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4 gamestorming games to liven up your training

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Have you used the opening games to start your session or come up with your own approach? Now you can discover 4 new games to use throughout your sessions. These games, taken from ‘Gamestorming’ by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown and James Macanufo, will give you some pointers during your exploring phase. Happy training!

Situating knowledge and ignorance — ‘The Blind Side’ by Sunni Brown

In order to determine each participant’s level of knowledge, you can use a reflective exercise that invites them to situate themselves within the knowledge spectrum.

  • Number of players: 5 to 15 people
  • Duration: 30 to 45 minutes
  • Material: paperboard or whiteboard, Post-its

Instructions:

  1. Prior to the game, prepare a large paperboard (or use the whiteboard) to draw a profile and 4 arrows pointing in 4 directions. At the end of the first arrow write ‘know/know’, at the end of the second write ‘know/don’t know’, at the end of the third write ‘don’t know/know’ and at the end of the fourth write ‘don’t know/don’t know’. Define the theme of the game: this can concern the course in general or a particular aspect of it;
  2. Present the game to the participants: everyone must fill in the 4 arrows with their own responses. On the first arrow, each participant must write ‘what I know I know’ (‘what I am aware I know’). On the second arrow, ‘what I know I don’t know’ (‘what I am aware I don’t know’). On the third arrow, ‘what I don’t know I know’ (‘knowledge I have but that I don’t use for this subject’). On the fourth arrow ‘what I don’t know I don’t know’ (‘what I am not aware I don’t know’);
  3. Distribute Post-its and invite the participants to fill in arrow one, then arrow two, then arrow three;
  4. For arrow four, they will run into problems. Ask challenging questions such as, ‘What does this team know that your team is not aware it doesn’t know?’ Challenge the teams and their points of view. Use the completed table to enable the participants to write down what they don’t know;
  5. If your players become aware of their blind side, you have achieved your objective. If you want to take it further, think as a group about how to meet the challenges specific to the different responses and categories.

Source: all illustrations are taken from the book ‘Gamestorming’

To ensure the session runs smoothly, stick to very factual subjects and responses. This is not the place for psychological examinations or for any form of judgement between trainees.

Encouraging peer-to-peer learning — ‘Campfire’ by Sunni Brown

Include peer-to-peer learning using storytelling techniques: each member tells a story enabling their team members to discover a concept, know how to react to a given situation or broaden their knowledge.

  • Number of players: 8 to 20 people
  • Duration: 30 to 45 minutes
  • Material: Post-its and markers

Instructions:

  1. Ahead of the session, write 10 to 20 words on Post-its. These words will constitute the starting point for 10 to 20 stories. Think of neutral ideas: ‘projects’, teamwork’, ‘learning’, ‘first day of work’, ‘opportunities’, etc. Stick the Post-its on the wall of the room;
  2. Distribute markers and Post-its to the participants. Explain your idea: you are organizing a campfire and you would like the participants to share their stories. Present the wall of words and give the group 3 minutes to find a story associated with each word;
  3. Start the session with your own story. Choose a Post-it, stick it on the wall and tell your story. Invite each participant to do the same in turn. If a word in story no. 1 evokes another story for a participant, they can take over. This way, all the stories are linked. This link is revealed by the Post-its, stuck one after the other, creating a guiding thread;
  4. If no word in the previous story inspires the other storytellers, they take a Post-it at random and stick it after the others. The wall of words becomes the thread of the story. The game ends when all the players have told their story and the discussion draws to a close.

This technique enables you to use the players’ experiences to enrich the course. This game lightens the atmosphere and encourages informal discussion.

Managing feedback — ‘Five-Fingered Consensus’

Accelerate and facilitate progress checks to collect trainees’ feedback without affecting the group’s energy.

Instructions: whenever you feel the need, ask your participants to indicate their level of understanding or agreement concerning the subject in question. They must use their fingers to express their impressions, from 0 to 5: if they show 5 fingers, they understand the subject very well. If they raise a closed fist, they are very far from understanding the topic or session. Focus on those who show between 0 and 3 fingers; they will help you to be clearer and to reformulate or explain the subject in more detail.

This technique enables you to gauge disparities in perception and helps you concentrate on participants who need it without disrupting the others.

Sharing experiences and opinions — ‘The World Café’ by the World Café collective

The widely-used game The World Café enables you to switch from a classroom environment to an informal context based on a situation similar to a Café.

  • Number of players: unlimited, but in our example from 24 to 30 participants divided into groups of 4 to 5 people
  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Material: drawing materials

Instructions:

  1. Before the game, prepare a list of simple, concrete, open questions on the theme of your course or your session. Create a welcoming environment by setting up several round tables containing drawing materials;
  2. The game is divided into 3 sessions of 20 minutes each, including summary time. The teams designate one ‘host’ per table and the others are ‘ambassadors’. The 6 groups in our example answer similar questions at every table. Prepare as many questions as there are tables, bearing in mind that they must cover the same subject. You can approach the same theme from different angles, for example;
  3. When the 20 minutes are up, the ‘ambassadors’ change tables. The ‘hosts’ resume their previous discussions with the new ‘ambassadors’. The new discussions begin based on the closing reflections of the previous discussion, to avoid always starting from the same point.

This way, you capitalize on the discussions and conclusions to explore and discuss the subject further. This technique is very effective with large groups or complementary profiles.

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