18 Instructor-led Training Activities to Engage Learners

Engaging, intentional, instructor-led training activities can make the difference between a session that helps learners to apply new skills or knowledge and one that falls flat. The following instructor-led training activities are designed to help you meet your learning objectives.

Learning Games to Engage

Instructor-led training often includes games to make things interesting. Games are useful if they serve a goal beyond being “fun”.

  • Quiz Games like a Jeopardy-inspired quiz game can make sure that your learners know your content, but they may not be able to do something with it.
  • Newleywed-inspired Game will help you see if learners are on the same page or to see how much they know about the work others do.

Compare and Contrast Activities

Facilitators can use compare and contrast activities to engage small and large groups in distilling any number of subjects.

  • Venn Diagrams provide a wealth of opportunities for instructor-led training. You can engage the whole room in a very visual activity to compare and contrast.
  • Debates can help learners explore a topic in more detail and identify both its strengths and weaknesses.

Brainstorming Activities

Whether in a meeting or instructor-led training session, brainstorming activities are a constant. Creating structure and varying the type of interaction can have tremendous benefits.

  • Write-n-Run activity can generate a lot of thinking and capture it on flipcharts. This has multiple benefits, including turning the tables from instructor-led training activities to learner-led training activities.
  • Sticky Notes-n-Run is a twist and have participants work individually and then do some concept grouping.
  • Polling can help you ask open-ended questions to a large group and share the responses with the whole group.

Discussion Activities

Discussions will be peppered through your instruction-led training plans. Try these alternatives discussion activities to engage your learners.

  • How-I-See-It is a great activity that works in a ton of scenarios. The key is to prepare cards with statements that lead to good discussion.
  • Pair-Share puts the onus on individual participants to share in a safe environment and can lead to increased large-group participation.
  • Concentric Circles is an instructor-led training activity that gets people up and moving and facilitates diverse discussions.

Voting / Prioritizing Content

Many meetings and training sessions involve some sort of voting, be it a show of hands or voting dots. No matter what you choose, make sure it is actionable in the session.

  • Voting Dots are a standard way to quickly gauge experience in the room or priorities for learning.
  • Online Polling like PollEverywhere can engage learners who may already be tempted to check their phones during your session.
  • Show of Hands doesn’t hurt, but you risk groupthink.
  • Colored Voting Cards help learners put a little more thought into a vote.
  • Sticky Note Ordering allows participants to prioritize or organize a list of items.

Present Content

Alternatives to lecture can be intimidating when you have content that NEEDS to be shared with your learners. Consider some of these content presentation techniques to keep your learner engaged.

  • Storytelling is a way to mentally transport your audience to a different place and time. While you are still talking to the group, it is not a lecture.
  • Panel Discussions allow you to bring multiple expert voices into the discussion and give participants a chance to engage with different perspectives.
  • Gallery Walks let participants explore content posted around the room and can be useful to raise the energy level in the room. Learners digest the information at their own pace.
  • Video is an option when there is an outside resource that is better than what can be done in the room.

Want some more details on how to facilitate any of these instructor-led training activities? Have an activity to add? I’d love to hear your questions or ideas in the comment section below.

2 thoughts on “18 Instructor-led Training Activities to Engage Learners

    • Yeah, I really didn’t have the intention of creating 18 examples of activities, but then I got a few notes and figured I could actually make a contribution to society if I were to post some examples of various activities.

      Thanks for prodding me on, Rachel… let me know if you actually use any of these!

Leave a Reply