Laurel and Associates, Ltd.

Category Archives : learning activities

Tip #680: Creative Ways to Check for Retention

“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” Randy Pausch

I’ve been designing and delivering training for many years- and I am constantly surprised and delighted at the creative learning activities participants in train-the-trainer programs design! This is one of the primary perks of participant-centered learning programs, because the facilitator is always learning new information, perspectives and techniques from the participants!

Here are three retention-checking learning activities that I’ve never seen before that were both effective and a lot of fun. All three of the activities also incorporate elements of challenge and competition, which adult learners appreciate.

One of the activities was designed by a participant in a Professional Trainers Certificate program in Madison, Wisconsin, and the other two activities … Read the rest

Tip #679: There are No Dry Topics

On July 11, 2017, Posted by , In learning activities,Uncategorized, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #679: There are No Dry Topics

“I can excuse everything but boredom. Boring people don’t have to stay that way.” Hedy Lamarr

There are no dry topics, just dry training.

If you don’t believe me, consider these two creative participant-centered learning activities that replace the lecture typically used for teaching rules and benefits.

These activities were designed and facilitated during the Professional Trainers’ Certificate program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Continuing Studies.

Note: For both activities, the participants are seated five to a table. The activities work best if there is an even number of participants and no more than 5 content items.

Using art to teach rules and test retention. (With thanks to James Phetteplace)

  1. Provide a list of the rules.
  2. Have each participant
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Tip #639: Ensure Relevance

On September 19, 2016, Posted by , In learning activities, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #639: Ensure Relevance

“Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides.” Rita Mae Brown

For many years, I have used the same case study in a seminar to teach managers how to coach their employees to improve performance. Luckily, it has resonated with participants in the past, so I had no idea that it needed to be revised.

Recently, I had a rude awakening when the class (composed of participants with similar roles and responsibilities to previous participants) pointed out that the case study needed improvement to be meaningful for them.

Here are the changes that they requested:

  1. Current Language: The employee in question is identified by name but not by title.

Recommended Revision: Include the employee’s title, … Read the rest

Tip #635: Use “Hangman” to Check Retention

On August 22, 2016, Posted by , In learning activities, By , , With Comments Off on Tip #635: Use “Hangman” to Check Retention

Games shouldn’t only be fun. They should teach or spark an interest in other things.” Hideo Kojima

The “Hangman” game is a wonderful way to check participant retention at the end of a session. I learned about it from Linda Fleischman at the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia.

Here are the directions:

  1. Create groups to compete against each other. (Note: It works best if two groups compete against each other.)
  1. Provide each group with flip chart easel paper, markers and painter’s tape (if there aren’t enough easels).
  1. Give the groups 5 minutes to create their own lists of questions related to the content of the session.
  1. The groups should then take turns asking
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Tip #616: Effective Learning Facilitation Game

On August 8, 2016, Posted by , In learning activities, By , , With Comments Off on Tip #616: Effective Learning Facilitation Game

“Life is more fun if you play games.” Roald Dahl

This word search game requires the participants to read through a list of key points and find the letters that spell out a summary sentence. Working in pairs, the participants find this approach a lot more stimulating than simply reading through a long list,

  1. Remember that the training is about the LEARNER, not the t
  1. To light a spark, you need to find a good balance between sharing your enthusiasm and providing opportunities for the learners to become enthusiastic themselves.
  1. Avoid telling adults they must learn something. When you do, they’ll often learn only what they feel they need to learn.
  1. Provide a
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Tip #613:  Brainwriting

On March 21, 2016, Posted by , In learning activities, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #613:  Brainwriting

“Brainwriting is brainstorming on steroids.”  Luciano Passuello

Brainstorming is not as effective as we thought. We discussed “question-storming” as a better alternative in Tip #610. In this Tip, we will come at brainstorming from a different perspective.

Extensive studies of brainstorming teams have found that participants who work in isolation consistently outperform participants who work in group. This is true in terms of both the quantity and the quality of the ideas generated.

There are three major reasons for this.

First, since all of the participants in a brainstorming group cannot talk at once, some ideas don’t get heard. This is called “production blocking.”

Second, some participants may hold back their most original ideas because they fear they may … Read the rest