monitoring A continuous process of the review of quality that can be conducted internally and /or externally to recommend quality improvements.
  • Part Qualification An assessed unit of learning that is registered or to be registered as part of qualification on the NQF with a clearly defined purpose.
  • Professional body anybody of expert practitioners in an occupational field and includes an occupational body.
  • Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) Principles and processes through which the prior
  • knowledge and /or skills of a person are made visible and are assessed for the purposes of certification, alternative access and admission and future learning and development.
  • RPL practitioner A person that functions in one or more aspects of RPL provision, including policy development, advising, portfolio course design and facilitation, assessment and moderation, administration, monitoring and evaluation, research and development.
  • Skills Development Providers A body which delivers learning programmes which
  • culminate in specified registered NQF occupational standards and qualifications and part qualifications and manages the internal assessment thereof.
  • Work experience Activities undertaken in the workplace, where acquisition of skills, knowledge and attitudes are related to tasks, processes and outcomes of a particular occupation.
  1. Preamble

    The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) was established in 2010 in terms of section 26G of the Skills Development Act of 1998 as a juristic person.

    The QCTO acknowledges that Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a fundamental tenet of the NQF and provides for access, progression, support and career guidance for learners at all levels in formal education and training as well as workplace.

    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process by which individuals who had gained skills and knowledge through informal, non-formal or experiential learning can be assessed, recognised and awarded credits for such learning if it meets the requirements of an NQF registered qualification or part qualification. Individuals deserve credit for their competences and skills even if these have been gained through informal education or have been acquired in the course of their working lives or in participation in society and community activities outside formal places of learning. RPL provides formal recognition for knowledge or skills gained on the job or as a result of other informal or unstructured learning experiences.

  2. Purpose

    The QCTO policy for the implementation of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) provides for the implementation of RPL for qualifications on the Occupational Qualifications Sub- framework (OQSF)

  3. Legislative and regulatory framework

    In terms of the National Qualifications Act (Act 67 of 2008), QCTO is the Quality Council for trades and Occupations as provided for in terms of the Skills Development Act of 1998

    In terms of Section 27(h) (ii), QCTO must develop and implement policy and criteria for Assessment, Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Accumulation and Transfer for the qualifications and part qualification on the sub-framework.

    The QCTO RPL Policy must be read in conjunction with the SAQA National Policy for the Implementation of the Recognition of Prior Learning (March 2013) and the QCTO Assessment Policy (19 March 2014)

    The White Paper for Post-School Education (November 2013) explicitly states that Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) remains a key approach to redressing past injustices and recognising competence gained through practical workplace learning and experience. It further states that RPL will be applied more widely especially for young adults who wish to access programmes in colleges

  4. Audience and applicability

    This RPL policy constitutes an overarching quality assurance framework for the provisioning of RPL, to be implemented by all RPL practitioners, skills development providers, assessment centres and workplaces, accredited by the QCTO and approved by relevant AQPs, SETAs and recognised Professional Bodies. It is applicable to all occupational qualifications, part qualifications, trades and professional designations registered on the OQSF

  5. The Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework

    The Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework (OQSF) is one of the three sub-frameworks that comprise the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The OQSF sets out the range of occupational qualification types in occupational education that may be awarded to mark the achievement of learning outcomes that have been appropriately assessed.

  6. Standards for qualifications on the OQSF

    Currently, the occupational qualification standard is determined by two elements. One is the design specification for the occupational qualification, which is realised through its supporting curriculum. The other is the design specification of the assessment strategies and tools (both formative and external summative assessment). Evaluation and monitoring of the manner in which the curriculum is delivered and the assessment strategy is implemented supports the standard.

    External integrated summative assessment is an integral and critical component of the QCTO’s quality assurance system.

    The External Integrated Summative Assessment;

    • covers the three components for all qualifications on the OQSF viz. The Knowledge, Practical and Workplace components.
    • ensures consistency and credibility of the assessment of occupational qualifications, trades and part qualifications.
    • will be conducted using nationally standardised assessment instruments developed by the relevant AQP and quality assured by the QCTO
  7. RPL within the OQSF

    The qualifications and part qualifications in the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework cover a variety of contexts. This policy recognises that candidates might seek RPL for various reasons and depending on various contexts. There are two main forms of RPL which reflect the different purposes and different processes within which RPL takes place.

    1. RPL for access: Provides an alternative access route into a programme of learning/qualification for those who do not meet the formal minimum requirements for admission. RPL for access applies to learning programmes offered by an accredited education institution, Skills Development provider or workplace based training provider.
    2. RPL for credit: To provide for the formal award of credits for, or towards a qualification or part-qualification registered on the NQF.

    The qualifications on the OQSF sub-framework are occupational and comprise Knowledge, Practical and Workplace experience components. These qualifications would therefore require a formal teaching and learning environment, a practical /simulation environment as well as actual workplace experience. The knowledge and skills are assessed through a formal external integrated summative assessment component. The Assessment Quality Partner must also design and implement a tool to conduct Recognition of Prior Learning at external summative assessment stage to support the learners that might have difficulties to seat for formal external integrated summative assessment.

    Within the context of the OQSF, the recognition of prior learning is the evaluation and acknowledgement of the knowledge and skills that a candidate has gained to enable access to:

    • Qualifications on the OQSF
    • The External Integrated Summative Assessment.
  8. Underlying principles for the implementation of RPL

    RPL processes must:

    1. be fair, reliable, valid, ethical and transparent
    2. be consistent across time, place, role players and respond to a non-sectoral demand led
    3. model
    4. use methodologies that are fit-for-purpose and reflect a consistent level of higher cognitive
    5. challenge

    f) avoid unfair exclusion

    1. empower potential learners by correctly placing them in formal and non-formal training
    2. programmes at level which will be to their maximum advantage
    3. recognise the diversity of knowledge, skills and learning styles and provide holistic and
    4. flexible assessment
    5. provide educational opportunities for life-long learning
    6. meet the quality standards of a particular qualification or part qualification
    7. impress upon candidates that there is no RPL without learning
    8. ensure that evidence assessment practices include on the job observation.
  9. Language of assessment

    In order to address issues of social justice, RPL may target candidates who may not be fluent in the mainstream language. There are occupations that do not necessarily need one to be fluent in the mainstream language. This would necessitate support of the candidate in a familiar language. The aim is to ensure that candidates:

    • are not disadvantaged from enrolling for RPL because they are unable to express their knowledge and skills in the mainstream language;
    • are assisted by translators and interpreters where necessary;
    • portfolios are translated, transcribed and professionally presented as possible.
  10. Responsibilities for the implementation of the RPL policy

      1. Roles and responsibilities of the QCTO

        The QCTO will:

        1. monitor and evaluate the implementation of RPL within the OQSF including the development and implementation of standardised approaches were appropriate
        2. foster close working relationship with professional bodies in and across the sub-frameworks where appropriate, to facilitate RPL
        3. support and monitor the training of RPL advisers, facilitators, assessors, moderators and administrators ensure consistency in the application of RPL policies by providers and delegated bodies ( where relevant)
        4. monitor the RPL admission rates of providers and make this information public in an appropriate format, while maintaining the strictest confidentiality with respect to individual candidates and individual institutions
      2. Roles and responsibilities of education institutions and skills development providers

        The education institutions and skills development providers must:

        1. seek accreditation from the QCTO
        2. progressively develop and enhance capacity to implement RPL in accordance with this policy
        3. ensure that they have the necessary staff capacity to deliver RPL services and programmes
        4. ensure effective planning and funding for RPL administrative and logistical systems to support all programmes and services
        5. put systems and procedures in place to incentivise and support the registration and continuing professional development of RPL practitioners
        6. provide advice, counselling and support services to assist RPL candidates prior to during and after RPL processes
        7. establish an appeal process for RPL candidates to engage with RPL- related judgements
      3. Roles and responsibilities of recognised professional bodies

        The recognised professional bodies must:

            1. collaborate with SAQA, the Quality Councils and the relevant providers to incentivise and advance quality RPL provisioning in the sector
            2. progressively develop and enhance their capacity to initiate and support RPL provision in accordance with this policy.
      4. Roles and responsibilities of RPL practitioners

        The RPL practitioners must:

        1. adhere to the requirements as set out in this policy and as determined by the relevant bodies and governance structures, which may include a Quality Council, a workplace and a professional body
        2. meet professional requirements, including the participation in continuing professional development activities, to be developed and agreed with the community of RPL practitioners, relevant bodies and governance structures through the national coordination of RPL as set out in this policy
      5. Roles and responsibilities of RPL candidates

        The candidates must:

        1. accept co-responsibility as an equal partner in the RPL process
        2. expect to be treated without unfair discrimination
        3. respect the process and procedures of institutions and workplaces
  11. Complaints and Appeals

    1. Complaints about the RPL and assessment process by learners should be lodged at the accredited Educational Institution or Skills Development Provider (or it’s approved Site).
    2. The procedure is to be decided by the provider institution, but the candidate has a right to know what procedure is to be followed.
    3. The notice of an appeal must state the grounds on which the applicant is seeking the appeal.
  12. Quality assurance and monitoring of policy implementation

RPL is part of the overall quality assurance system and quality criteria that applies to quality assurance of taught programmes. Quality assurance of RPL is manifested by the establishment and adherence to policies, standards, processes and associated practises that ensure that the knowledge, skills and values of learners are recognised and validated so that they can successfully engage in further learning that contributes meaningfully to their educational and/or employment goals.

Learners, staff and external stakeholders should form part of ongoing evaluation exercises. In particular, learners should be encouraged to provide feedback on the entire RPL process on completion of the personal RPL undertaking. Institutions need to monitor and adapt the RPL services and assessments in order to make the process more effective and efficient and to ensure that the RPL process is in line with national standards and developmental objectives.

In the quality assurance of RPL, standardisation can only take place between similar types of RPL. An effort must be made to allow standardised practises to grow within sectors, as one approach does not necessarily work across different contexts. Quality assurance of RPL must be undertaken with explicit intention to protect the integrity of the processes and outcomes concerned.

Monitoring, evaluation and verification are important elements in the ongoing development of the RPL process in relation to the quality of assessment. This process is ongoing, and monitoring the quality of the entire RPL process is as important as monitoring the outcomes of the RPL assessment.

117871 Facilitate learning using a variety of given methodologies



Facilitate learning using a variety of given methodologies
117871 Facilitate learning using a variety of given methodologies
SGB Occupationally-directed ETD Practitioners
Field 05 – Education, Training and Development Adult Learning
Undefined Regular Level 5 Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 10
Reregistered 2018-07-01 2023-06-30 SAQA 06120/18
2024-06-30 2027-06-30


This unit standard will provide recognition for those who facilitate or intend to facilitate learning using a variety of given methodologies. Formal recognition will enhance their employability and also provide a means to identify competent learning facilitators.

People credited with this unit standard are able to:

  • Plan and prepare for facilitation;
  • Facilitate learning; and
  • Evaluate learning and facilitation.


The credit calculation is based on the assumption that learners are already competent in the learning area in which they will provide training.


1. Practitioners are required to demonstrate that they can perform the specific outcomes with understanding and reflexivity. However, at this level they will have internalised the “rules” or principles, which inform what they do, and will not longer be operating consciously with such rules.
2. The specific outcomes should be performed in line with an established approach for facilitating learning using a variety of methodologies. At this level practitioners should be able to describe two alternative facilitation methodologies, to explain how their performance would differ when using the different methodologies, and to justify their choice of methodology.
3. At this level, practitioners should be able to relate knowledge beyond their occupational and ETD competences to the performance of the ETD competence described in this standard.


Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria:


Plan and prepare for facilitation.



Analysis of learners and learning needs reveals the key elements of learning required to achieve defined outcomes. The learning outcomes are confirmed to meet stakeholder objectives.
Stakeholders may include but are not limited to – learners, trainer, colleagues, supervisors, management, quality assurance staff, health and safety staff.


Plans cater for the needs of learners and stakeholders, possible learning barriers, previous learning experiences, literacy and numeracy levels, language, culture, special needs and different learning styles.


Resources, locations, and personnel are arranged to suit intended delivery.


Learning material is prepared to suit the purpose of the facilitated activities and the agreed outcomes.
Learning material could include notes, diagrams, worksheets, audio and visual aids and models


Facilitation methods selected are appropriate to the learners and agreed learning outcomes. Descriptions are provided of a variety of facilitation methodologies in terms of their essential approach and purpose, and selected methodologies are justified in terms of applicability to the identified learning needs.


Preparation of the facilitation process ensures the facilitator is ready to implement the process. This includes the availability of key questions, scenarios, triggers, challenges, problems, tasks and activities as is appropriate to the situation.


The learning environment is arranged to meet organisational and legislative requirements for safety and accessibility.


Review criteria are established and documented in accordance with organisation policies and procedures.


Facilitate learning.



Learning is facilitated in a coherent manner using appropriate methodologies in line with established principles associated with selected methodologies.


The learning environment and facilitation approach promotes open interaction and ensures learners are aware of expected learning outcomes and are active participants in their own learning.


The facilitation approach and use of facilitated activities enables learners to draw from and share their own experiences and work out and apply concepts for themselves.


Facilitation contributes to the development of concepts through participation and provides opportunities to practise and consolidate learning. Facilitation promotes the achievement of agreed learning outcomes by individuals while maintaining an emphasis on the manner and quality of the learning experience.


Groups are managed in line with facilitation principles and in a manner that maximises the strengths of group learning while recognising the needs and requirements of individual members.


Questioning techniques are consistent with the facilitation approach, promote learner involvement and contribute towards the achievement of learning outcomes.


Opportunities are created to monitor learner’s progress in terms of the agreed outcomes, and where possible facilitate the gathering of evidence for assessment purposes. Where necessary, modifications are made to the facilitation approach to ensure the learners’ needs are addressed.


Evaluate learning and facilitation.



Learner and stakeholder feedback on facilitated learning is sought and critically analysed against review criteria.


The review reveals strengths and weaknesses of the planning, preparation and facilitation of learning.


Review includes useful recommendations for improvement in future interventions, including the possibility of remedial actions.


1. Assessors for this unit standard must be registered with the relevant ETQA.

2. Providers of learning towards this unit standard must be accredited through the relevant ETQA by SAQA.

3. Moderation of assessment will be overseen by the relevant ETQA according to the moderation guidelines in the relevant qualification and the agreed ETQA procedures.


The following knowledge is embedded within the unit standard, and will be assessed directly or implicitly through assessment of the specific outcomes in terms of the assessment criteria:

  • The sector and workplace skills plans.
  • At least three methodologies for facilitating learning.
  • Strategies, techniques and activities for using the kinds of support materials and/or equipment appropriate to facilitation methodologies.
  • Methods for evaluating learning and facilitation.
  • Psychology of group dynamics.
  • Outcomes-based approach to learning.
  • Forms of practice that promote the values described in the Bill of Rights and the principles underpinning the National Qualifications Framework and Employment Equity Act.






Critical Cross-field Outcomes (CCFO):


Solve problems – dealing with issues of diversity and potential conflict in learning situations, including different rates of progression for different learners and cultural and linguistic diversity; Identifying the limitations of particular methodologies or activities and developing alternative ways of dealing with these.


Work effectively with others and in teams – this outcome will be demonstrated by:

  • Interacting with learners in a manner which promotes effective learning; and
  • Identifying team roles to plan own participation


Organise and manage oneself and one’s activities responsibly and effectively – this outcome will be demonstrated through the general and specific activities related to planning and organising the facilitation sessions.


Collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information – this outcome will be demonstrated when candidates analyse information on learner needs in order to plan appropriate facilitation sessions.


Communicate effectively using visual, mathematical and/or language skills — this outcome will be demonstrated by:

  • Ensuring the learner clearly understands the role he/she is to play and what is expected of him/her; and
  • Being culturally sensitive when communicating.