Teacher, Trainer & Facilitator: What’s the Diff?


Well I’ve realized that many “professionals” still mix up between calling them self a teacher/instructor or a trainer or a facilitator. So I felt like sharing the below brief differentiation …this is by no means an academic definition, but rather from my own research and humble experience…so I’m open for all possible suggestions/enhancements. Here it goes…

Teacher/Instructor: Someone who has a sum of knowledge, concepts and theories that he/she transfers via lecturing/presenting to a group of participants.

Facilitator: Someone who has the skills to moderate and run sessions, exercises, discussions and work groups where knowledge is shared by and extracted from the participants themselves.

Trainer: Someone who has knowledge and practical experience in a specific topic that he/she transfers via sessions, exercises, case studies, examples along with presentations and what not. So if you want you can consider a trainer to be a blend between a Teacher/Instructor and a Facilitator. Thus the personal skills are as crucial as the knowledge and expertise of that person.

Now as a matter of fact, the “Job Title” or “Post” doesn’t necessarily dictate what the person does…I’ve seen teachers who actually train in their classes, who are very interactive and utilize a lot more than presenting. At the same time, I’ve seen trainers who actually “Teach” or “Instruct”. Some have a mix where they sometimes teach, sometimes facilitate and sometimes train…so it’s a flexible issue.

What really matters is to know what the person is actually doing… I hope that was somewhat helpful 😉

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13 thoughts on “Teacher, Trainer & Facilitator: What’s the Diff?

  1. Very helpful indeed Afif 😉 You’re right, if we are in that profession that stresses growth, many times, a blend of these becomes inevitable when running group sessions. And then coaching comes in to help individuals find their own solutions to their own problems. We learn best when we come up with our own advice (much better than when we are told what to do), right? 🙂 🙂

  2. I also like to see it as the trainer, and teacher have their own ‘agendas’ or goals that they want to reach. A facilitator helps the group go through a participatory process and go where the group wants. 😛

  3. I have the pleasure to be actually practicing all 3 at the same time. I do online teaching (Economics) for one of the universities in the US, I facilitate some workshops, especially when it comes to “Team Building” activities, and I deliver “soft-skills” training courses to various industries in the region. Although they do differ to some extent, what is common amongst all three, is your touching peoples’ lives and leaving your mark at all times! This is by far is the most rewarding feeling in my view. Thanks Afif 🙂

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