~ 1 ~ EDITORIAL: We Just Want Fun
~ 2 ~ EVENTS: Active
Workshops with Roger Greenaway
~ 3 ~ ARTICLE: We Just
~ 4 ~ ONLINE TRAINING
COURSE: Active Reviewing
~ 5 ~ TIPS: 6 of the best
ways to end a training programme
~ 6 ~ ARCHIVE: Reviewing
~ 7 ~ PREVIOUS ISSUE and
~ 8 ~ About Active
1 ~ EDITORIAL: We Just Want Fun
Some time ago I worked as a sailing
first question to the guests would be: "Do you want to learn to sail or
do you want to have fun?" They were guests, so they would choose. The
fun choice usually meant being pirates and having water fights. (They
were quite young guests.)
But the choice between "Fun" and "Learning"
is rarely so simple - and especially when it comes to "active
reviewing" which is usually an attempt to do both at the same time.
In your role as a facilitator of learning, I
am sure you have encountered groups who are not as interested
in the learning objectives as you would like them to be, and who will
be happy enough just doing the activities and having fun together. And
before you know it, the learning programme has become a recreational
So the main article in this issue (We Just
Want Fun) presents some ideas about how you can move things in the
other direction so that participants become more committed to the
learning without necessarily losing their appetite for enjoyment.
This issue also introduces the new series: 'Six
the best' starting with "Six of
the best ways to end
a training programme."
This is where you are just now - and a
special welcome if this is your first issue:
Active Reviewing Tips
free newsletter from Roger Greenaway that
will help you to re-charge your reviewing and facilitation skills.
- a practical feature on reviewing
- links to sites about active
- tips, comments and ideas from
- what's new in the Guide to Active
Reviewing at http://reviewing.co.uk
Maximum frequency: monthly. Average frequency: quarterly.
"16 years of promoting better
I welcome requests for topics you would like to see included
in Active Reviewing
Tips, any questions you would like to see answered in a FAQ, and
enquiries about trainer-training workshops (open or
just do it - actively review it!
~ 2 ~ EVENTS: Active Reviewing
Workshops with Roger Greenaway
Calendar of Reviewing Skills Training Workshops
provides the most up to date list of open/public workshops
provided by Roger Greenaway.
other newsletter: the Experiential-CPD Calendar
The Experiential-CPD Calendar lists 'trainer-training' and
from several UK
providers. The events listed here are of interest to
facilitators who work indoors or outdoors. The Experiential-CPD
features a 'Thought for the Month' about experiential
learning from the editors or from readers.
Active Reviewing Online
Have you taken a look at my new online training course on
Please let me know what you think: email@example.com
~ 3 ~
ARTICLE: We Just Want Fun
"We Just Want Fun!"
Which is the best
use in this situation?
Roger Greenaway, Reviewing
[The first article in this series was "The
Forgetful Navigator". It was about productive ways of reviewing a
situation in which one person is very embarrassed and feels they have
let down the group. If you missed it follow
this link to The Forgetful Navigator.]
just want fun!" is the second of a series of
articles in which the
starting point is a situation that you might have faced already or that
you might face in the future - as a facilitator of learning.
you read through the article, please consider which of
these methods would be your own favourite response to the
situation. If your
favourite method is not described, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
and share your own favourite.
just want fun!"
are well prepared for facilitating this course. You have met the client
paying for the course and the client has been very clear about the
learning objectives. You have listened to the designer and director of
the course explain how and why the course has been organised in support
of the key learning objectives. Your success, in large part, is the
extent to which you can please all parties involved: the client, your
boss and the group you are working with.
meet the group. They seem quite well motivated. But their motivation
seems to melt away when you mention aims and objectives. You sense some
resistance and you wonder if it would be wiser to ask participants to
set their own objectives. This would give you a starting point and
their objectives will probably tie in with the course objectives
anyway. You can sort out any significant differences later.
group's spokesperson says "We just want fun!" and this seems
to be echoed by everyone else.
You are probably failing to hide your concerns about how on earth you
are going to get from this starting point to a finishing point that
will leave the group, the client and your director fully satisfied and
with significant learning outcomes achieved.
Here are some choices for you.
Option 1: work towards a better
climate for learning (aided by physical movement)
Write up their words "We just want fun!" and
confirm that this is a statement they all support.
Now write up the words "We want fun!"
(missing out "just")
You say ...
- your first bit of fun is a word game. Please all stand." [pause while
they stand] "You are all standing in the middle of a spectrum. One end
of the spectrum - over there - represents the view "I just want fun and
nothing else". The other end of the spectrum - over here - represents
the view "I want fun and I am happy to learn interesting and useful
things along the way, so long as it's fun".
"You can choose to stand at any point on this spectrum,
depending on what
you really want for yourself from this course."
hope that there will be some spreading out along the spectrum, but
whether the group is in one huddle or is spread out along the spectrum,
this next stage applies:
"Please find someone you are standing close
to and sit down with them with a pen and paper and make two lists: (1) experiences you do want
and (2) experiences you
during this course." Alternatively you can give out large sticky notes
to each pair, asking them to place "wanted experiences" on one colour
(eg green) and "not wanted experiences" using the other colour (eg
All the results are put on display at the
people were standing in the spectrum. You now ask everyone to tour the
exhibition of statements, reading what others have written. (This also
gives you time
to take a look and think ahead.)
When everyone has had sufficient reading and
thinking time, ask them to sit down in a circle. If you have spotted
any unrealistic or unreasonable expectations you should say so, but the
chances are that most of these expectations (expressed as experiences)
are realistic and reasonable and compatible with the course objectives.
ask participants to come up with a list of "do's and don'ts"
will help them to make wanted experiences more likely and unwanted
experiences less likely.To add to the challenge and value of this
exercise request that do's outnumber don'ts.
1 will help you bring out individual differences and create a useful
discussion within the group that gives you as a facilitator much more
room for manoeuvre than at first appeared. You are also responding
directly to the kinds of concerns that can get in the way of learning.
And the do's and don'ts exercise can readily lead to a contract based
on ground rules that will help to create a supportive climate for
2: use fun as a starting point - with fun activities and fun reviews
"That's a great
attitude to come with because it matches the schedule for the start of
this programme. It's best to start with fun and get more focused
spokesperson: "But we just want fun! We don't want other stuff later."
"What's stopping us getting started? ... I cannot guarantee that these
games are going to be non-stop fun for everyone all of the time. Not
everyone has the same ideas about what makes an activity fun. But a lot
of groups I have worked with have had fun doing these activities. Are
happens is a series of short activities which were probably already
designed into the programme. The only difference is that your briefing
for each activity does not use the language of learning objective and
outcomes: it is the minimum briefing necessary for people to understand
and enjoy the activity.
you are hoping for is plenty of reviewable incidents during these
opening activities - possibly where people are not having much fun
because they are not being listened to, or they are not given a turn or
they feel insulted or embarrassed. The theme of such reviews might be
"Let's do better at making things fun for everyone".
reviewable incidents are not necessarily negative ones, so a more
positive angle would be to provide or generate positive feedback all
round - to bring everyone's attention to how they are contributing
to fun - by including others, supporting others, taking the initiative,
suggesting improvements, helping with good decision-making, speaking up
for others ...
Option 2 is really a change of emphasis and a
change of language - but there is a particular risk that if reviews are
experienced as dull and boring (or "not fun") that you end up with an
"activities only" programme with any useful learning left to chance. So
option 2 needs to be combined with review methods that are mostly fun
and positive. For example: Action Replay can be fun and Spokes can be
If you are not familiar with these methods, search for them at http://reviewing.co.uk
Option 3: use your powers of persuasion
Talk about other groups you have worked with who arrived with a
similar attitude, had a fun time and left with lots of useful
learning... "in fact they are now regular customers because they are an
organisation that believes that fun and learning are fully compatible.
If people are not having fun it suggests that their basic needs are not
being met and these need to be attended to before it is possible to do
much useful learning."
"But we just want fun!"
I hear what
you are saying. Can you hear what I am saying? Wanting fun is a
temporary stage that all groups go through. But there are many
different kinds of fun and there are many ways in which groups develop.
Groups do not just travel in one direction from an appetite for fun to
an appetite for serious stuff and that's it. Groups that continue to
grow and learn keep cycling through stages of hard work and relaxation
and sometimes fun can even happen alongside the hard work.
fun" is a good place to start. So let's start at square one and go back
to square one from time to time, but let's not get stuck at square one.
3 depends entirely on your powers of persuasion. It does not include
activity and it does not include much dialogue. There is a risk that if
you sustain this line for too long that you win the argument but you
lose the group: you have silenced them. And then later on in the course
you wonder why it is so difficult to get them to speak up!
Which option would you choose - and
Much depends on the situation and much
depends on your personal style. But each option has its own risks - and
there may well be better ways of dealing with this situation. If
your favourite strategy is not described, please write to email@example.com
and share your own favourite.
~ 4 ~ ONLINE
TRAINING COURSE: Active Reviewing
part in this online course will enable you ...
- To engage your students' full set of
so that their learning is rapid, significant and memorable.
- To inspire long lasting results by
immersive learning experiences.
- To become an expert in facilitating
- To master the Active Reviewing Toolkit
selection of versatile reviewing techniques.
- To use tools such as the Horseshoe, the
Action Replay and others in order to engage and empower your students.
can view the full course content and sample the training
for free by visiting ActiveReviewing.com
Take Your Training Skills to the Next
The best way to learn the procedures and principles related to actively
reviewing is to enroll in this e-learning course. You will enjoy your
learning experience from this practical, hands-on approach to active
trainers not experienced in Roger's reviewing
A programme that will really help trainers get to grips with active and
creative reviewing skills. It's in nice short sections so it's easy to
go back and review a method before you use it. I might make this a
prerequisite for my associate trainers!
can view the full course content and sample the training
for free by visiting ActiveReviewing.com
5 ~ TIPS: 6 of the best ways to end a training programme
time - or early.
This is not just about being professional
and punctual. It is also recognising that a lot of very useful things
can happen informally as soon as a training programme ends: saying
goodbyes; saying thank you; exchanging cards or contact information;
taking photos; making plans to meet. These are all things that can add
value to your training programme and enhance the transfer of learning.
In some situations this opportunity is so valuable that you may want to
end the programme 15 minutes early and challenge people to use these
last 15 minutes to have at least three conversations that will help
each other transfer their learning - and then leave when they are ready
is not the end: it is the start of the next stage of your learning
Not original, but true. It is often said when a
learner driver becomes qualified that the real learning begins out on
the roads after the test. There is an important phase of extra learning
when the initial learning is tried out for real. The transfer plan
(next) should include a learning plan within it - which includes a
commitment (and the know-how) for further review and reflection - so
that transfer experiments become learning experiences. A quick way to
enact this tip is to make a short closing speech around this message.
Ideally it is preceded by a sharing of learning and is followed by each
participant outlining a future experiment and how they will learn from
ending that is customised for each individual
This can take the form of a
self-made transfer plan which plays to the individual's strengths;
anticipation of potential barriers and strategies for overcoming them;
contracted one-to-one support from learning buddy or coach or manager;
a schedule for self-testing of any knowledge or skills that
are critical for successful transfer; a personally significant souvenir
that will outlive the transfer plan and serve both as a reminder and as
as a talking point with others. To enact this tip, give time for each
person to prepare to share one aspect of their transfer plan that will
be relatively easy to achieve and one aspect that the expect to be
challenging or unpredictable.
If the training programme is expected to result
in behaviour change, the end of a programme can be a prime opportunity
for contrasting old ways and new ways. Teams can show their old ways of
working and their new ways of working in a short performance. A good
structure is to pick one old and new example from the training
programme, and follow this with one old and one (imagined) new example
from the workplace. If asking
individuals to perform their personal old and new ways is too
challenging, ask them to choose pictures representing old and new and
to present the pictures in the group.
Participants watch a slideshow of the training programme in
which they have just been taking part. It tells the story of their
learning experience and includes everyone. It can be a project for
participants or it can be produced by training staff. You will find
valuable advice and tips in Sam Moore's article: Big
Screen Magic (pdf) Unlike the first four tips, this one is
about the recent past, but (with the right permissions) a slideshow of
the recent past can also
become a powerful souvenir to take into the future.
This is suitable for groups of 10-15
people. Seated in a circle, everyone holds onto a circular
rope with 3 labels tied on at an equal distance from each other. The
labels are: 'Past',
'Present' and 'Future'. The group move the rope at a leisurely pace in
clockwise direction. When anyone wishes to speak on the subject that is
passing by on a label, the person seizes the rope either side
of the label and speaks. When the person has had their say, the rope
resumes its clockwise motion until someone else choose to stop the rope
and speak. This simple turn-taking method allows people to opt in when
they are ready to speak. Unlike the other methods which can take longer
than expected, you can assign a maximum time for this method and stop
at the designated time - so it fits particularly well with Tip No.1.
You may have noticed that filling in an evaluation form is not included
in this "Six of the best". I would not even recommend it. Few
participants will have the time, energy, thoughtfulness or commitment
needed to do a useful and honest evaluation at this time - when there
are other strong social needs to attend to. Evaluation is best done
sooner or later rather than at the very end.
If you have a favourite way of ending a training programme that you
would like to share, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
and this "Six of the best" might even grow into a top ten!
~ 6 ~ ARCHIVE:
Reviewing for Fun
"Reviewing for Fun" pdf (4 pages)
~ 7 ~ PREVIOUS ISSUE and FUTURE ISSUES
See the previous issue of Active Reviewing
Topics under consideration for future issues
- The Active Reviewing Cycle: update
- Making the case for active reviewing
- Making reviewing a memorable experience
- Reviewing as a takeaway skill for
- Evaluating Active Reviewing: how well
does it work?
- Reviewing for different outcomes (using
the same activities)
- End of programme reviews
- Co-facilitating reviews
- The art of improvising
- Remote Reviewing
- Reviewing over a cup of tea (informal
- Readers' Questions about Reviewing
(please feed me with questions for this 'FAQ')
- Sample designs for learning and
- Integrated practice in experiential
learning (when does an activity become a review? when does a review
become an activity? examples of integrated practice - and do these
challenge or demonstrate experiential learning theory?)
Please write to email@example.com
if you have any topics you would like to see included or put at the top
of this list (which is not yet in any particular order).
~ 8 ~ About Active Reviewing Tips
TITLE: Active Reviewing Tips for Dynamic Experiential Learning
EDITOR: Dr. Roger Greenaway, Reviewing Skills Training
of back issues
HOME PAGE: Active
like the way you look at everything and then return
to what is simple, effective and memorable."
"You always have material I don't want to miss."