We’ve all been there. You’re in a workshop and you’re desperately trying to stay awake. As the instructor drones on and on and on, despite your best efforts, you feel like you’re about to fall into a deep coma.
Not anymore you rockstar you
The next time you need to design and deliver a workshop here are a ton of really simple activities that you can use to amp up engagement and learning (not to mention retention of your very important content).
First though, the case for engagement
Seven reasons why you REALLY need to add interactive activities to your workshops
- They get people’s attention
- They reinforce what we’re teaching by getting people to practice and actually use your content
- When they’re done well, they are inclusive, making all learners feel like they belong
- They help people stay engaged
- They stop us from committing the deadly sin of lecturing, which besides being ultra boring doesn’t do a thing for retention
- They help people remember your precious content
- It’s rare that people do this well so when you do you’ll look like the rockstar that you are
When I do training with teams on how to design and deliver really engaging workshops, whether they be online, in-person, or hybrid, one of the questions I get asked most often is “Okay Lee-Anne, you’ve convinced me, I need to add more interaction to my workshop. But how exactly do I do that?”
Adding interactive activities to your workshop isn’t as hard as it sounds
I have hundreds and hundreds of what I call F.G.L.A.’s (facilitated group learning activities) and while many of them are customized to my specific learning content, lots of them aren’t and can easily be adapted to your workshop content.
Here are twelve engaging activities you can easily use in your next workshop
Next week I’ll share twelve more and twelve more the week after that with a final, fun bonus one.
- those marked with a * can be used online.
- the ones with a # can be used online and IRL (including if you’re in a physical room with the participants and demonstrating from your laptop).
- # Customized song list: make a playlist that reflects your content. I have several including one I use for people to reflect on change management.
- # Workflowy: use simple, easy tech tools like Workflowy to get input, brainstorm ideas, etc. See this example where people added ideas for future Learning and Development Roundtable topics they’d like to see.
- # Storytelling prompt: stories are such an incredibly powerful way to teach. Use an outline like this example of mine.
- # Collaborative storytelling: have fun with this collaborative storytelling tool I made. You can adapt it to focus on your particular topic if you wish.
- # Customized memes: make yours here
- # Video clips: use super short clips to make a point. I always include one in each blog post (see below under ‘laugh’ for this week’s).
- # Video hop: take your video clips to the next level and create a series of short videos based on your content and then give the next video in the series only at the end of the preceding video. Participants will have fun ‘hopping’ from one to another.
- # Crossword: crossword puzzles are surprisingly popular and easy to make. See an example here. Make one yourself based on your content.
- # Word search: same thing with word search puzzles. I use a site called armoured penguin (I know, weirdest website name ever) for both.
- * Annotation: both MSTeams and Zoom have an annotation feature. Use it! You can draw attention to the part of your slide you’re talking about. You can also get participants to annotate the screen. Here’s an example slide where I annotate the screen based on change examples participants give me. The goal is to raise their curiosity, as I place a mark accordingly under I or S. Then we talk about Individual change and Structural change.
11. # Whiteboard: both MSTeams and Zoom now have whiteboard features. You can use it for you to annotate and/or have participants join in as well. And of course, you can use a whiteboard IRL.
12. # Fill in the blank: use any easy online tool (even the whiteboard feature above) to challenge participants to fill in the blank of a particular term you’re teaching. Or use a flipchart or whiteboard IRL.
There you have it, twelve really easy ways to add interaction and more engagement to your workshops whether they be online, IRL, or even hybrid. Which one(s) are you most interested in? Pick one or two new ones for you and get going. Your future workshop participants will thank you.
Stay tuned for next week where I’ll share twelve more.
Now go on and learn, learn some more, and lead
- Figure out which two or three activities you’d like to try and get ready for some fun.
- No more desperately trying to appear like things are fine, like this little girl, yet gagging at dull and dry lectures
- Press the gas and actually try the activities you’ve selected.