Engaging, intentional, adult learning activities, face-to-face and virtual instructor-led, can make the difference between a session that helps learners to apply new skills or knowledge and one that falls flat. The following training activities for adults are designed to help you meet your learning objectives.
Games to Engage Adult Learners
Whether in-person or virtual, 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. When your session is online, this may be even easier than in person (learn more about Quiz Software here). Starting a game of Kahoot is much easier in a virtual meeting because everyone is at a computer already.
- 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. To do this in a virtual training session you might have participants use the chat or breakout rooms to share their answers.
In-Person and Virtual Instructor-led Training Activity: Compare and Contrast
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. Have you tried the annotation tools in virtual platforms? In virtual instructor-led training, you could have learners write their answers on a Venn diagram on the screen.
- Debates can help learners explore a topic in more detail and identify both its strengths and weaknesses.
Facilitating In-Person and Virtual 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 is going to be a great option in virtual training sessions. Most platforms include some sort of polling function. If they don’t, you can incorporate a free tool or do an old-fashioned show of hands. Polling your audience can help you ask open-ended questions to a large group and share the responses with the whole group.
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. If you are delivering this in an online session, you may want to put the statements in a handout or share them in the chat.
- Pair-Share puts the onus on individual participants to share in a safe environment and can lead to increased large-group participation. Have you tried breakout rooms? They may feel intimidating but can be incredibly useful for this type of activity.
- Concentric Circles is an instructor-led training activity that gets people up and moving and facilitates diverse discussions.
Voting / Prioritizing Content in ILT
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.
Alternative Ways to Present Content
Alternatives to lecture, especially for virtual instructor-led training, 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 or Zoom room.