Exploring the Relationship between the Facilitator and Fidelity


  • Ryan J. Gagnon Clemson University


The role of the facilitator in helping groups achieve outcomes cannot be overstated. Facilitators are responsible for keeping groups goal oriented, on task, and are key in the development of a group into a team (Kitson, Harvey, & McCormack, 1998). Another important task for facilitators is to implement programs with a high level of fidelity. Fidelity refers to the degree to which facilitators implement programs as designed by the program developers (Dusenbury, Brannigan, Falco, & Hansen, 2003).

Maintaining fidelity has been shown as an important factor in the success of different types of programs, including drug abuse prevention (Dusenbury et al., 2003), violence prevention (Mihalic, Fagan, & Argasmo, 2008), employment training (Becker, Smith, Tanzman, Drake, & Tremblay, 2001), and classroom management (Webster-Stratton, Reinke, Herman, & Newcomer, 2011). However, in experiential education there has been significantly less attention given to the importance of fidelity. Tucker and Rheingold (2010) noted this discrepancy in a recent paper, pointing out that “fidelity has received little attention in the adventure education and adventure therapy literature, yet experts in the field stress that it should be included when developing, implementing, or evaluating adventure programs†(p. 260).




AORE Research Symposium Abstracts