Read about how to design and facilitate learning


Design to Engage: How to Create and Facilitate a Great Learning Experience for Any Group is a “how to” book that will help you become an effective designer and facilitator of learning events. Practical, accessible, and jam-packed with tools to support facilitators to create impactful learning experiences, Design to Engage is a revelation and an inspiration.

3D image of book front cover

“A refreshingly candid look at the challenges and important considerations involved in effective facilitation, especially useful for beginners and educators, all wrapped in a physically beautifully-designed book.”

-Dave Pollard, co-author, Group Works: A Pattern Language for Bringing Life to Meetings and Other Gatherings

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Facilitators exist wherever learning happens. Anyone who works in a community organization, a corporation, a government, or a healthcare environment can end up leading a workshop, running a course, or otherwise facilitating others’ learning. Facilitators can also be consultants or post-secondary instructors who have been hired to lead one course or more. However, many people haven’t been trained in how to facilitate learning effectively.

Design to Engage is a “how to” book that will help you become an effective designer and facilitator of learning events. You will:

  • learn about facilitation roles and responsibilities
  • discover what good learning experiences look like
  • plan for and design effective learning events using practical, straightforward design strategies
  • raise your awareness about how to create inclusive, comfortable environments.

Along with specific recommendations on developing the skills and strategies necessary to be an effective facilitator, you’ll find priceless advice on creating participatory activities to keep learners involved, assessing participants’ learning, gathering feedback about learning experiences, and how to grow your facilitation practice. The more engaging and interactive you make your learning events, the more people will actually learn from them.

Practical, accessible, and jam-packed with tools to support facilitators to create impactful learning experiences, Design to Engage is a revelation and an inspiration.

Praise for the Book

“With humility and precision, Beth has penned a practical guide to building social capital in groups. She illuminates ‘how to’ in a way that brings inspiring skills to people who may not identify themselves as facilitators. Most impressively, the implicit nuance of leading groups is made explicit without fuss or muss.”
-Keith McCandless, co-author, The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures

“The orientation of the guidebook is highly practical…with illustrations of her principal points drawn from real life, and she concludes each chapter with concise summaries. A clear, practical and well-organized education handbook.”
Kirkus Reviews

-“I read this over one weekend. It is a beautiful book, easy to navigate and chock full of excellent content without being ‘textbooky’. I immediately bought copies for my whole team as it covers foundational adult learning concepts for newer team members and it both challenges and validates the work of senior facilitators. Thank you Beth, for creating the ‘one’ book we’ve all been waiting for.”
-Sarah Hood, Director, Organization Development & Learning Services, University of Victoria

-“This book is enviably well-written. And as with any good writing, Beth grabs our attention with stories, examples and analogies. They make the message real and accessible. Some come at the start of a chapter; others come mid-way through. All of them are engaging in a book that is packed with good, practical advice. Most importantly, within this book, the medium is the message. Beth facilitates our learning by applying the principles and practices she recommends for helping adults learn. One could not ask for more from a facilitator of learning – role modeling that which she wants us to learn.”
-Dan Pratt, PhD, 3M National Teaching Fellow, Professor Emeritus & Senior Scholar, Centre for Health Education Scholarship, Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia

“This is the best book I’ve come across in my facilitation practice.”
-Chelsea Peddle, End-of-Life Planner and Death Doula, CircleSpace: Empowered End-of-Life Planning

“Your book is outstanding! Really well done. I highly recommend it to many. I hope it’s a textbook for people in the L&D landscape.”
-Stacey Berisavac, Manager, Organizational Development, Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC)

“It’s clear that you practice what you preach and that a ton of thought went into the format and design long before you penned a word. You are a consummate professional and it shows through this wonderful labour of love you are sharing with the world.”
-Ingrid Vaughan, HR Architect and Leadership Coach, Smart HR

Sample Book Pages

Chapter 1 Facilitators of Learning
Chapter 2 Takeaways
Create a Lesson Plan
Group Agreements - Common things to look out for
Room Setups

Free Downloads

Lesson Plan Template

Download this lesson plan template to help you start planning your next session.

Verbs of the Cognitive Domain

Download this resource to help you write learning outcomes for the cognitive domain.

Verbs of the Affective Domain

Download this resource to help you write learning outcomes for the affective domain.

Verbs of the Psychomotor Domain

Download this resource to help you write learning outcomes for the psychomotor domain.

Activities Checklist

Download this activities checklist to help you choose appropriate activities for your group and context.

Preparation Checklist

Download this preparation checklist to help you prepare to facilitate your session.

Audio Book Companion PDF

If you bought Design to Engage as an audiobook, here is the companion PDF with some more material.

For Media and Bookstores

Bookstore Sell Sheet

Media Kit

About the Author

Beth Cougler Blom began her career as a training coordinator and soon became a trainer and then facilitator herself, both as an employee with other organizations and through her own learning design and facilitation business, which she began in 2011. Beth has helped clients, large and small, in all sectors design and facilitate great learning experiences, face-to-face and online.

Beth has been an instructional designer for the teaching and learning centre at Royal Roads University and in the non-profit sector. She teaches learning design and facilitation in publicly-accessible courses through her own business and for select post-secondary and community environments as well as for private clients. In her work for community organizations and higher education institutions as well as for corporations, government, and healthcare, she has discovered how facilitation of learning could be and should be enhanced. Beth lives outside of Victoria, British Columbia with her husband and daughter.

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