At a recent “Train the trainers” training session, I was asked to propose and then facilitate a warm up game. Since the conference was for would be trainers, it seemed appropriate to have a game that revolved around training. Unfortunately, I only had 10 minutes. Not a huge amount of time to do anything substantial you would think. Ideally I wanted to use the time to get the trainees’ brains thinking ahead to the training as well as helping my co-trainer assess how much the trainees already knew.
Impossible, you say! However, I would like to introduce you to one of my favourite warm up games: BINGO! Yes, I did say Bingo!
In fact, the idea is to integrate the game of Bingo with a fun quiz to get the trainee brain’s thinking and also interacting. By making it a competition, you already have half of the room engaged – they want to win. The quiz element allows you to learn what you need at the same time as getting the trainees involved and let them have fun while learning at the same time!
So, how is it done? Basically you give each trainee a five by five grid as shown in the picture below. (Note: you can also use a three by three or four by four grid).
Get the trainees to write the numbers 1 – 25 (1 – 9 for the three by three grid and 1 – 16 for the four by four grid) in the smaller squares in the top right corner of the larger squares. The numbers should be added in a random order. This ensures that each trainee has their own distinct bingo grid!
Then once that is done, explain that you are going to call out questions. They should write the answer to the question in the large square marked with that question number. If they get the answer correct, they can mark the square with a large tick. If not, the square gets marked with a large cross instead. The first trainee to achieve a row or column full of ticks should shout out BINGO! Incidentally, you can also reward the trainee with the most ticks at the end.
A word of caution: Getting the difficulty of your questions right is essential to make sure that firstly someone wins, but also that it’s also not too easy. If no-one wins, the confidence in the room will diminish and this will affect the trainee’s motivation and ability to learn. Moreover, if the quiz is too easy, there is a danger that the trainees will find the warm up exercise (and by extension the training course) too easy and therefore beneath them, again decreasing the motivation in the room!
Well, what do you think? I’ve uploaded the full warm up session we used for the train the trainer course we held, including the explanation slides and the hand out as a complete PowerPoint presentation. The hand out is the last slide (which is hidden to prevent it from being displayed during the presentation). Feel free to download it here and use as you wish. You can of course alter the questions to match the needs of your own training courses. You can also use this for non-training events, such as before a conference or innovation session.
In summary, why do I use this training tool / warm up exercise?
- It engages the trainees’ brains in a fun way
- It doesn’t take up too much time
- The competitive element sparks the trainees’ interest in the subject
- When they get an answer right, it gives the trainee a sense of achievement
- You can quickly learn the current level of each trainee
- The trainees learn or at least are introduced to new information (when the correct answers are revealed) without them realising that the training has already started
- The trainees start to make a connection with you while they are having fun
If you have any questions on this, don’t hesitate to get in touch…