Last week I completed a training course at the Ohio State University to become a certified DACUM facilitator. During the week of training, my co-learners often asked me if having observed about a dozen DACUM workshops made the training easier.
A DACUM workshop provides its observers with a thorough introduction to the DACUM process: each workshop begins with a somewhat in-depth orientation, plus the sheer repetitiveness and intensity of the process makes it impossible not to come away with a strong impression of how a DACUM is carried out.
A careful observer can also pick up a lot of what the facilitators are doing “under the hood” to make the workshop successful. In this sense, observing DACUMs helps to make the process non-alien, and imparts at least an “academic” understanding of how they are facilitated. It’s a bit like closely watching how someone rides a bike or drives a stick shift: after enough time you can at least figure out how it’s done and start to mentally practice doing it yourself.
But there is no substitute for the experience of getting up there and actually doing the facilitating with a panel. OSU’s DACUM facilitator training program consists of one day of conventional instruction in which learners are seated before an instructor, then two days in which the learners participate as panelists in a mock DACUM (or “Facum”) with one at a time taking turns as facilitator. The final two days are a sort of capstone session, spent conducting an actual DACUM with real panelists provided by government or industry organizations.
In my case, the panel I facilitated for consisted of employees from American Electric Power, where I work. In fact, their DACUM session was part of the very project I’m on, so I had the double benefit of also advancing my team’s project while I gained my DACUM certification.
Normally 3-4 learners share rotating facilitator duties on the capstone session, but for this one the panel was broken out into four mini-DACUMs consisting of two panelists and one facilitator each. This meant I facilitated a whole workshop by myself.
I can’t think of any better way to train! By time it ended, I was eager to facilitate another. A coworker observing the workshop asked me how it felt to be DACUM-certified. I responded, “Now everything looks like a nail.” My project is slated to include another five or six DACUM workshops before the end of 2019 and I can’t wait to facilitate them.
For a slightly more in-depth explanation of what DACUM is, I’ve written about it before.