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Methods of delivery

Class activities

Class activities break up the programme and help to retain class concentration and interest. They can also reinforce learning or substitute lectures or presentations as a way to get content information across.

Types of activity

There are many different kinds of activity that work well in training. Some examples are also given in the section, Selection. The list below is not intended to be exhaustive and as your training skills develop you will begin to find inspiration in your own professional development experience, reading material and even general leisure activity which can be turned into an interesting or useful classroom activity.

  1. Introductions and ice-breakers: used at the beginning of the course, before the specific subject matter begins, to get the class involved in the training. It is particularly valuable where the trainer has had little information about the participants beforehand or the participants themselves have come from different organisations and do not know each other. Introductions can be short and simple or involve participants giving detailed information about their background and learning goals or even introducing their neighbour (after a short "interview"). An ice breaker is an activity where the class is encouraged to participate and begin to get to know each other and the trainer(s). This does not have to be a complex exercise and can be as simple as a group brainstorm to establish knowledge of basic principles or terminology that will be explored/used in the course.
  2. Individual work: this is where each participant is given something to work on on their own, perhaps a quiz or a presentation based on their own experience or a piece of research on a step or portion of a project or process that will feed into the work of the whole class.
  3. Group exercises: these are exercises designed to get participants to work as a team. The subject matter may be more challenging than that for individual work, as the group can pool its knowledge, experience and problem-solving skills.
  4. Brainstorming sessions: according to the "purists" brainstorming sessions have quite rigid rules such as permitting no detailed arguing or discussion and focusing on random and spontaneous thoughts stimulated by the group. In the classroom a more gentle form of brainstorming can be used to problem solve or to capitalise on existing knowledge to replace a lecture that just tells most participants what they already know.
  5. Facilitated discussion: this is where the trainer leads a discussion on a given topic, keeping in mind a checklist of issues that should be covered.
  6. Workshops: workshops are usually a more substantial piece of groupwork taking an appropriate amount of time, for example each group may be asked to map out part of a disaster plan. The group is given an issue to consider and discuss or a problem to solve and expected to develop the content or information required to complete the task.

Developing and setting class activities takes careful thought and preparation. Here are some tips:

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Last updated: 20 December 2005