“One does not begin with answers. One begins by asking, ‘What are our questions?’ ” Peter Drucker
Brainstorming is a familiar and convenient problem-solving activity. We like it because each idea sparks another one and, since no idea is unacceptable, the more bizarre ideas can generate breakthrough solutions.
Brainstorming sessions challenge the participants to come up with creative ideas. However, there are two potential drawbacks to using brainstorming:
- It can generate a lot of pressure on the participants to produce ideas.
- If there is strong peer pressure, the participants can be influenced to come up with obvious responses rather than free associate.
There is an alternative that satisfies the desire for collaborative thinking and problem solving without these negative consequences.… Read the rest
“Life is more fun if you play games.” Roald Dahl
Learning is also more fun if you play games!
I was reading a wonderful InfoLine written by Julie Patrick: “Creative Facilitation Techniques for Training” and found a simple yet effective content review activity: Tic-Tac-Toe.
According to Ms. Patrick, this activity can be used: in classroom training, during on-the-job training that involves at least two participants, or with an unlimited number of participants during synchronous online sessions.
The tic-tac-toe “board” can be drawn on a flipchart or provided in a handout.
Two participants or two teams compete against each other to answer content review questions. If they answer correctly, they place an X or an O on the tic-tac-toe “board.” Regardless … Read the rest
“There’s a way to do it better—find it.” Thomas Edison
During a train the trainer workshop in Dubai, UAE, a participant created and facilitated a variation on Jeopardy that I think is very clever.
Seta Tutendjian used flipcharts and index cards for her Jeopardy. Since this was to be a 10-minute facilitated activity, she had to limit the number of questions.
She divided the flip chart into two columns and two rows. The table groups threw their foam dice to determine which group would select a category first.
Then, the variation that I like was that the groups had to: (1) discuss the question, (2) write down their answer on an index card, and (3) bring their index card to … Read the rest
“A rule to live by: I won’t use anything I can’t explain in five minutes.” Philip Crosby
The number five, or multiples of five, occurs frequently in training. It applies to curriculum design, room set up, training delivery and group facilitation.
- Accelerated learning promotes participant-centered “whole body learning” by engaging as many of the 5 traditionally recognized senses as possible. Audiovisuals and peripherals on the walls will engage the sense of sight. Experiential learning activities will engage the senses of hearing and touch. Bowls of candy on the training tables will engage the sense of taste. Fragrant magic markers will engage the sense of smell.
- Five is the ideal number of participants to be seated at a training table.
“I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.” Patrick Henry
A recent conversation with a colleague reminded me once again how important it is for trainers to model (demonstrate) what they want their learners to do- before the learners do it on their own (in small groups, pairs or individually).
I learned the hard way, through trial and error (mostly error), that modeling before assigning an activity is important. I had given small participant groups some case studies to analyze, without showing them how to analyze a case study. As a result, they settled on the obvious causes rather than the real causes. Had I walked them through a preliminary … Read the rest
“No memory is ever alone; it’s at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails that each have their own associations.” Louis L’Amour
In my previous Tip, I mentioned my plan to create peg systems for two content areas: seven motivational techniques and six key steps in lesson plan design. Today, when I sat down to think about the associations and actions that would be relevant, I was amazed to discover that coming up with a peg system was quick, easy and a lot of fun!
The key for me was identifying the properties of the strategy or step. Once I had the property clear in my head, an action that would represent that property came quickly to … Read the rest