21 February 2023 Classroom training is an essential tool for professional development and skill-building, but it can also be a challenging and intimidating experience, both for trainers and trainees. One way to make the learning environment more engaging and effective is by incorporating games into the classroom. Classroom training games can serve as an icebreaker, helping to build rapport among participants and create a relaxed and open atmosphere for learning. One of the key benefits of using games in the classroom is that they can help to break down barriers and build a sense of community among participants. When people are engaged in a game, they tend to focus on the task at hand, rather than on their own insecurities or doubts. This can create a sense of camaraderie and trust among participants, which is especially beneficial for those who are new to the training or who may be hesitant to share their thoughts and ideas in a traditional classroom setting. Games can also help to increase long-term engagement in the classroom. When participants are actively engaged in a game, they are more likely to pay attention and retain information. This can help to create a more effective learning environment, where participants are more motivated to learn and more likely to remember what they have learned. Below we break down three games that will engage your class at the start of the year and ensure that you set the scene for a productive and open landscape for learning. Group Scoop Objectives: Help learners to recall key experiences, reflect on them, and consider how they may apply to their own situations. Time: 45minutes. Resources: Index cards, pens. Description: This is a debriefing activity that enables participants to express, explain, and exchange a wide range of feelings, insights and perspectives with each other Process: Hand out four blank index cards to participants.Ask an open-ended question such as “what important insights did you gain from this topic?” or “what useful tips did you learn from this activity?”Direct them to write down four different answers to your open-ended question on their index cards, with one answer written per card.After a few minutes, collect the response cards from the participants. Mix them up and randomly deal three cards to each participant.Ask each person to independently study the responses on the cards and to arrange them according to how strongly they agree with the response.While the participants are doing this, arrange the remaining cards on a spare table or pin board.Tell the participants that they can swap out any of the response cards and select replacements from those available on the table or board.Once complete, instruct the participants to exchange cards with each other to make their sets better reflect their personal opinions. Any participant may exchange any number of cards with any other participant, but every participant must exchange at least one card.Direct the participants to compare their cards with each other and to form groupings with people with similar opinions. There is no limit to the number of participants who may team up, but a team may keep no more than three response cards from their combined hand. It must discard all other cards, keeping only the three which meet with everyone’s approval.At the end of the selection, instruct each team to prepare a poster that non-verbally reflects its response cards. This poster should not use any text and should summarise the critical points contained in the three final cards.After five minutes, invite each of the groups to share their posters. Debrief: Congratulate the groups on their poster sharing.Explain that the “group scoop” approach enabled many perspectives to be considered and reflected upon, prior to producing a final summary, rather than simply a narrow, personal view.Invite the group to discuss the benefits of this approach and then connect this to the content, where applicable. (For instance, if the main topic was industry engagement, a correlation could be made that a wide variety of views are necessary to ensure appropriate representation from all stakeholders is achieved.) Variations: This activity could be completed online using a virtual post-it note tool such as www.miro.com or www.mural.co as the way for recording and then organising the responses.The group scoop could be completed with people outside of the class and then shared back at a later date. This variation could produce additional valuable insights as it extends upon the perspectives and experiences of the group. Bucket of Questions Objective: To review topics covered throughout the session. Time: Completed at different times throughout the session. Materials: Bucket, post-it notes or index cards and pens. Description: This activity provides a quick way to review the topics covered over the course of your treaching in an on-going basis during the session. Process: Whenever you finish a segment/key topic, pass out post-it notes or index cards and ask participants to write questions about the covered material. Add a few questions of your own to keep them on their toes and to ensure full coverage of the content. Add all questions to a bucket or box and throughout the session, pass this container around and ask participants to pull out a random question and answer it. Since they don’t know what kind of question they will be getting, this is one way to ensure they’re paying attention and also provides a way for you to review the content and test their information retention. Debrief: The trainer should thank the learners for their participation and invite them to ask any other questions that were left unanswered during the day. Variations: Instead of having the learners respond to the unanswered questions during the day, the trainer could ask them to take the questions home and reflect upon them and provide their answers as part of an opening activity in the following session.Alternatively, instead of asking the learners to write questions, the trainer could write the key topics on cards and have students select the cards from the bucket at random during the day. Rename the activity ICE bucket and invite the learners to explain what they would Introduce, Change or Extend (ICE) in their work or life, based on the topic selected from the bucket. Deck It! Objective: To check comprehension and revisit jargon and definitions critical to the training content in a fun and quick way. Time: 5-10 minutes. Materials: One deck of playing cards [whichever game the trainer deems appropriate to the content] per person with terminology from the course/training written on the back of each card in the deck with a black permanent ink pen. Description: This closer asks the participant to play a simple card game like Go Fish, Poker or Hearts and as part of their winning hand, define course terms or answer some content-related questions. Process: 1. Play the chosen card game according to the normal rules. 2. Stop when someone thinks they have a winning hand. The participant can only win by defining the terminology on the back of each card in their hand. If the learner cannot do that, the game continues. 3. Play as many games as you would like in the time allocated! Debrief: When the game is over, those cards that couldn’t be accurately defined need to be discussed until the definitions are clear and agreed on by all parties. Variations: • Change the card game. • Add “wildcards” with bonus questions for bonus points. • Have the learners answer the questions as they are handed the card and if they are unable to, the card goes back into the deck and they have to select a new card. Want more training games, news and updates? Sign up to MRWED’s yours in training newsletter today if you’re looking for more training resource, games, news, tips, advice and more.