Design to Engage: How to Create and Facilitate a Great Learning Experience for Any Group

“I’ve written you the book I wanted for myself earlier in my career.”

Beth Cougler Blom

This sentence in the opening paragraphs of Design to Engage tells the reader right away that this is a how-to book for people designing learning experiences. Not only is it a how-to book, the book has been written with knowledge and the desire to share that knowledge with the larger world in such a way that learning happens meaningfully and joyfully for those lucky enough to have either a spot in one of Beth’s sessions or a copy of Design to Engage on their bookshelf.

Writing in first person, Beth puts her whole self into telling her facilitator story, both the good and the not so good parts. All of it helps the reader see the possible progression from beginner to sought after facilitator who is constantly looking to improve herself and her sessions. Beth suggests that mistakes are simply learning opportunities.

Notice the use of colour for the interior.

The very setup of the book lends itself to quick dips into the subject matter. The chapters progress logically through steps from Facilitators of Learning (1) all the way to Grow Your Facilitation Practice (8) and the author encourages readers to read whatever topics they need at a given moment. Not often does an author say this, but Beth does. Her passion for learning and helping to learn leaps off the pages.

Notice the chapter colours.

The overall look also encourages readers to pick the book off the shelf, virtual or actual, and peruse the pages. The colour scheme of the cover is emphasized in the book itself with various sections found throughout in coloured frames or titles. My favourite use of the pastel colours is that each chapter has its own coloured page borders about ¾” thick making reading or searching for a particular chapter very easy. This also helps the reader know how many more pages remain in a given chapter, and the artistic effect is absolutely stunning.

Now you may have noticed that Beth and I share a name. Yes, she is my daughter and that has made me think long and hard about even writing this review. Still, as a former educator, I am familiar with the subject matter that is so close to Beth’s heart. I also think that this book would be useful for any writers who are called upon to do readings or workshops for their public. For those reasons, I decided to go ahead and give you my thoughts.

Beth’s book is available in hardcover, paperback, e-book and soon in audio format (read by the author herself).

Beth Cougler Blom began her career as a training coordinator 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. Her website is bethcouglerblom.com and other links are below.

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