Our mission statement, copyright notice, and cast of characters.

Card Games
Situation Cards
Mini simulations.

Simulation Game
Telephone Triangles
Audio without visuals.

Decisions, Decisions… by Tracy Tagliati
It all depends on how you frame it.

Tweeted Tips
Using Twitter in Training
Your tweeted contributions.

Tweet Your Tips
Intercultural Communication
Send us your tips

Cryptic Clusters
Managing meetings.

Online Game
Arrange in Order
Another use for the Sequencing game.

From Brian's Brain
Complexity and Constellations by Brian Remer
A link to the latest issue of Brian's newsletter.

US Workshops
Thiagi's Public Workshop in Indianapolis
Back home in Indiana.

Single Topic Survey
Positive Facilitation by Tracy Tagliati
What topics excite you?

Survey Results
How Was 2011 For You? by Tracy Tagliati
A summary of your responses.

Check It Out
Vignettes for Training Blog ( )
Story-based learning.

Five Books on Your Mind
You are irrational and illogical.





To increase and improve the use of interactive, experiential strategies to improve human performance in an effective, efficient, and enjoyable way.

Editorial Roster

Author and Editor : Sivasailam (Thiagi) Thiagarajan

Assistant Editor : Raja Thiagarajan

Associate Editors: Tracy Tagliati and Jean Reese

Contributing Editors: Brian Remer

Editorial Advisory Board: Bill Wake, Matthew Richter, Samuel van den Bergh, and <type your name here>

Copyright Info

The materials in this newsletter are copyright 2012 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 © 2012 by The Thiagi Group, Inc.

For any other use of the content, please contact us ( ) for permission.

Subscription Info

To sign up, or to donate and help us continue this newsletter, please see the Online Newsletter page on our website ( ).

Feedback Request

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 . Thanks!

Card Games

Situation Cards

Here's a card game that enables participants to reflect on a variety of situations and to come up with suitable action ideas. It is a framegame that can be used as a template to explore different topics such as these:


To come up with suitable action ideas to deal with different situations.


Minimum: 3
Maximum: Any number, divided into playgroups of 3 to 7
Best: 15 to 30 in groups of 5 or 6


15 to 45 minutes


How To Play Situation Cards, one copy for each player.


Situation cards. A deck of 20-40 cards for each playgroup. Each card briefly describes a situation that is relevant to the training topic. (See the Preparation section below for guidelines on creating situation cards.)

Game timer. A countdown timer to keep track of the total game time.

Index cards. Packets of cards for the players to write down their response.

Timers. One for each playgroup. You may use electronic timers, sand timers, or digital watches for keeping track of the 2-minute response time for each situation card.


Think about the training topic. Use these four criteria to generate appropriate situation cards:

Keep them brief. You are not writing a lengthy case for a business textbook. Come up with a short scenario that describes a relevant situation. Pretend that you are writing a 140-character twitter message.

Keep them authentic. Describe situations that professionals confront in their real-world jobs.

Keep them generic. Don't write the situations to suit a specific procedure or model. Describe ill-defined situations from the real world rather than contrived situations that could be solved by the direct application of a specific technique.

Keep them mixed. Don't limit yourself to negative challenges. Include some positive events. You want to be sure that the players can handle success as well as failure.


Organize participants into playgroups. Allocate three to five participants to each group.

Distribute the supplies to each group. Make sure that all groups have a deck of situation cards and index cards (or pieces of paper).

Brief the participants. Give a copy of the handout, How To Play Situation Cards. Ask the participants to read the instructions. Answer questions to clarify the rules of the game.

Begin the first round. Ask each playgroup to identify the Prime Player and ask this person to pick up the top card and read the situation. Set the game timer for 15 minutes and start it.

Play the first round. Ask the Prime Player to keep time for 2 minutes. At the end of this time, ask the Prime Player to collect the response cards, shuffle these cards, read the responses, and select the best response.

Continue the game. Ask the playgroups to select the next Prime Player and continue the game as before.

Conclude the game. When the game timer counts down to zero, announce conclusion of the game. Identify the player with the most points in each playgroup and congratulate these winners.

Debrief the participants. Ask the participants to discuss among their playgroups what they learned about the training topic. After a suitable time, ask each participant to pair up with another participant from a different playgroup and share their insights.

Sample Situation Cards

You Are A New Manager

  1. A newly appointed employee has requested you to be her mentor.
  2. Clashes between IT managers from India and the local IT staff are increasing.
  3. Employees are complaining about time wasted in weekly staff meetings.
  4. One of your colleagues complains to you about your negative communication style.
  5. One of your colleagues has left the job, complaining of burnout. You have been given some of his responsibilities.
  6. The Executive Manager to whom you have been reporting has resigned her job and left the company.
  7. The president of the corporation calls you to congratulate you on your outstanding work.
  8. The President of the corporation wants everyone to attend a training workshop on corporate ethics.
  9. The president of the corporation wants you to revise the mission statement.
  10. The president wants you to work with an executive coach to improve your leadership potential.
  11. There is a significant decline in the market share of three products that your department is responsible for.
  12. You are asked to make a presentation about your organization at the annual convention of the local chamber of conference.
  13. You are asked to manage a design team currently located in Luxembourg.
  14. You feel that the company is wasting its resources on a couple of useless projects.
  15. You finished a project ahead of the deadline and under the budget.
  16. You have been appointed to be the leader of a team that will be negotiating with a Japanese business group.
  17. You have been asked to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on a project completed by your predecessor.
  18. You have been asked to reduce your staff by two people.
  19. You have been missing several deadlines.
  20. You have to come up with the annual goals for your department.
  21. You hear rumors that one of your colleagues has been discussing with the HR Department about lodging a sexual harassment complaint against you.
  22. You receive the Employee of the Month award.
  23. You won a large defense contract. The local TV station is investigating possible corruption charges related to the award of this contract.
  24. Your corporation has decided to become more “green”. You have been asked to come up with ideas.
  25. Your department has received the highest rating in an internal survey.
  26. Your email in-basket is overflowing. You don't have time to read and respond to all the email notes.
  27. Your manager wants an estimate of time required to complete a new project. You do not have the necessary information.
  28. Your manager wants you to reduce the length of your weekly reports.


How To Play Situation Cards

Get ready for the game. Place the deck of situation cards in the middle of the table. Make sure that everyone in the playgroup has index cards and pens.

Select the Prime Player. Use any method you prefer to select one of the players to be the Prime Player. (Remember, everyone gets a turn to play this role.) If you are the Prime Player, here are your responsibilities:

Start the round. Pick up the top situation card, read aloud the situation, and place the card in the middle of the table with the printed side up.

Keep track of the time. Set your timer or check your watch. Ask the players to write a suitable action idea to effectively deal with the situation. Keep track of the time.

Collect the response cards. When ready, ask the players to give you their response cards, with the written side down.

Shuffle the cards. Mix up the cards that you have collected.

Read the responses. Read the idea on each card. After you have finished reading all the cards, announce which idea you consider to be the best one. Read the idea from this card again.

Score this round. Give the best card to the player who wrote it. Ask the player to keep the card in front of him or her to indicate a point. Discard all other response cards.

Appoint a new Prime Player. Identify the person seated to your left as the new Prime Player. During the subsequent rounds, participate in the game as any other player.

Conclude the game. When the facilitator calls time, stop playing. Count the number of face-up cards in front of you and announce your score. Identify the person with the highest score as the winner at your table.

Simulation Game

Telephone Triangles

A powerful use of instructional puzzles is to embed them in simulation games. We have embedded a dissection puzzle called Triangles in an effective simulation game that explores customer service variables.

Here is another application of the Triangles puzzle, this time for exploring communication challenges in a virtual workplace.


To explore the communication challenges associated with virtual teams.


Minimum: 6
Maximum: 36
Best: 24-30


30 minutes to 1 hour


Cell phones



Reproducible masters (41K PDF) for all the graphics listed below.

Demonstration Package

Manufacturing Kit

Design Kit


Using the reproducible masters, print out various mega triangles, silhouettes, and blueprints. Become familiar with cutting the mega triangles into smaller triangles and assembling different silhouettes with and without the blueprints.


Organize six groups. Divide the participants into six groups of equal size. (It does not matter if some groups have one more member than the others.) Ask members of each group to sit around a table. Give each group a pair of scissors and a roll of scotch tape.

Demonstrate the assembly process. Use the following procedure:

  1. Give a mega triangle to each group. Ask the group members to cut the mega triangle into nine smaller triangles, cutting carefully along the lines.
  2. Give each group a copy of the Cat silhouette. Ask the group members to arrange the nine triangles to produce this silhouette. Encourage a collaborative trial and error approach.
  3. After about 2 minutes, explain that you have blueprints to help the groups to speed up the assembly. Distribute copies of the blueprint to each group. Ask them to assemble the triangles into the cat shape by using this blueprint. Congratulate the groups when they complete the task.

Allocate design and manufacturing roles to different groups. Assign these six different roles:

  1. Design Group A
  2. Manufacturing Group A
  3. Design Group B
  4. Manufacturing Group B
  5. Design Group C
  6. Manufacturing Group C

Send the groups to different breakout rooms or to corners of the room, making sure that the design group is located as far away from its manufacturing group as possible.

Check for cell phone coverage. Explain that during the activity all communications will be restricted to cell-phone conversations. Make sure that each group has someone with a cell phone who is willing to permit its use during the activity. If necessary, re-organize the groups so that every group has at least one cell phone. On a flip-chart write the names of the groups and their cell-phone contact numbers.

Distribute materials and equipment. Ask each of the six groups to hold on to their scissors and tape rolls. Distribute two mega triangles to each group and the following silhouettes to the manufacturing groups:

  1. Manufacturing Group A: Lighthouse
  2. Manufacturing Group B: Hen
  3. Manufacturing Group C: Farmer

Don't announce which group is working on which silhouette.

Distribute two blueprints for each of the design groups using this scheme:

  1. Design Group A: Lighthouse and Cat
  2. Design Group B: Hen and Farmer
  3. Design Group C: Candle and Camel

Notice that Design Group A has the blueprint for the silhouette to be constructed by its manufacturing group. Design Group B has the blueprint for its manufacturing group (Hen) and also the blueprint for Manufacturing Group C (Farmer). Design Group C has two blueprints. However, neither of these blueprints is useful to any manufacturing group.

This arrangement is intentional. It reflects a breakdown in communications in a geographically distributed corporation that performs most of its tasks virtually. Do not call attention to the disorder. Let the participants figure it out by themselves.

Explain the goal and the restrictions. Although different groups are seated in different locations, they all have a common goal: The manufacturing groups have to assemble all three silhouettes within 10 minutes. If they fail to do this, the entire corporation (comprising of all six groups) loses. The manufacturing groups may attempt to construct their silhouette through trial and error. However, they may also receive guidance from the design groups.

Explain communication restrictions. Members of each group at each location may talk directly to each other. However, all communication across the groups should be carried out through voice-only cell phone calls. All groups may talk to you—but only through cell phone calls.

Conduct the activity. Set a countdown timer for 10 minutes and start it. Announce the beginning of the activity. Monitor the work of different groups and make sure nobody wanders around and talks to other groups.

Handle confusion in Group C. When Manufacturing Group C discovers that the design group does not have the blueprint for the Farmer, they may complain to you. Insist that they should talk to you only through the cell phone. Suggest that it is possible some other design group has the blue print for the Farmer. Also suggest that they recommend their design group to contact the other design groups to locate the blueprint. Alternatively, suggest that they try to figure out the construction of the silhouette through a trial-and-error process.

Coach as needed. You may want to inform Design Group C that the blueprint for the Farmer is with Design Group B. However, they can only talk to Design Group B only through the cell phones.

Conclude the activity. Announce the remaining time at the end of 5 minutes, 8 minutes, and 9 minutes. If all three manufacturing groups have succeeded constructing the three silhouettes, conclude the activity and congratulate the participants. Otherwise, blow a whistle at the end of 10 minutes and announce the end of the activity.

Debrief. Explain that this simulation is designed to explore the challenges associated with virtual communication among geographically dispersed organizations. Conduct a debriefing discussion using the following types of questions:

  1. How did you feel during the activity—and at the end of the activity?
  2. What are some of the highlights of the activity?
  3. What did you learn about virtual teamwork during this activity?
  4. How do the events in the activity reflect what happens in your organization?
  5. If you had access to the Internet and email, how would the situation been different?
  6. Based on what you learned from this activity, what recommendations do you have for people working in a virtual setting?


Decisions, Decisions…
by Tracy Tagliati

When it comes to decision-making, why are some of us more prone to take risks while others are risk-averse? One explanation might be the way the decision and options were presented. This jolt, based on Kahneman and Tvestky's classic study, illustrates how the framing effect influences our judgment and our ability to make decisions.


The participants are divided into two groups. Both groups are presented with the same problem and two alternative programs for solving them. The two programs both have the same consequences, but are presented differently. The debriefing discussion examines how the framing of the program impacted the participant's decision.


To demonstrate how the framing effect can blur judgment.

Training Topics




Minimum: 2
Maximum: Any number
Best: 20 to 30


3 minutes for the activity. 3 to 5 minutes for debriefing.


Pencil or pen.


Which Program Would You Pick? (two different versions)


Make copies of both versions of the handout. Make approximately one half of the positively framed program and one half of the negatively framed program. Print the first program in blue and the second program in purple (or any two different colors of your choice). This will allow you to differentiate and compare the two programs during the debriefing. Arrange them in a single stack with the two versions alternating.


Distribute the handout. Give one copy of the handout from the combined stack to each participant. Everyone will assume they have the same handout.

Give instructions. Tell the participants that this is an independent activity. Ask them to read through the problem and pick the best program. Wait 2 minutes for the participants to complete this task.

Compare the participant's programs. Ask the participants how many chose the first (blue) program. Ask how many chose the second (purple) program.


Debrief the activity by revealing that you distributed two different versions of the handouts. Point out that the consequences of the programs in blue are the same, and the consequences of the purple in purple are the same. The two groups probably chose opposite programs, because they were framed in different ways.

Explain that studies show that the participants will pick the first program in the positively framed example that emphasizes lives gained, and the second program in the negatively framed example that emphasizes lives lost.

Conduct the remainder of the debriefing discussion by asking these types of questions:

Learning Points

When presented with parallel options, a decision may be more influenced by the language used (“the framing effect”) than the actual content.


Which Program Would You Pick?

You work for the Centers for Disease Control and there is an outbreak of deadly disease called “the Asian Flu” in a town of six hundred people. All six hundred people in the town are expected to die if you do nothing. Someone has come up with two different programs designed to fight the disease:

Would you pick the blue program or the purple program?


Which Program Would You Pick?

You work for the Centers for Disease Control and there is an outbreak of deadly disease called “the Asian Flu” in a town of six hundred people. All six hundred people in the town are expected to die if you do nothing. Someone has come up with two different programs designed to fight the disease:

Would you pick the blue program or the purple program?

Tweeted Tips

Using Twitter in Training

Last month, we invited our readers to tweet their tips for using twitter in training. Here's our current collection of twitter tips.

We thank everyone who contributed the tips. Our original plan was to collect 101 tips on this topic. Alas, we are only halfway toward this goal. Please add your tips to the collection. Include the #thiagi101 hashtag with each tip. Thanks.

Current Collection

  1. After the course, ask participants to tweet ideas to improve the course design for next time.
  2. Amazed by Jane Bozarth's brilliant use of twitpic to expand her tweet. Powerful follow-up tool for training sessions.
  3. As an icebreaker, ask participants to see twitter profiles/accounts of each other & discuss/debrief similarities & differences.
  4. Ask participants to find the best tweets that were tweeted recently about a certain learning point that you want to emphasize.
  5. Ask participants to help each other in an assignment by tweeting hints and tips on a certain hash tag.
  6. Ask participants to post links about a certain subject on the course hashtag.
  7. Ask participants to send their experiences in applying what they learned, 1 month after the course ends.
  8. Ask participants to tweet pithy sayings on the training topic.
  9. Ask participants to tweet positive/encouraging feedback to each other after the training day or during breaks.
  10. Ask participants to tweet some motivational quotes related to the course subject. This works better with soft skills.
  11. Ask participants to tweet the best thing that they liked in the course (at the end of the course or after each day).
  12. Ask participants to tweet their feelings about your course after you finish it.
  13. At the end of a workshop, I ask participants to tweet me their overall reaction using a single word.
  14. At the end of the course ask participants to send their feedback to your account or to a special hashtag.
  15. Challenge participants to produce a resume for themselves within twitter's 140 character limit, share with class as ice breaker!
  16. Conduct an informal needs analysis by asking people to tweet miscellaneous bits of information they already know about a topic.
  17. Create a separate twitter account for each course you teach. Use this account before, during, and after training.
  18. Create a unique hashtag for your training course. Then encourage students to trend on topics. Social and virtual learning network!
  19. I use it to generate interest. Post work & pre work assignments
  20. Invite participants to create an annotated bibliography on the training topic. Use tweets for references and annotations.
  21. Manage your hashtags!
  22. Minor problem with twitter training videos. Many of them are out of date. #Thiagi: Don't reinvent the wheel. To train participants on twitter basics, use excellent existing resources on the Internet.
  23. Observing twitterers with many followers vs those with few. Note characteristics for leadership, communication tips
  24. Present the first sentence of a story. Ask participants to suggest second sentence. Select one and grow the story, one sentence at a time.
  25. Read Jane Bozarth's book Social Media for Trainers for an amazing collection of tips for twitter use in training.
  26. Remind participants on weekly/monthly basis to apply key learning points that they took from the course.
  27. Roleplaying! I've seen complex scenarios between 2+ players, others comment.
  28. Sending/posting references or links for participants to check out between sessions.
  29. The hashtag is the greatest invention since sliced bread. Use it to search and collect.
  30. Tweet a challenge for participants after the 1st training day.
  31. Tweet a challenge for participants and ask them to do it before you meet next time!
  32. Tweet a good news to motivate participants. eg: We'll have an outdoor exercise tomorrow.
  33. Tweet a surprise for participants!
  34. Tweet instructions or steps to participants so they can apply a certain process after the course.
  35. Tweet links to inspirational or educational videos that will help your participant.
  36. Tweet results/answers of quizzes or contests among participants before the next training day.
  37. Tweet some photos that you took during your course activities, so participants will see themselves in action!
  38. Twitter is a great tool when your participants are distributed around the world. I keep in touch with Paris, Stockholm, Malacca
  39. Use twitter for debriefing after a training session. Ask them to tweet how they are planning to use what they learn.
  40. Use Twitter for follow-up activities to improve the “remembering curve”
  41. Use Twitter for reflection questions
  42. Use Twitter to continue conversations after/between classes
  43. Use twitter to create a “community of graduates” after a training session. Combine socialization and continuous learning.
  44. Use Twitter to help learners build their own PLNs related to their industry, learned skills, etc.
  45. We could give a question at the end of the session and ask participants to put the answer on a certain hashtag.
  46. We could use Twitter in training by asking participants to send a summary of their learned points to a certain hashtag.
  47. What is Leadership? Ask participants to define or share favorite leadership definition. Use hashtag #defineleadership to track. Then debate!
  48. You could brainstorm ideas about a certain subject related to the course using a hashtag for that course.

Tweet Your Tips

Intercultural Communication

I'd like to invite you to join this month's Tweet Your Tips activity.

This month's topic is intercultural communication. Tweet one or more tips on how to communicate effectively with people from other cultures. Include the hashtag “#interc” as a part of your response. Your tip may deal with speaking, listening, reading, writing, tweeting, broadcasting, networking, and any other area within the broad topic of intercultural communication. You can send as many tips as you want to, each as a separate tweet and with the same hashtag: #interc.

To read other people's tips, search for #interc. It will give you the latest collection of tips.

Are You Ready?

Here's my priming tweet:

How can we communicate effectively with people from other cultures? Respond with #interc. Search #interc for the collection of tips.

Here are some sample tips:

#interc. Intercultural work is fraught with faux pas, unintentional offense, and mistakes. Be patient with other people—and yourself.

#interc. Some people have a larger reading vocabulary than a listening vocabulary. Use handouts and text slides.

#interc. Natives have a biased perception of their own culture. So cross validate the information with different sources.

#interc. Learn to spell and pronounce the names of people from other cultures. Ask about the meaning and significance.

#interc. Ask for clarification. Blame on your hearing problem and ask politely to repeat or explain.

Your turn now: Tweet your tips for effective intercultural communication. Remember to include the hashtag, #interc.


Cryptic Clusters

A cryptic cluster puzzle is a combination of a word association test and a cryptogram.

The puzzle displays a list of items that belong to the same category. The items are coded with a substitution code in which every letter of the alphabet is consistently replaced by another letter.

Here's a sample cryptic cluster, complete with the solution:

Types of Training Games and Activities




Here is a cryptic cluster puzzle that I recently used in a workshop on meeting management skills. Try your hand at solving it.


The solution

Online Game

Arrange in Order

In the November issue of TGL, we explored Sequencing, an online game that displays procedural steps in a jumbled order and asks the player to rearrange them in the correct order.

Arranging items in a sequential order is one way to use this online game. We can also ask players to rank order different items.


In this game ( ; requires Adobe Flash ), your challenge is to arrange different countries in order of their population. (Source: .)

Here are some other topics that lend themselves to rank ordering:

From Brian's Brain

Complexity and Constellations
by Brian Remer

Sometimes a complex problem is difficult to understand because we cannot see the whole of it all at once. This issue of the Firefly News Flash offers a method for gaining perspective on an entire system but we'll begin by examining why the big picture is hard to see with this 99-Word Story. Quick tip: To better understand a complex system and its dynamics, try creating a human-sized model and act it out.

Read more in the December 2011 issue of Firefly News Flash: .

US Workshops

Thiagi's Public Workshop in Indianapolis

In 2011, Thiagi conducted his popular public workshop, Interactive Techniques for Instructor-Led Training, in Singapore, Dallas, Zurich, Paris, and Stockholm. Next year, he is planning to conduct this workshop in Indianapolis, Indiana.

We are working out the details, and here's what we have decided right now:

When? March 21-23, 2012 (Wednesday thru Friday).

Where? Courtyard Indianapolis at the Capitol, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. They have a web page at

How much? Registration for the workshop will be at the same rate that we charged in 2011: $1,495. You will get a hefty $370 discount if you register early.

More Information

For more information, please download our detailed brochure (190K PDF).

Register Now

To register, visit our online store.


Solution to Meeting Management Cryptic Cluster

  1. Avoid unnecessary meetings.
  2. Don't invite too many people.
  3. Begin and end the meeting on time.
  4. Stick to the agenda.
  5. Do your homework before attending the meeting.
  6. Encourage everybody to participate in the meeting.
  7. Be positive. Reinforce other people's ideas.
  8. Conclude the meeting with a list of action items.
  9. Follow up the meeting by working on action items.

Back to the puzzle

Single Topic Survey

Positive Facilitation
by Tracy Tagliati

As the New Year begins, it seems appropriate to look at what it is about our profession that is so gratifying.

For many of us, there's nothing like the feeling of satisfaction that happens after facilitating a session on a topic we're passionate about. However, sometimes we may have to deliver training on topics that leave us feeling indifferent.

How about you?

Poll Question

How frequently do you get an emotional high that comes from facilitating a topic you love?


(The poll opens in a new window.)

Open Question

What are the topics you most look forward to facilitating and why?


(The survey opens in a new window.)

You may include your name along with your response, or if you prefer, keep it anonymous.

We asked some of friends in the training field this question, and here's what they said are some of their favorite topics:

Clive: I love teaching my course on skeptical thinking. I am shocked about how many myths, fads, and superstitions hamper corporate performance and productivity. I designed this course myself and I take great care to differentiate between being cynical and being skeptical.

Griffin: Cross-cultural training is what I most look forward to facilitating. I find it satisfying, because I believe the topic is relevant and necessary in a world that increasingly relies on understanding each other's differences and similarities.

Tristan: I enjoy facilitating new hire orientation. Each time, I find the participant's enthusiasm about starting a new job contagious, and I get excited all over again about doing a job that brings me so much satisfaction.

Peggy: For me, there's nothing like leading a train-the-trainer course. I love sharing and learning from others in my own profession.

Survey Results

How Was 2011 For You?
by Tracy Tagliati

Last month we asked how 2011 was for you. Was it a year of good cheer or were you glad to see it go?

Here are the results:

Good cheer: 63% Glad it's gone: 37%
(Percentages reflect 54 votes received by December 31, 2011.)

Of those of you who responded, 63% said it was a year of good cheer and 37 percent said you were glad to see it go.

We also asked you what you thought had the biggest impact on the training industry in 2011.

Here's what some of you had to say:

Response 11) Increased use of videos. This trend is going to continue. Videos are particularly useful in teaching motor skills. And they seem to be used for all purposes.

Response 7) The need to drive measurable results was in sharp focus.

Response 13) This year, Tweeting has increasingly become a part of my training. It gives in the moment feedback.

See more readers' responses or add your own.

Thanks for your responses.

Check It Out

Vignettes for Training Blog ( )

Ray Jimenez is a thought leader in our field and a prolific provider of practical advice on storytelling, e-learning 2.0, reusable engines, and social learning.

Visit Ray's blog ( ) for useful ideas for instructional designers. One of his recent articles deals with using stories to embed learning. Ray provides several examples of micro-scenarios or vignettes that use thought-provoking stories to help participants to recall their own stories and to learn useful principles and procedures. If you are worried about the time and cost involved in creating this type of online scenarios, Ray provides ready-made scenarios that you can borrow and use in your own training.


Five Books on Your Mind

At the Thiagi Group, we are all voracious readers. We order at least three books every week. This is how we keep ourselves up to date about facilitation, training, performance improvement, game design (and politics, science fiction, comics, and Nordic noir thrillers).

As associates of we provide you with links that you can use to browse through the books and order them through us. (Full disclosure: Every time you order through this page, we get a small commission, which we spend on buying more books.) enables our addiction to books. It is so easy to browse the books and click our orders.

We have an associate account with This simplifies our attempts at sharing our favorite books with you. No longer do we have to write a book report. Instead, we can display a clickable image of the book. You click, browse through the book, read different reviews, and check out the ratings. If you like the book, you can order it directly from this page.

Here are five books that deal with the imperfections of our brain/mind. These books help you to become a better thinker, learner, and trainer.

[Book Cover] The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons.

The main message of this book: Our minds don't work the way we think they do. This book is written by the creators of our favorite jolt. Among other things, it tells us how our brain misleads us.

[Book Cover] You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself by David McRaney.

This book serves psychological research through tasty anecdotes. It shows you that you are not rational or logical. For a sample, check out Tracy's jolt earlier in this issue.

[Book Cover] Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives by Dean Buonomano.

The human brain is beautiful and complex—and imperfect. Learn all about the inherent weaknesses of our brains.

[Book Cover] The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths by Michael Shermer.

This provocative book synthesizes 30 years of research and explains how beliefs are born, formed, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguished. One of the main messages: Beliefs come first and explanations for these beliefs come later.

[Book Cover] The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home by Dan Ariely.

The other books in this list prove that you are irrational. This book shows you what is good about it.