Category Archives: Facilitation

Creating the Best Learning Environment in Your Classroom


OD Workshop - CBAT Timeline 2 - SmallHere are some tips on how to create the best learning environment in an adult learning engagement.

Rearrange Your Space

Nine times out of ten, when you get to the training venue, there will be something about the arrangement of tables and equipment that won’t be helpful for learning.  Arrive early (with a helper if possible), and rearrange tables, chairs, projectors, screens and other things to make sure that every participant will be able to see, hear and engage.  Make sure there are no obstacles in the way, that everyone can see the screen and facilitator, that your voice will carry to the furthest participant or that you have microphones.  Sit in participant chairs to see what they see.  Make sure they have enough space so that they don’t feel too cramped.

Expect the Unexpected

Things will always go wrong, so prepare for them.  Test all your equipment (especially LCD projectors, microphones and speakers).  Test and cue your videos to the right places.  Get extra batteries for the microphones.  Bring extra markers, and test them all to make sure they write well.  Decide what you will do if lunch is late, if the power goes out, if a senior leader decides to take up some of your time, if your printouts aren’t ready or unreadable.  Always have a Plan B.

Put Someone in Charge

Participants may be uncomfortable in the learning environment but too polite or shy to let you know.  At the beginning of your workshop, ask someone to volunteer to be the person in charge of the environment.  If participants are having trouble hearing or understanding you, they can tell the person in charge, who will let you know.  If they need a break or they need to adjust the air, they can tell the person in charge, who will let you know.  This gives adult learns more control over their environment, which increases their engagement.

Get Feedback Everyday

At least once a day (and more if you can afford the time), make time for participants to give you feedback about the content, the pace, the facilitation and the environment.  There are many ways to do this, but a few that we have found successful are a Rapid Evaluation Form at the end of the day (a one-page questionnaire on the four topics mentioned above) and a flipchart with a +, -, ? at the top (participants write what they like, dislike and have questions about on different sticky notes and post them as they leave).  Make adjustments based on what you learn, and tell your participants what you are doing so that they know their feedback counts.

Move Frequently from Big Group to Small Group

Try to keep your lectures to 10-15 minutes at the most.  Then, let the table groups discuss what they are hearing or do some type of activity with it.  This has multiple benefits.  It makes the most of short attention spans.  It helps those who are behind to catch up with the rest of their table.  It reinforces the learning through repetition and contextualization.  It balances learning for introverts and extroverts.  It surfaces questions that might not have been asked out loud.  It socializes the learning.  (This is the 20% of The Center for Creative Leadership’s (CCL’s) 70-20-10 model.)

Contextualize Your Content

Whenever possible, use local, relevant examples to illustrate your points.  If you don’t know them, ask for a subject matter expert (SME) to provide some before the training.  If you don’t have time to do that, let groups discuss the content and come up with their own local examples.  When we train on concepts that are new and different, it is harder for the learning to transfer from the classroom to the work environment.  Relevant examples help participants see how to apply the learning to their work.

Know Your Audience

Do the research to learn about who will be attending your workshop.  What do they know already?  Who are the experts in the room?  What is their work context?  What significant things are going on for them right now (at least in their work life)?

Only Teach Those Who Need to Know

Are the participants the right people to be attending this training?  If they are not, negotiate with your customer to get the right people in the room.  Participants who don’t participate can ruin the learning for everyone else, because they may be distracted, disinterested and disengaged.  If you have to keep them in your workshop, assign them something to do.  Acknowledge their expertise, and ask them to be table leaders or SME’s.  Let them help you manage the room or pass out materials.  Ask them to help you record meeting notes, parking lot questions or feedback from the others.  Invite them to join you for your facilitator debrief session at the end of the day.  Keep them busy.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Adult Learning Theory, Facilitation, learning, Motivation, Teaching

Ideas for Using Icebreakers, Energizers and Games Effectively in Learning


PHOTO - Icebreaker

The following tips might be helpful to you as you use icebreakers, energizers and games in your facilitation.

Connect to Your Content

Whenever possible, connect your icebreakers and games to the content.  Don’t just use them to increase energy; this is not the best use of your time.   You should be able to debrief the activity and make connections to one of your learning objectives.  (P.S. You can apply this principle to devotions, worship and even breaks sometimes.)

Provide Clear Instructions

Give instructions a little at a time and more than one time.  If you give all the instructions at the beginning, participants are likely to get confused or forget them.  Make sure you repeat the instructions, because there are always some who are not paying attention or don’t understand the first time.

Practice Before You Facilitate

Icebreakers and games rarely go as you planned them in your mind, and practice can help you see the flaws.  As you practice, think about how the activity will sound and feel to the participants.  Putting yourself in their place will help you see where you need to make adjustments.

Design Your Debrief

Design really good debrief questions to make sure they get the main ideas.  Icebreakers and games are fun, and participants often forget they are learning while doing them.  This is great, except that if you don’t do the work to connect what just happened back to the content, they may leave without learning what they needed to learn.

Set Clear Boundaries for Competition

When people compete in games, they get pretty upset if you change the rules in the middle or at the end.  They will be very creative in coming up with new ways to reach the goal, so you have to decide whether or not you want to allow creative solutions that may feel like “cheating” to other groups or individuals.  Make sure your rules are clear and comprehensive, and then stick with them.

Schedule for Downtimes

Icebreakers, energizers and games can be a very effective way of increasing engagement levels, especially when everyone is feeling tired or distracted.  The best times to schedule them are: at the beginning of the day, after breaks and after lunch.  It’s also a good idea to have a few extra energizers ready in case you can tell you are loosing your participants’ attention.  Try to keep icebreakers and energizers under five minutes so that they don’t eat up your facilitation time.

1 Comment

Filed under Energizer, Facilitation, Games that Teach, Icebreaker, Teaching, Uncategorized

4MAT Learning Styles of Biblical Characters (BIBLICAL CASE STUDY)


Audience

Teens, Adults

Time

45 minutes
Description

A Biblical Case Study is an exercise that uses Scripture to practice the use of modern business and leadership tools.  In this case study, participants will try to determine where Biblical characters fit in Bernice McCarthy’s 4MAT Learning Styles.

 

Scriptures

Nehemiah, chapters 1-4

 

Materials

  • Flipchart paper and markers for each table group (1 page each).
  • Masking tape (if you want to hang the flipcharts on the wall)
  • Sticky notes (one pad per table)
  • Marker (one per table)
  • Bible for each table group

Preparation

o  Teach about Bernice McCarthy’s 4MAT Learning Styles.

 

Procedure

Use the following process (or modify to suit your needs):

o  After teaching about the four quadrants, ask participants to draw the model on their own flip chart.

o  Allow them to customize it with language or symbols that are meaningful to them as long as they don’t lose the essence of what the quadrants represent.

o  Give them a list of Biblical characters.  (My recommendations are Noah, Job, Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, David, King Saul, Jonah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, Esther, John the Baptist, Peter, James, John the Beloved, Andrew, Paul, Timothy – but feel free to use others if you like.)

o  Have each group work as a team to put the names of each of these characters on an individual sticky note and place it in the quadrant on the chart that they think best represents the character’s learning style.

o  When they are all done, pick one character and discuss as a group.

o   Why do they think he/she fits in that quadrant?

o   What do other teams think?

o  Try to reach consensus among the teams, and keep your ears open for misunderstandings about the model. If you hear some incorrect understandings, correct those with the entire class.

o  Do a few characters like this until you are comfortable that they understand the model well.

o  Then, step out of the discussion, and let them debate among themselves. If they can’t reach a consensus, step back in to guide the decision making with some reminders about the model.

 

I’m including some recommended quadrants for each of the characters I mentioned above, but these are subjective and you could make strong arguments in some cases for placing them in other quadrants. “Correct answers” are not the most important outcome of this activity. What’s much more important is the process of participants wrestling with the model to find a place for the Biblical characters. In the end, they should have a much stronger understanding of the model even if their answers are “wrong.

 

Recommended Quadrants

Q1 – Imaginative Learner

·      Abraham

·      Samuel

·      Jonah

 

Q2 – Analytical Learner

·      Noah

·      Job

·      Jeremiah

·      Daniel

·      Esther

·      Andrew

·      James

·      Timothy

Q3 – Common Sense Learner

·      Sarah

·      Jacob

·      Paul

 

Q4 – Dynamic Learner

·      Moses

·      King Saul

·      David

·      Isaiah

·      Nebuchadnezzar

·      John the Baptist

·      Peter

·      John the Beloved

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Biblical Case Study, Facilitation, learning, Personality, Teaching, Training

Annimuzzles (ICEBREAKER)


Time

45-55 minutes
Description

This icebreaker takes longer than most to facilitate, but it can be a fun way to start an event where it is important for the group to think creatively.  Participants will work together in teams to create puzzles from their own illustration of different types of animals.  Another team will solve the puzzle.

 

Materials

·      Sheets of blank paper (1 per team)

·      Notecards (3×5 inch – 31 per team)

·      Markers (several colors per team)

·      Masking tape (1 roll per team)

·      Prize for the winning team (optional)

 

Preparation

·      Use one notecard from each team’s supply to write down the type of animal they have to draw.  Here are some suggestions for what you can write on the cards (but feel free to make up your own):

o   Tasty Animal

o   Smart Animal

o   Arctic Animal

o   Australian Animal

o   African Animal

o   Ugly Animal

o   Unfriendly Animal

o   Mythical Animal

o   Dangerous Animal

o   Farm Animal

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “Let’s do an icebreaker!”
  • “I need everyone to line up in order from least to greatest by your answer to this question: ‘How many pets have you owned over your lifetime?’”
  • “Those with the most should be on this side of the room.”  (Pick a side and point to it.)
  • “Those with the least should be on this side of the room.” (Point to the other side.  Allow them to sort themselves out.  Then debrief by finding out how many pets various people had.  Finally, divide the participants into groups by having them number off and having like numbers get together.  Make sure that there are no more than six people per team.  When they are in their teams, hand each team some markers, a sheet of paper and their 31 notecards, including the one with the assignment written on it.)
  • “I’ve handed each group 31 notecards, some markers and a sheet of paper.”
  • “On the top notecard is your assignment.”
  • “You are to work together to draw that type of animal on the blank sheet of paper.”
  • “Once you are happy with it, you are going to make a larger version of the same drawing on your 30 remaining notecards.”
  • “It’s easiest if you lay the notecards out side-by-side like a big canvas and then draw the picture on them.”
  • “You will be making a puzzle that another team will have to solve.”
  • “There are some rules you have to follow as a team:
    • Each person on your team must draw on at least four cards.
    • There must be some drawing on every card.  (It’s okay if it is background or landscape – it doesn’t have to be the animal itself.)
    • You will have only 20 minutes to make your drawing.”
  • “When your drawing is complete, shuffle your notecards.”
  • “When I give the signal, you will give them to another team, and we will see who is able to solve the puzzle first.”
  • “The first team to solve their puzzle will be the winner!”
  • “What questions do you have?”  (Answer questions, then let them begin drawing.  When it comes time to pass the cards, you can have them pass them in any order you want as long as every group gets a set.  Make sure everyone starts solving at the same time.  When you have a winner, award the prize, if you chose to have one.  Then, have groups debrief using the following three questions.  After they are done, you can use the tape to tape the puzzles on the back so that they can be hung for everyone to see.)

Debrief Questions

  1. What was challenging about that activity?
  2. What would have made it easier?
  3. How is this like the work and challenges you experience in your teams?

Leave a comment

Filed under creativity, Energizer, Facilitation, Fun, Game, Icebreaker, Teaching, team, teambuilding, teamwork

Zing, Zang, Zowie! (ICEBREAKER)


Time

10 minutes
Description

This fun icebreaker energizes and adds some silliness to a workshop.  It requires focus and concentration.

Materials

·      None

Preparation

·      None

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “Let’s do an icebreaker!”
  • “I need everyone to come stand in a circle.”
  • “Now, place your hands together like this (demonstrate) as if you were about to say a prayer.”
  • “This is your ‘Zinger!’”
  • “You use it to point to someone and say a word.”
  • “There are three words that you must say in the right order; they are ‘Zing,’ ‘Zang,’ and ‘Zowie!’”
  • “Everyone say them with me….’Zing!’….’Zang!’…..’Zowie!’”
  • “Excellent!”
  • “Here’s how this icebreaker is done…I’ll start and point to someone with my Zinger.”
  • “I’ll say, ‘Zing!’”
  • “Then that person has to quickly point to someone and say, ‘Zang!’”
  • “Then that third person has to quickly point to someone and say, ‘Zowie!’”
  • “The fourth person now starts over, quickly points to someone and says, ‘Zing!’”
  • “It’s okay to point right back at the person who pointed to you if you want to try to catch them by surprise.”
  • “This keeps going until one of two things happens:
    • Someone gets confused and says the wrong word (or a correct word in the wrong order).
    • Someone takes too long to respond.”
  • “If either of these two things happens, that person is out, and whoever used their Zinger on them starts off the new round.”
  • “What questions do you have?”  (Answer questions.  Then, begin a round, or have someone else begin it.  Play continues until you are down to two or three people.  Announce them as the winners!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Comfort Zone, competition, Energizer, Facilitation, Fun, Game, Icebreaker, Teaching, Training