How to use Power Point while facilitating learning


When you have completed this module, and given a PowerPoint Programme and a workshop subject to facilitate, you will be able to:
  • List items that should be avoided when using PowerPoint in a facilitated workshop
  • Explain a basic principle that should to be followed when using PowerPoint in a facilitated workshop
  • Design slides that allow Dialogue, and which
    • Support adult learning principles of interaction,
    • discovery and
    • recognition of prior knowledge
  • Explain the facilitator dialogue to be used when using the slides

You will have done it correctly when the items listed above all can be ticked “yes”


PowerPoint can illustrate intricate points visually, attractively and memorably. Unfortunately, facilitators who fail to follow principles and guidelines in the use of PowerPoint can lose their participants’ focus and attention.

Items to be avoided when using PowerPoint in a facilitated workshop

  • Bullet Points, sentences and too much text

Further items to be avoided:

  • Sentences
  • Small fonts, Fancy fonts

See examples of this in the You Tube clip below:

Direct link to the above clip

Basic principles that should to be followed when using PowerPoint in a facilitated workshop

Don’t read your presentation straight from the slides

If your audience can both read and hear, it’s a waste of time for you to simply read your slides aloud. Your audience will zone out and stop listening to what you’re saying, which means they won’t hear any extra information you include. Instead of typing out your entire presentation, include only main ideas, keywords, and talking points in your slide show text. Engage your audience by sharing the details out loud.

Don’t forget your audience

Who will be watching your presentation? The same goofy effects and funny clip art that would entertain a classroom full of middle-school students might make you look unprofessional in front of business colleagues and clients.

Choose readable colours and fonts

Your text should be easy to read and pleasant to look at. Large, simple fonts and theme colours are always your best bet. The best fonts and colours can vary depending on your presentation setting. Presenting in a large room? Make your text larger than usual so people in the back can read it. Presenting with the lights on? Dark text on a light background is your best bet for visibility.

Use animations sparingly to enhance your presentation

There is no need to avoid animations and other effects entirely. When used sparingly, subtle effects and animations can add to your presentation.

Designing slides that allow dialogue and which support adult learning principles of interaction, discovery and recognition of prior knowledge

Present slides which encourage learners to examine them and solve problems on them.

Explaining the facilitator dialogue to be used when using the slides

Examples of Facilitator Dialogue:

Facilitator says:  Here is a picture of a forklift vehicle.

“Let’s label the parts of the forklift illustrated here”

(The whole group participates in labelling parts and explaining what they are for. The Facilitator acknowledges good answers and fills in the information gaps which the group does not cover.)

Once the group has worked through the first slide, the facilitator shows the next slide and says:

“Let’s see if we covered all the parts and their functions correctly”

Again this is time for the facilitator to acknowledge the groups work eg.

“Perfect, we got them all. Let’s move it up a level now and do some load and weight calculations”

In the next example the Facilitator wishes to work with learners about the symptoms of TB

Notice how the Facilitator avoids using bullet point slide which would have looked like this:

Instead, using a slide the Facilitator says:

“Let’s talk about the symptoms of TB”

The Facilitator then draws out the information from the group.

Once the group has participated in listing the symptoms, the Facilitator says:

“Let’s see if we got them”

and proceeds to show the next visual slide.

The Facilitator can recognise the group for their inputs and acknowledge them e.g.:

“Let’s look did we get them all?

(The group can examine the visuals and participate again e.g.: We said night sweats, weight loss, coughing blood, fatigue etc.)

The Facilitator can say;

“Well done, we listed all of these and some extras. Let’s move it up a level now and talk about treatment and prevention of TB…”


Be sure to avoid bullet points and text as these kill the learning.
Design slides that cause your group to work actively with you as they list items, identify items, name items, explain concepts, and summarise points.

Why does my certificate take so long?

ETDP Seta set new requirements for Learner Registrations

Previously registering a learner’s successful result with the ETDP Seta was easy. The assessor would examine and assess a submitted portfolio. If all was in order, it was a straightforward matter of completing the required documentation and registering the learner directly on ETDP’s Datanet website. A few days later the official seta Statements of Results would come. This happy process was dependant on an “Open Window”.

Registration Window

For service providers, their open “window” is very important. When their window is open, service providers can register learners who have met requirements online. Once the official Statements of Results were sent, Certificates would be issued. This was a convenient and satisfying system.
Generally, windows were open for up to six months at a time following a successful site visit (audit) by an appointed Seta verifier.

Desktop Verification: The first change.

Instead of a six month open window period, service providers found their windows closed just 30 days after their last ETDP verification visit. A handy “Desktop Verification” system enabled service providers to have their windows opened again without a seta site visit. A desktop verification required the service provider to submit a number of scanned documents, including assessment reports, moderator reports, class lists, etc. The system worked well for service providers, even though it required a lot of paperwork every 30 days.

External Moderation: The next change

Late in 2015, registering successful learners entered a new phase. Service providers now need to:

  • Assess all learners as previously done.
  • Moderate a minimum of three portfolios for any given unit standard the service provider offers
  • Moderate a minimum of 25 % of portfolios. ( Previously, 10 % was sufficient)
  • Ask the Seta to send an external moderator to physically examine all portfolios
  • Register only those portfolios which the external moderator approves and opens the window for

Portfolios arriving after such an external moderation visit, follow the same process until a following external moderation visit takes place again a month or two later.

What are the positives?

  • Learners are better able to secure work as the marketplace values and trusts their certificates for their legitimacy
  • The Seta can confirm that certificates issued go only to learners who have met stringent requirements
  • Service providers who issue certificates without delay are respected and secure ongoing business

What are the negatives?

  • Learners wait longer for certificates
  • Service providers have stacks of portfolios standing around waiting to be presented for external moderation
  • Service providers deal with frustrated learners who need their certificates urgently ( e.g. for job applications/compliance)
  • Service providers need to conduct many more moderations which adds to costs
  • Service providers are disempowered to register learners without the Seta first examining each portfolio
  • Courses fees have had to become more expensive to cover the additional costs

Fortunately, the certificates remain current and consistently open doors for learners seeking to work in the areas of their interest and passion.

Can An Activist Be A Facilitator?

In June this year, I took on the interesting assignment of working with seven environmentalists who chose to invest a training allowance they received on facilitation skills.

It took us the best part of the first morning to clarify roles.

It was clear that the group consisted of people who were zealously passionate about anything environmental, holding strong views on recycling, pollution, community gardening, alien plant removal, exploitation of resources, and, in some of their views, big business’s ability to buy their way into doing anything they wanted, anywhere, regardless.

While examining facilitator terms and meanings they had researched prior to the workshop, we stopped at this point: “Facilitators are neutral. When working with groups, they do not take a particular point of view but aim at opening communication.”
“That’s not us! “They said. “Our job is to either mobilise people towards something, like a community gardening project, or recycling waste, or against something like pollution of a water course or the development of an ecologically sensitive area.”

“So, are you more like advocates? I asked.”
“Exactly! That’s our passion and that’s our role,” they agreed.
I could feel a sense or outrage from some in the group. The neutrality required by a facilitator felt like a sell out.
“When they want to build a monstrosity in the estuary, am I supposed to take on a neutral role?” One asked one incredulously.
Sensing that they were experiencing strong emotions, including a sense of loss about their purpose as advocates we hung back for a while to let this information percolate a bit more.
Advocacy fights, defends, informs, educates and helps on behalf of those perceived as vulnerable or voiceless. In most cases, the advocate finds a lot of obstacles and resistance.

The facilitator has the primary objective to remain neutral. This can be challenging especially when personally held beliefs and values do not line up with those you are interacting with. Remaining unflinchingly neutral however will enable the facilitator to be a mediator who is can be perceived as trustworthy and reliable to either side.
At the close of the three day course, many said that the course had been a life changer for them. People were seeing how more reasonably and credibly they could facilitate unbiased interaction between apparently opposed groups and look forward to healthy dialogue and expression of robust opinions without having to blow the whistle too soon or to run for cover.

On the plane home, I reflected on the courageous shift people had made from being raving, banner carrying advocates contesting anything that was environmentally disagreeable to them, to calm, neutral and trustworthy facilitators able to bring opposing parties together.

Brian Jensen

Brian is an experienced facilitator who trains facilitators and trainers throughout South Africa and beyond.
Contact him at:

Colleges step up training of assessors

Colleges step up training of assessors

Colleges need qualified assessors to comply with the requirements for hosting and assessing Learnership candidates. More and more grants are being made available to train large numbers of Learnership candidates and this presents great business opportunities. At Execoach we have mastered the art of making it easy for lecturers to complete both the Assessor training and the registration process. Colleges we have worked with enjoy our style of facilitating and love the amazing materials we use. Mostly they enjoy the easy to use POE kit which enables portfolio building to take place in as little as three days.

Queenstown Feedback

Feedback from our course at Ikhala College in Queenstown.

“Inspiring, encouraging, excellent facilitators, empowering, understandable, well presented, , relaxed, highly useful, love the portfolio building kit! Patient and understanding facilitators, motivating etc., I now understand and appreciate the NQF in a new way.”

Moderator training afterwards

Execoach will gladly train and register your moderators afterwards in the same easy and accessible way.

Special Site Training Rate

Call us for a special rate for on site training

We offer FET colleges special rates for training done on your campus. We do not charge for our travelling and accommodation Execoach has been registered as a service provider since 1999 and an accredited provider of Assessor and Moderator training with the ETDP Seta. Our facilitators are practicing assessors and moderators.

Call us at 021 595 1700