20 Training Activities in a Simple Training Model

Training activities can be fun. Training should be engaging. Training must be meaningful.

I have been asked to design many training modules and have worked on several teams that value the fun aspect of training over the other two aspects I mentioned. I like a fun training as much as the next person, however meaningful and engaging training is paramount in training designing.

Aren’t Fun Training Activities Engaging?

When  a team asks you to make your training fun, work hard to make sure you are not adding fun elements to appease the fun factor. In other words, don’t throw in a bunch of garbage activities. What is a garbage activity? I am glad you asked, check out my post on the ATD blog on Throwing Away Your Garbage Activities.

Activities can be meaningful, engaging, and fun if done correctly. There are several factors in building a garbage-free training, the first of which is to use activities that are appropriate for the phase of instruction. One simplified model with four phases of instructions is the Anchor, Content, Application, Future Use model. Using that model, I’ve put together 20 engaging activities broken down by phase of instruction.

Training Activities by Phase of Instruction

Anchor

  • Haiku training activityWould You Rather: Boost the energy level in the room and get people laughing together.
  • Name Tag Switch: A challenging icebreaker focused on listening skills.
  • 6-word memoir: A concise way for participants to share.
  • The Messy Start:  Get learners thinking about the topic at hand as soon as they enter the room (or the Webinar).
  • Haikus: Tap into learners’ creativity and learn about them at the same time.

Content

Application

  • Polling: Get large groups involved. Can be low or high tech.
  • Kahoot: Games are great for most groups. Let them play and compete. Speed matters so it isn’t just knowing the answer.
  • Role Play: I saw you roll your eyes. Call it something else, but practicing in scenarios is essential for many objectives.How I See It Training Activity Instructions
  • How I see It: Lay perceptions on the table and discover the grey areas in our perceptions.
  • Build a Puzzle: This never fails. Just make it intentional.

Future Use

  • Action Plans: Use this approach to action plans to “Double the likelihood that learners will apply what they’ve learned”
  • Magic Paper: A low-tech way that creates shared accountability.
  • Group Debrief: A while list of ideas to improve debriefs.
  • Flash Cards: Put a job aid in your learner’s pocket.

Do you have ideas for training activities that fit in one of these phases? Please share in the comments!


If you want to know more about Garbage Activities and how to get rid of them, I’ll be speaking more on this topic next week at The ATD International Conference and Expo. Check out my session Tipping the Scales: How Garbage Activities are Ruining Your Training Wednesday at 10:00.

Will you be at ATD ICE? I would love to grab coffee and talk about instructional design. Comment below or find me on twitter @montanageekgirl.

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