51 Ways to Make Online Training More Effective

Effective Presentations

The activities listed below can be used to enliven and add value to your teleseminar or webinar.

These are generic activities that can be used in many different situations. The descriptions are brief, but they should be enough for you to design something to meet the needs of your program.

1. Articulation – Stop a presentation periodically and have participants talk with each other about what was just presented, what it means to them, and how they can use the information in their real lives. 

2. Project – Assigning a challenging task to participants either individually or in groups.

3. Action Idea List – Ask participants to stop periodically and write down specific actions that they will do because of what they have learned in the teleseminar.

4. Fishbowl – Configuring a group by asking a portion of it to form a discussion circle and having the remaining g participants form a listening circle around the
discussion group.

5. Closing Circle – Have participants share thoughts at the end of a topic or the workshop as a whole.

6. Brainstorming – Generate ideas in a group by eliciting quick contributions without facilitator comment or opinion.

7. Questionnaire – Giving a survey or instrument that participants complete and obtain some form of structured feedback.

8. Case Study – Engage participants in an activity that reflects reality in a symbolic way or simplified manner. This is usually through a scenario which allows people to work out a problem, decide on options for how to react, or practice ways of responding.

9. Artist’s Way – Have people draw a picture of something relating to the topic.

10. Contracting – Have individuals or small groups agree to carry out a future behavior – usually involving an agreement of when and how to follow up.

11. Crypto Cluster – The facilitator presents a puzzle to the class with enciphered items that are related to a specific theme (e.g. benefits of a particular Acura car, features of automotive technology, common misconceptions about specific technologies).

The items are enciphered using a simple letter substitution system; each letter in the item is consistently replaced by some other letter of the alphabet (for example, every “e” in the item may be replaced with a “j”).

The challenge for the participants is to decipher the items in the list by using a combination of general cryptographic principles and knowledge of the subject matter area. This activity can be performed individually or in teams. The first participant or team to complete the puzzle wins.

12. Guided Teaching – Pulling from participants their knowledge of the subject matter and shaping it in a particular way.

Often done through asking appropriate questions to the group. More interesting than lecturing on a topic when the group contains expertise.

13. Exam Cram – The facilitator divides the class into study groups or study pairs and distributes an exam/test to each team.

The facilitator tells participants that they will be tested on the content. Participants have twenty minutes to cram for the exam.

The facilitator then administers the test or not; his/her choice because the purpose is to get them to review the content!

14. Icebreakers/Energizers – Structured interaction that introduces playfulness and lets participants get acquainted with each other. Usually done at the beginning of a workshop to create readiness for learning.

15. Wild Idea – To encourage free thinking try the ‘wild idea’ technique. Invite the group to dream up a really wild and crazy idea.

The laughter can be a good break and sometimes the best ideas are embedded in something crazy. Try: “How many uses can you think of for a paper clip?”

16. Listening Teams/Individuals – The facilitator divides the group into four or five teams, or selects 4-5 individuals, and makes each team/individual responsible for listening to and recording key information on a specific topic.

The facilitator then asks the teams/individual to report the key information back to the whole group in sequence as summaries.

17. Discussion – Giving participants a chance to share their knowledge with one another. To make the best use of discussion, you need to give participants a definite task – “Have a discussion with your partner about…” Discuss the pros and cons. “Come up with three reasons for…”

 Discussion in Pairs – Good for quick exchanges on a topic to give relief from lecturing. Point of view limited.

 Small Group (3 to 5 participants) – this size group gives all participants a chance to speak. It’s best to mix up the groups periodically so people interact with a variety of people in the workshop.

 Panel Discussion – Exchange of ideas between a panel made up of participants while others listen and ask questions.

 Read and Discuss – Asking participants to read and then discuss the content of a handout or short written assignment.

18. Flash Cards – Use for teaching terminology – pairs quiz each other in a breakout, or facilitators can use them on slides.

19. Game – Use a quiz or game board format to experience or review content.

20. Problem-solving Activity – Have people write down or present their problem. Have participants offer solutions to the problem.

21. Demonstration – Showing participants how a concept, procedure, or skill looks in action.

22. Facts in Five – Participants receive a handout, or facilitator shows a slide, with a five by five matrix that has different categories along the columns and letters of the alphabet along the rows.

Players fill each cell of the matrix with a key word beginning with the specified letter that fits the appropriate category.

Players’ words score extra points for originality. The activity is usually used with a specific content area (e.g. sales terminology) that limits which types of key words may be used.

23. Information Scavenger Hunts – As individuals or in teams, have participants compete to find information pertaining to your topic. (great as a homework assignment)

24. Review Techniques – Break into small groups, or have individuals, prepare a sentence or paragraph on their topic and three questions for the group to test

25. Introductions – Introductions should include at a minimum a name and some information about the person in relation to your topic.

o Finish the Sentence – Go around and have people finish a sentence as they introduce themselves.

For example: My pet peeve about my job is…

If I had Saturday all to myself…

My favorite vacation was…

If a movie was made of my life, it would be called…

A famous person I would love to have a conversation with would be…

26. Q & A – After a presentation, have each person write down three questions they have about what was just covered. Then break them up into groups and have them ask each other their questions.

27. Feedback Activity – Requesting participants to give one another reactions to the behavior of the other.

28. Role Play – Having participants act out and thereby experience real-life situations.

29. Fill in the Picture – Give people a pictogram or diagram with missing information. Ask them to ‘complete the picture’ with the information from a presentation, or from reading content.

30. Information Accessing Skills – Equip each participant with the necessary content material. Then ask a series of questions that can only be answered by assessing the content material.

31. Self-assessment – Posting questions that require participants to reflect on their attitudes, knowledge, or behavior.

32. Hit or Myth – Participants receive a list of ten statements related to a topic that are either true (hit) or false (myth). After selecting their choices individually, the facilitator reviews each statement and discusses it.

Statements generally include commonly accepted myths that are false. Participants receive one point for a correct answer plus a one point bonus for each participant that got it wrong. This scoring system rewards participants who respond correctly to tougher statements.

33. Skill Practice – Trying out and rehearsing new skills.

34. Mini-lecture – Briefly presenting key points about a topic. Mini-lecture should last no longer than 10 to 15 minutes.

35. Teach Back – Use participants to provide instruction for one another.
 Have participants absorb written content and teach to other participants.
 Have a participant write steps of how to do something and have a partner read it back and use it to see how clear the instructions are.

36. Jig-saw – The facilitator divides the class into teams and assigns team leaders. The facilitator provides teams with documentation dealing with one part of a
topic and asks each team to prepare a presentation on its part.

Each team decides on the presentation style and the means for making it interesting to the group. The facilitator calls on the teams in order to present resulting in a complete lecture. The facilitator debriefs the group at the end.

37. Stump Your Buddy – Ask participants to ask the group five questions about what was just presented.

38. Mad Lib – Write a sentence leaving out key words that the trainees will fill in with what they’ve learned throughout the workshop.

39. T-Charts – Draw a letter ‘T’ on a piece of flip chart paper. Draw a plus sign on one side and a minus side on the other. Invite participants to tell you good news and bad news about an issue or topic.

40. Mental Imagery – Guiding participants through a visualized experience in their minds rather than through real interaction.

41. Share a Feeling – Ask participants to complete this sentence, “Right now I’m feeling…”

42. Mind-mapping – Identify a central question and draw a circle around it. Sketch and circle other thoughts as they occur. Draw a line between connecting
ideas to show relationships.

43. Writing Task – Requiring participants to compose a writing response to a training assignment such as an action plan or a learning journal.

44. Police Interrogation – The facilitator informs the group of the topic to be mastered and announces that there will be a quiz at the end of a specific time
period. Learners must question and probe to “force” content out of the facilitator.

The facilitator only answers specific questions. The facilitator can open the session to individual interrogators or have groups create questions and then interrogate. Learners can summarize among themselves what they learned prior to the quiz.

45. Mnemonic Device – Create a mnemonic device to remember key steps or important points.

46. Whip – Rapidly sharing information or ideas by going quickly around the full group for contributions.

47. Next Steps – Have participants write down how they will use what they’ve learned on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and what the barriers might be to making changes.

48. Observation – Listening to others, without directly participating but giving feedback in written or verbal form at the end of the observation period.

49. Mismatch – This is a simple, fun exercise to verify whether or not participants have absorbed information about a variety of topics or products presented within a short space of time.

The facilitator presents four to eight brief scenarios in which someone asks a question and receives an answer. While appearing reasonable, the questions and answers are mismatched. Participants have to match up the correct question and answer pairs.

50. Peer Consultation – Allowing participants to help fellow participants with reallife problems.

51. Personal Aside/Story – Stimulate participant reflection by telling a tale or anectode.