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B-I-N-G-O and BINGO is a training game-O!

Of all the many games out there, maybe a simple game of BINGO is what you need to see if your learners are "getting it".

While “engagement” doesn’t necessarily equal “effective” when it comes to training design, lack of engagement most often results in ineffective training. Introducing games or game elements into a training program can be a very fruitful way to engage participants (if the games are designed well).

Next Tuesday, our Train Like You Listen podcast will feature gamification expert Karl Kapp who will be discussing the differences between games and gamification as well as offering some gamification examples and ideas, if introducing game elements into your training program is something you’re looking to do.

In honor of game play in a professional development context, the first five Train Like A Champion readers to come back on Tuesday, print out this BINGO card, mark off the concepts that Karl and I discuss during the podcast (hint: we will only discuss 5 of the 8 concepts on this card, so you’ll have to listen to the podcast and mark this BINGO card up!) and send it back to me ( will receive a $10 Starbucks gift card.

BINGO Contest

In today’s blog post, we’ll be taking a look at how a simple game of BINGO can add a different kind of engagement to your training program.

Why Use BINGO in Training?

Yes, there are more complex games out there that allow you to assess higher level learning elements such as recall and application. BINGO, however, can help keep your participants paying attention until the very end.

I like to use BINGO sometimes when we’re doing a role play or a presentation “teachback” – or in any activity in which participants are challenged to apply what they’ve learned to a scenario while they are being observed by their peers.

Following is an example of how we’ve swapped out a plain, conventional observation form during a train-the-trainer session with a BINGO card that prompts observers to be looking for very specific behaviors on which they should be giving feedback.

BINGO Observation 1

The participant who is observed demonstrating the most items from this BINGO card earns bragging rights, and the person who observes someone using all of these items “wins” the game of BINGO.

Following the observations, participants are given this corresponding resource to incorporate peer feedback into their personal action plans.

BINGO Observation 2

How Can I Create a BINGO Card?

Obviously you can use Word for a basic BINGO card. Using the Insert Table function in Word can lead to a quick, easy BINGO card.


If you’d like to up your visual design game, maybe PowerPoint is the way to go. It takes a little more time, but it does add a touch of visual intrigue to your materials.


Or if you really want to go down the rabbit hole of BINGO options, check out this online BINGO card generator. It offers a lot of options for both printing hard copy BINGO cards from a pdf to being able to play BINGO online with custom cards you’ve developed.


A Note of Caution

I can’t finish this blog post without offering one note of caution. Using a BINGO card can be helpful to keep your participants focused, but there is such a thing as being too focused, and that can result in your learners seeing only selective pieces of your training while missing other key learning points.

This phenomenon was made popular by a study that involved the following video. In the study, participants were asked to watch and count the number of times the people in white shirts pass the ball. If you have a minute or two, play the video and see if you can count the number of times someone in a white shirt passes the ball.

Some people are so focused counting the number of passes by people in white shirts, that they miss the funniest part of the video.

So, if you’re planning to use a BINGO card, just be sure it helps achieve your learning objectives… and be sure people aren’t so focused on what’s on your BINGO card that they “miss the gorilla on the court.”

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