When I attend a GREAT conference or workshop session I feel energized and motivated! When I look back at those learning experiences, I realize that they all have a common denominator... the instructor's ability to transition in and out of the learning with meaningful, reflective exercises.
So... I am looking for some short and simple activities that I can use in my own professional development that can 1) introduce a concept by capitalizing on my audience's interests or prior knowledge, 2) provide a reflective pause during the learning, or 3) help solidify/generalize/summarize the learning. Thank you for sharing!
I've used some of these before. They're not cheesy and legitmately useful, but engaging.
I just facilitated a training last week on Best Practices in Tech Integration to teachers. In order to introduce the concept and activate some prior knowledge and gain interest I asked them to tell me their role on their campuses and why they chose this session. It really helped me to see what their specific interest levels were. This worked out great because session 1 had totally different expectations than Session 2. See, the complete session title was: From PowerPoint to Podcasts: Best Practices in Tech Integration. Session 1 was more interested in Podcasting and Session 2 was more interested in the best practices. This really helped me to guide the session so that everyone left with something they wanted. Needless to say, it also meant I facilitated two different sessions. :)
For debriefing I like to use some thing like a Think-Pair-Share or a 3-2-1 activity. The first gives them an opp to reflect with a partner and share their insights. The other is perfect for having them prioritize and recognize what they are learning.
It's a great point that effective workshop activities help so much to make an experience or learning point stick on the long run.
I often turn to www.sessionlab.com/library , when looking for inspiration for new activities.
It's a public library of workshop activities, where you can find tools both from individuals and established organisations (e.g. International Association of Facilitators, Thiagi Group, or Gamestorming activities)
I hope it helps,