When participants feel engaged in a training course, they are more motivated to transfer their learning to the workplace. One way to energize learners is to get them involved in activities. Lucas suggests using an icebreaker with a “Clever Catch Ball,” giving a pop-up survey to the class, giving attendees noisemakers to use at different times, incorporating exercises that use the right and left sides of the brain, randomly pairing learners, including dancing, and playing verbal volleyball.
One of the keys to good training activities is keeping them short and focused on the session topic. Instructors can employ 12 methods to use energizers more effectively: (1) connect energizers to the learning objectives, (2) address the three different learning modalities, (3) keep learners engaged, (4) teach content through energizers, (5) keep energizers brief, (6) make activities fun and relaxing, (7) use music, (8) provide adequate space for energizers, (9) allow sufficient time, (10) have a variety of energizers to draw from, (11) encourage risk taking, and (12) use teams.
Props are a proven way to add interest to a training session. Examples include animal hand-puppets to lighten the mood, play-money, prize-wheel spinners, game-show games, clay for kinesthetic learners, party hats, noisemakers, animated co-facilitators like battery powered animals, glittery doorway curtains, balloons, rubber chickens, smiley-face toys and props, and humorous animal masks.