Facilitator Guide

Designing a Successful Session with ADIDS

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A possible structure for implementing these session design principles is through ADIDS (Activity, Discussion, Input, Deepening, and Synthesis). ADIDS is a structure for sessions that draws from contemplations on approaches to adult learning. ADIDS helps plan engaging and fulfilling sessions by introducing a topic through an enjoyable activity, engaging participants in discussion, providing space for participant input, and deepening participant knowledge on a topic.

Below are some questions to consider when planning or structuring a session using the ADIDS format:

  • What activity can you start with to get participants grounded in their own contexts and challenges? Some sample activities are:
    • Silent reflection – ask participants to write down a response to a question, this can also be done online via a collaborative doc. Write the question with bullet points underneath.
    • Brainstorming and Organising – break participants into small groups to discuss the topic more deeply. Ask them to capture main points in complete understandable sentences in a shared collaborative doc.
    • Ranking – ask participants to break into pairs and discuss a list of techniques and ask them to determine most effective to least effective.
    • Scenario – create scenarios based on real-life problems that address the topic. Break participants up into small groups to review the scenarios and discuss how they would solve the problem.
  • Which questions could you ask when you bring them back into a large group discussion to help them reflect on the activity?
  • What expertise can be provided for the participants on the topic for Input?
    • Facilitators can introduce content from their own experiences and learnings
  • What is a small group activity where participants can deepen their knowledge with the expertise they have just received?
    • At this stage, Participants have more hands on involvement and can put their learnings into practice
  • How can they synthesise the session in a large group discussion?
    • A great way to do this is to summarise the session and talk about learnings and findings. Bring participants back together to share out on discussions, thoughts, processes, and answer lingering questions before the session ends
    • How much time will you have for follow-up questions and clarification on next steps?

The ADIDS format is a great way to approach and plan sessions. Here is a Session Design Canvas that you can use to plan your session and implement the ADIDS format. Please ensure that you make a copy before use.