SERIOUSLY FUN ACTIVITIES FOR TRAINERS, FACILITATORS, PERFORMANCE CONSULTANTS, AND MANAGERS.
Our mission statement, copyright notice, and cast of characters.
Five games to play after the game.
Four Events for Game Designers
Indianapolis, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Houston, and somewhere in India.
Learning Activities Revisited - 6
Table activities and assessment-based learning activities.
Are You DISCfunctional™?
The only DISC board game on the market.
Great Groups by Brian Remer
Reading between the lines.
Check It Out
The Firefly Group
More of Brian Remer.
Single Item Survey
Unusual and Useful
What should be included in the facilitator guide?
SERIOUSLY FUN ACTIVITIES FOR TRAINERS, FACILITATORS, PERFORMANCE CONSULTANTS, AND MANAGERS.
To increase and improve the use of interactive, experiential strategies to improve human performance in an effective, efficient, and enjoyable way.
Editor: Sivasailam (Thiagi) Thiagarajan
Assistant Editor: Raja Thiagarajan
Associate Editor: Jean Reese
Contributing Editors: Brian Remer and Les Lauber
Editorial Advisory Board: Bill Wake, Matthew Richter, Samuel van den Bergh, and <type your name here>
The materials in this newsletter are copyright 2008 by The Thiagi Group. However, they may be freely reproduced for educational/training activities. There is no need to obtain special permission for such use as long as you do not reproduce more than 100 copies per year. Please include the following statement on all reproductions:
Reprinted from THIAGI GAMELETTER. Copyright © 2008 by The Thiagi Group, Inc.
For any other use of the content, please contact us ( email@example.com ) for permission.
All registered subscribers receive Thiagi GameLetter free of charge.
However, to prevent us from becoming bankrupt, we have decided to adopt a Busker Protocol. If you like what you read, if you find it useful, and if you'd like us to continue publishing the newsletter, please feel free to chip in with any financial contribution. Our estimated annual cost for this newsletter is $30,000. So we suggest an annual contribution of $30 (which is less than one-third the subscription cost of Thiagi's earlier paper-based newsletter). We would appreciate any amount that you send us, but make sure it is less than $30,000 (since we don't want to make a profit). You can mail your check to Thiagi, 4423 East Trailridge Road, Bloomington, IN 47408 or call us at (812) 332-1478 to charge the amount to a credit card. Or you can charge your credit card online , through The Thiagi Group, Inc. Please let us know if you need an invoice for financial record keeping.
Thiagi believes in practicing what he preaches. This is an interactive newsletter, so interact already! Send us your feedback, sarcastic remarks, and gratuitous advice through email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Thanks!
Debriefing is an instructional process which is used after a game, simulation, roleplay, or some other experiential activity for helping participants reflect on their earlier experiences to drive meaningful insights. Debriefing can be used with any experientially rich, emotionally intense, cognitively complex learning activity. To determine if a debriefing session will add value to an activity we ask these questions:
An answer of “yes” to either (or both) of these questions suggests that debriefing would be useful. Debriefing need not be limited to pre-designed instructional activities. We have found that the following types of non-instructional activities benefit from debriefing:
During the past decade, I have been designing, using, and modifying several debriefing games with practical results. All debriefing games are framegames which are deliberately designed to permit easy removal of the old content and loading of new content. This feature of the debriefing game enables us to apply it to different types of experiential activities.
Our procedural model for debriefing is summarized by seven phases of questions to be used in a flexible chronological sequence. These seven phases are briefly described below:
Our belief in the importance of debriefing and in the utility of the structured variety led us to the construction of various debriefing protocols. This approach frequently resulted in undesirable rigidity on the part of the facilitator and unmitigated boredom on the part of the participants. Continuous improvement of the procedure eventually resulted in the development of several debriefing questions which returned a part of the control and ownership to the participants and resulted in more excitement and enthusiasm.
Before describing several debriefing games, it is a good idea to introduce an experiential activity to provide a common base. While a complex and lengthy simulation provides a rich base for debriefing, we shall use a briefer example here: an activity called Dollar Auction. This activity takes 3 minutes to conduct and lends itself to 30 minutes or more of debriefing. I was introduced to Dollar Auction by Fred Goodman and I believe it was created by Martin Shubik.
Here are the steps in the current version of Dollar Auction:
If you stop now, you lose 80 cents, but if you bid a dollar you lose nothing. You pay your dollar and get back my dollar.
Five different debriefing games are described below. Dollar Auction is used as a common example to illustrate some of the activities in different debriefing games.
This debriefing game provides a safe environment for participants to talk about their feelings and emotions. Here are the steps for conducting Mood Check:
This is an alternative debriefing game for use in the how-do-you-feel phase.
This debriefing game enables participants to express, explain, and exchange a wide range of feelings and insights to each other.
This debriefing game is most suited for the what-if phase of debriefing.
You can use the Envelope Game during other phases of debriefing. For example, by writing various generalizations from the game (“The Dollar Auction always ends up as a battle between two bidders”) you have teams report supporting data. You may write down concepts illustrated by the game (for example, escalation) and have teams respond with real-world analogues.
This debriefing game is best suited for generating and organizing hypotheses from the base activity.
Jolts are interactive experiential activities that lull participants into behaving in a comfortable way and then suddenly delivering a powerful wake-up call. Jolts force participants to re-examine their assumptions and revise their habitual practices. A typical jolt lasts only a few minutes but provides enough insights for a lengthy debriefing. Not all jolts entrap the participants; some of them suggest thought experiments and activities to provide enlightening insights.
I am currently working on a book of jolts in collaboration with Tracy Tagliati. This book will contain a collection of jolts interspersed with short articles exploring different principles related to their design and delivery. Here's one of those articles:
When I was doing my graduate studies on operant conditioning, I was fascinated with the concept of single-trial learning (as in the case of children learning that fire burns). As my grandson Jason recently taught me, single-trial learning works only in theory. Even adults who get blinding flashes of insight from an intense experience have difficulties in applying those insights to the real world.
This is why you use serial jolts. In this approach, you focus on a single principle and approach it through several different jolts. One of my favorite set of serial jolts deals with the way people make unnecessary assumptions. Each jolt requires participants to rearrange a set of six tiles, each with three letters, to form words. I present seven jolts, one after another, each lasting for 2 minutes. Each jolt entraps participants into making different (and unnecessary assumptions). Just when participants think they are too smart to make any more silly assumptions, they get trapped into making another assumption (such as the words have to be in English or each word must be six letters long).
You can check out the original version of this serial jolt in our March 2002 issue.
Don't miss the NASAGA 2008 conference in Indianapolis (October 15-18). Visit the conference website for more information.
On October 15, 2008 you will have a choice of three preconference workshops:
Each day of the regular conference (October 16-18) will begin with an important, inspiring, and intriguing keynote presentation from a thought leader in our field:
Here are some of the facilitators who will be conducting sessions at the conference:
Cynthia Beale, Dan Block, Ken Bellemare, Judee Blohm, Debi Bridle, Leeva Chung, Jim Clark, Michelle Cummings, Matt DeMarco, Tim Gustafson, Greg Koeser, Kate Koski, Les Lauber, Christine Martell, Chuck Needlman, Debbie Newmann, Chuck Petranek, Dave Piltz, Brian Remer, Matt Richter, Lou Russell, Chris Saeger, Becky Saeger, Nick Smith, John Steiner, Tracy Tagliati, Raja Thiagarajan, Sivasailam Thiagarajan, Stella Ting-Toomey, Samuel van den Bergh, William Wake, and Marian Williams
If they seem familiar, that's probably because they are all well-known training game designers and many of them have appeared as Guest Gamers in TGL.
We have been working with our South African representative Nigel Bailey of Gateways Business Consultants to bring the Thiagi Training Games workshop to South Africa for the first time.
Based on the recent highly successful 3-day workshop in Switzerland, the workshop will deal with the design and facilitation of training games, learning activities, and simulations.
Here are the basic details:
For more information, please contact Nigel (email: email@example.com ; mobile phone: +27 82 7843981 ; fax: +27 866707324 ; postal address: PO Box 87674, Houghton, 2041)
The International Alliance for Learning (IAL) is the premier organization dedicated to promoting accelerated learning with its development of teaching processes and methodologies that make learning a joyful, meaningful, and effective process for all learners.
IAL invites you the 34th International conference 2009: Liftoff for Learning
What if you
Join us in Houston to Liftoff for Learning with Accelerated Learning professionals from around the world. Benefit from the many concurrent sessions offering practical tools, proven materials and processes, time for deep conversations about things that matter, inspiration, and support.
At the conference, Thiagi (and Tracy) are scheduled to do a preconference workshop on Jolts. Thiagi will also conduct a session on accelerating the training design process.
Liftoff for Learning - January 15-18, 2009 - Houston, Texas - Omni Houston Hotel Westside
For more information about the conference (and about accelerated learning), please visit the IAL website: http://www.ialearn.org/index.php
Sometime in 2009, Thiagi and associates are planning to run a training games workshop, similar to the one conducted annually in Switzerland and planned for November 2008 in South Africa.
We are in very preliminary stages of planning this workshop. If you are interested in attending the workshop or helping to organize it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
Content and activity are the yin and yang of training. You need both to produce effective and engaging learning. Content without activity produces sterile knowledge. Activity without content results in wasted effort.
It is not enough if you have both content and activity. These two have to be carefully balanced, aligned, and integrated.
We have access to different sources of training content:
Over the past several years, we have been exploring different types of learning activities that can be used with different sources of existing content.
I discussed two or three learning activities in greater detail during each of the past six months. This month, I explore learning activities associated with information tables and test instruments.
(Content Source: Information tables)
Table activities help participants to learn from reviewing tables of information and recalling useful facts, discovering interesting relationships among variables, identifying key trends, and predicting outcomes. Some table activities require participants to organize information from other sources into structured tables.
The training objective for this table activity is to discover relationships among five corporate values.
(Content Source: Test instruments)
This activity involves participants taking a test (or some other instrument) and receiving feedback. Whenever appropriate, ABLAs encourage interaction and discussion among participants about future action.
The training objective for this activity is to replace common myths about customer focus with objective facts.
In the next issue of TGL, we will explore two other types of learning activities that incorporate sample materials and cases.
DISC The Game™ is a fun and easy-to-play board game created by the founders of Stecin Leadership Solutions LLC and designed for HR, Training, Coaching, and Counseling professionals to use in their classes and sessions. Its design makes it uniquely suitable for youth groups and families as well. It teaches and reinforces the principles of DISC and was designed to be used with most quadrant behavioral systems. (DISC is a popular quadrant behavioral system used to help people understand their own as well as others' behavioral tendencies, and is useful in all interpersonal communications. Therefore, it is often used for team-building, customer service, management, and family counseling.) This game was developed for use with individuals, teams, groups, or families to initiate DISCussions that bring behavioral tendencies to light in a comfortable and fun environment.
Well over 50 million people around the world have taken DISC (not counting all the other quadrant systems available). Steve Settimo and Cynthia Beale were surprised and extremely disappointed with the current training activities on the market for use with DISC. The games they found were merely card-sort activities that weren't much fun. So they co-created their own game. In their workshops, returning participants are requesting to play the game again, which is a testimony to their success in producing a fun learning game.
I have reviewed and tested the game. One of the best features of the game cards is the wonderful variety of authentic questions and the use of behaviors associated with the other categories as distracters for the correct answer.
Through a combination of luck and skill, individuals (or teams) compete with each other to become DISCfunctional™ by advancing game pieces around a quadrant-shaped board. The roll of the dice and participants' knowledge of DISC determine the speed with which a player (or team) gets to the center square to win. People learn how to better interact with others as they answer unique real-world questions about their own and others' tendencies. 2-4 individuals (or up to 12 players in teams) play for approximately 45-60 minutes, depending on the amount of DISCussion that arises and the luck of the dice. The game is recommended for players from age 12 to adult.
Stecin Leadership Solutions LLC is a training and consulting firm that specializes in providing Leadership Training, DISC Training, and Sales Training in addition to training and sustainability tools. For further information, contact Cynthia Beale, Director of Training, at 1-888-STECIN-1 (1-888-783-2461) or visit http://www.StecinLeadership.com/ .
Cynthia and Steve will be demonstrating their game at the NASAGA 2008 conference in Indianapolis. DISC The Game™ will be a featured part of the Game Night program.
Brian Remer will be facilitating a NASAGA 2008 conference session, Briefly Stated: 99 Words That Teach at the NASAGA 2008. In addition to being a master of the 99-words format, Brian invents games and interactive strategies to expand learning and deepen insights.
Andy is a wonderful musician, teacher, and storyteller. He teaches in schools, calls at square dances, leads choral groups, and plays a mean accordion. What Andy doesn't realize is that he's an expert at fostering teamwork. He has the ability to lead without being in charge—even though he's the “director.”
One comment while leading a choir of novice singers summarizes his philosophy. He said, “Here's how you harmonize. Listen to the person next to you and sing something a little different.” One objective but each contributes uniquely.
Whether musicians, teams, families, or communities, great ones harmonize.
If you are a regular reader of TGL, you have enjoyed Brian Remer's monthly 99-words contribution. (Our plan is to publish 99 of them.)
Brian has many other talents also. He's a superb game designer. One of his specialty areas is exploring the instructional use of metaphors.
To learn more about Brian, read our Guest Gamer interview in the August 2004 issue.
To learn more about Brian's practical ideas for trainers and game designers, visit the website of his organization, the Firefly Group http://www.thefirefly.org/ . Be sure to click on the Ideas button. While at his website, sign up for his monthly newsletter, Firefly News Flash.
I use a standard template for writing up directions for conducting training games and learning activities. The template contains these types of topics:
This list of topics was originally generated by reviewing several books on games, especially on training games. It has evolved over a period of several years to its current form.
However, I am not happy with the list of topics. I realize that I am looking at the game from inside out: from the point of view of a game designer or author. Maybe game facilitators and participants may prefer other topics.
Here's a question for you: What unusual and useful topics should be included in the directions for a training game that will benefit you as a facilitator or as a participant?
Here are some sample responses:
To contribute your response, visit this survey page (opens in a new window). You may include your name along with your suggestion or keep it anonymous. You may send more than one response.