Applies methods and approaches for the transfer of knowledge and values in the learning processDesigning Educational ProgrammesSkills to transfer knowledge and related values to the group of learnersTransferring knowledge or values related to the activity to the learners

Mutual learning Model: A Model for Learning From and With Others

What we know and how we transfer that knowledge to others is a completely different world. How many times we have said that someone knows a lot, but is not able to share and to pass the knowledge, the values or the passion to others? Because it is not easy to think and to put ourselves as trainers in a different position. In a way we should put ourselves in a position of learners and ask how we can communicate content with all the meanings that we would like and transferring the “why” is so important. Competent facilitation requires more than just “being good on stage”. It is about making the participants work and take ownership of the results they achieve. And finally, facilitation is about design, execution and follow-up.

I choose this “methodology” because it makes us reflect on the fact that in training based on non-formal methodology everybody is a learner, including the trainer. We can be able to adapt our methodology only if we will see the learner’s dimension in what we are proposing.

The trainer should be able to create a program flow that can fulfill the learners’ needs and the objectives of the training keeping in mind that the trainees are very different and that only one methodology does not exist per se.

Main content:

The Mutual Learning Model” is as described shortly in this article and can be found in more detail in The Skilled Facilitator by Roger Schwarz. This Model can help in better understand how the trainer can think about his/her approach to define a training model that can encompass all the training actors and facilitating the inclusion of values dimension.

Core Values:

  • Valid information
  • Free and informed choice
  • Internal commitment
  • Solidarity


  • I have some information; others have other information
  • Each of us may see things the others do not
  • Differences are opportunities for learning
  • People are trying to act with integrity, given their situation


  • Test assumptions and inferences
  • Share all relevant information
  • Use specific examples and agree on important words
  • Explain reasoning and intent
  • Focus on interests, not positions
  • Combine advocacy and inquiry
  • Jointly design the approach
  • Discuss undiscussable
  • Use a decision-making rule that generates the commitment needed


  • Increased understanding, reduced conflict and defensiveness
  • Increased trust
  • Fewer self-fulfilling, self-sealing processes
  • Increased learning
  • Increased effectiveness
  • Increased quality of work-life

To become more conscious of our behavior as a trainer and how we transfer our knowledge and values, we need a constant reflection and feedback. We need to become more present and tuned in to our feelings and body awareness. We can learn a lot about ourselves and use that information to address the issue at the time. We can begin to intervene based on the cues we get from our bodies.

These processes could help to self-reflect how we process our knowledge to become something that matters to the learners, something that could transform their understanding about the topic and also the perception they have about us.


How to apply it in everyday life?

  • Try to apply the process of the Mutual Learning in one or more session based on transferring Knowledge and asking precise feedback to the group about the “consequences”
  • During the day, ask yourselves if you need to do/have something or if you would like to have it. Is there a difference in the feelings and the actions afterwards?

Reflection questions:

  • How often, while preparing a session, I think about how the group will perceive me and my information?
  • Which tool do I use to assess with the group the learning flow and the emotional impact?
  • How much can I adapt what I had prepared to transfer the “why” of the content and not only the “what”?
  • When do I think that there is a need for flexibility in the learning needs keeping clear the final set of objectives?

Author of the article: Amr Araf

is a freelance consultant, trainer  and researcher based in Cairo, Egypt. Amr believes in the impact of youth work and the efficiency of non-formal
learning thus he turned these into his main areas of speciality. He works with several local and international institutions in MENA and Europe on designing and delivering educational programs for young people 15 – 30 years old. Amr has a master in Education and Youth studies from the University of Hong Kong, and a certified practitioner in Adult Learning by Calgary University in Canada and recipient of Community Leadership Certificate from George Mason University in Washington D.C. in US. He supports the autonomy of young people and transformative powers in them, and the importance of youth work to activate that.

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Editor: Federica Demicheli

A training focusing on participation as methodology (not only as topic) is based on a certain value premise that believes in the empowerment of all the learners and supporting the equal participation of the ones with fewer opportunities or in situations of disatatage (temporary or long term). The focus of participatory training is not just about ‘knowing more’ but about…

Click here to read more about Federica Demicheli

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