Issue 30
Learning CAN be fun. Training SHOULD be fun. Training Games ARE fun!
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In this Newsletter...

So What's Been Engrained into Your Brain?
In past newsletters I've spent a great deal of time talking about how we learn. It is fascinating to think that we now understand from a neurobiological perspective how learning occurs. Early neurobiologists believed that new neurons were created as we learned new information. But that's not exactly true. We now know that "'the raw material of the brain is the nerve cell, called the neuron. When babies are born, they have almost all of the neurons they will ever have, more than 100 billion of them. Although there is research that indicates some neurons are developed after birth and well into adulthood (in the hippocampus and neo-cortical areas of the brain), the neurons babies have at birth are primarily what they have to work with as they develop into children, adolescents, and adults." (How the Brain Develops by Child Welfare Information Gateway).

Rather then new neurons or new neuronal connections (synapses) the research seems clear that learning occurs by strengthening existing synaptic connections. "Many neuroscientists believe that learning and memory involve changes at neuron-to-neuron synapses. Such changes, called long-term potentiation (LTP) make it easier for connected neurons to communicate with each other, and therefore to form memories." From The Franklin Institute "The Human Brain ( Furthermore learning and emotion are inseparable. What we learn is affected by our emotions at the time of the learning experience. High levels of stress tend to diminish our ability to learn in a typical sense, while a state of "Relaxed Alertness" a term coined by Renate Nummela Caine and Geoffrey Caine and referenced in their book 12 Brain/Mind Learning Principles in Action is the optimal learning state. I quote, "People in a state of relaxed alertness experience low threat and high challenge". How about that as a plug for training games.

But what of PTSD, Posttraumatic stress disorder. We might not be able to learn how to solve an algebraic equation while the house is on fire, but are we still not learning? In animal research as well as human studies, the amygdala has been shown to be strongly involved in the formation of emotional memories, especially fear-related memories. We are talking about a learning experience surrounded in trauma. The amygdala of our brain, a part of the brain's limbic system, is of course associated with learning, memory and emotion. Read a wonderful story by Priscilla Vail MAT on "How Emotional Issues Change as Kids Grow" located at

Do you remember where you were on 9/11/2001, or when President Kennedy was shot? (Please forgive me if you were not born before November 22, 1963). In the August issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, Boston College psychologist, Elizabeth Kensinger presents research which "shows that whether an event is pleasurable or aversive seems to be a critical determinant of the accuracy with which the event is remembered, with negative events being remembered in greater detail than positive ones. For example, after seeing a man on a street holding a gun, people remember the gun vividly, but they forget the details of the street. The more activity in the orbitofrontal cortex and the amygdala, two emotion-processing regions of the brain, the more likely an individual is to remember details intrinsically linked to the emotional aspect of the event, such as the exact appearance of the gun." (Association for Psychological Science, 2007, August 28). (We Remember Bad Times Better Than Good. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September). This makes sense, because we understand we need to give our attention to something in order to learn. Fearful situations naturally rivet our attention. We are literally learning to survive. Imagine how strong such a neural network of synapses can be.

This begs the question, "So what's been engrained in your brain?" And let's not limit our experiential learning, and the strength of our synaptic connections to states of optimal learning (relaxed alertness) and "run for the hills" trauma. Remember our brains are constantly evolving. Plasticity is the idea that your brain changes with each and every new experience. In addition our perception of each and every new experience is affected by what we've experienced or learned in the past. Often you'll hear people talk about "TAPES" that play over and over again in their brain when confronted with a particular situation. For example, do you know someone who can't seem to find a positive in any given situation; the glass is always half empty for these folks. I would imagine that you do. Well what do you suppose happens to their synaptic connections as they reaffirm the negative each and every day of their lives? I know a woman who whenever asked "how are you doing today" she religiously responds "Same shit, different day". Her outlook on life has become a knee jerk reaction, and it is always highly negative. My assumption is that we literally strengthen such negative messages in our brain. Are there messages that you've engrained into your brain?

Hats off to Norman Vincent Peale for his Power of Positive Thinking, and to those who encourage repeating positive affirmations daily. I believe such efforts help us to improve our daily outlook on life. As mentioned above, science is now telling us that learning is all about strengthening synapses in our brain. So it makes perfect sense that we can train ourselves to a more positive perspective.

I'd like to take this idea one step further however. I believe that many of the negative messages we repeat to ourselves are never acted upon (but simply relearned). Someone may say something that angers us or makes us feel bad and we just let it ruminate. We might even lose sleep endlessly thinking about it, which only serves to strengthen the thought process. I'd like to suggest that next time you interrupt this negative learning process. Think about what was said or done to make you feel angry, sad, uncomfortable or whatever. Now instead of allowing time to heal all wounds, make a plan to positively address it! A simple plan that involves taking a proactive step to address the negative feeling in your life. For example, your sister calls to chat, but the conversation always seem to get around to how wonderful her kids are, and how lack luster your kids seem to be. It makes you feel angry, but in order to keep peace in the family you always let it go. But do you let it go? Not at all, it bothers you, so you think about it for hours after the call. In effect you're simply relearning and strengthening the entire negative experience. Why would your want to strengthen such an uncomfortable thought process? I want to suggest you develop a plan to address these negative messages, and then act on the plan. In our example it might be as simple as next time telling your sister some of the things about your children that you are most proud of. In this way you'll become practiced at addressing and extinguishing such negative thoughts and feelings and actually be replacing these negative learnings with positive outcomes.

Submit Your Articles to the TGI Newsletter Today!

Submit your articles on learning, training, training games, brain based learning. We will review for relevance, and if approved, publish them in our upcoming newsletters. We will also reference your e-mail address and website for readers to learn more about you. Contact [email protected] for additional information.

TGI 6-Pack PowerPoint Games
Our 6-Pack PowerPoint Games are great fun in a classroom setting, and may also be posted on your organization's server, company intranet or any secure page on your website. All games are completely editable and can be altered over and over again to accommodate your changing training needs.

• Peril
• All the Way
• Tic Tac Dough
• Wheel of Color
• Quiz Show
• Word Jumble
• PLUS free scoreboard & whiteboard

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• TV Quiz Show Game
• The $1600 Quiz Show
• Pyramid of the Sun Quiz
• Money Taxi Quiz Show
• Truth or Consequences
• 20 Questions Quiz Show

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• Fun Feud
• Match Game
• 1,000,000 Pyramid
• Star Cruiser
• Ice Breaker Wheel Game
• Team Builder Crossword Puzzle

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• Baseball Game
• Football Game
• Golf Game
• Racecar Game
• Blimp Race Game
• Boat Race Game

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Products From TGI
Contact [email protected] or call 602-750-7223

Free TGI Icebreaker Game

We've included a free TGI PowerPoint or Excel based Ice Breaker Game in this newsletter and promise to send you a free game with each and every issue! These games are great fun, and will make your meetings, presentations and training sessions more interactive and engaging. Right-click and save the file to your computer. The download link is only active in newsletters sent out to TGI subscribers.

Famous Quotes
Unknown Author - "There are two trees, each yielding its own fruit. One of them is negative ... it grows from lack of self–worth and its fruits are fear, anger, envy, bitterness, sorrow — and any other negative emotion. Then there is the tree of positive emotions. Its nutrients include self–forgiveness and a correct self concept. Its fruits are love, joy, acceptance, self–esteem, faith, peace ... and other uplifting emotions."

Dr. Hans Selye - "Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one."

James Allen - "Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, ... but when he realizes that he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself. Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruit. Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life. Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are."

Let's Talk Ethics by David Cohrs
Those of us charged with developing the people asset of the organization are keenly aware of the critical aspects of the role. More importantly, we prepare ourselves for the ever-changing challenges related to maintaining the focus of enhancing the effectiveness of the workplace. What follows is a scenario that might be taking place in your professional life soon.

A Colleague

Let's drop in on corporate training manager, Ellen. She has been in the business for over 15 years; mastering the art of balancing resources, employee development needs, and the latest training trends. Her recitation of the KSA handbook is exact as she discerns the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes for organizational success. Sometimes, a whole week passes by without a discouraging word from the ranks of employees or management. Ellen, in all her wisdom, knows that those moments of contentment are often followed by new twists of perceived learning activities, competency targets, and 'just in time' interventions.

It is a typical day in Company Land when the CEO e-mails Ellen and requests that she meet with him the next day. Her mind races through the various programs supported by the boss – leadership, diversity, team training, technical skills workshops, and a myriad of compliance topics.

The Journey Begins

At the meeting CEO Joe gets right to the point. "Ellen, I've been doing a lot of reading lately about corporate social responsibility and the specific topic of ethics. I worry about the implications and unintended consequences that unethical behavior might have on our company. We've worked hard to build our reputation and I think this is our next topic to tackle. I'm sending you an e-mail with some interesting information from the Ethics Resource Center. Get back to me with a plan, as soon as possible."

Ellen wisely decides to evaluate the current tools that the company has in place related to ethics. There are the stated corporate values, the code of conduct documents that everyone has to sign, the annual online assessment requirements, and the occasional didactic speeches by leaders, lawyers, and ethicists. Aren't these doing the job? What is CEO Joe worried about?

Survey Says… the 2007 National Business Ethics Survey (

Ellen studies the e-mail that CEO Joe has sent her, along with the additional data from the Ethics Resource Center website. She learns that:

• The number of companies that are successful in incorporating a strong enterprise-wide ethical culture into their business has declined since 2005. Only 9% of companies have strong ethical cultures.

• Many employees do not report what they observe – they are fearful about retaliation and skeptical that their reporting will make a difference. In fact, one in eight employees experiences some form of retaliation for reporting misconduct.

• The number of formal ethics and compliance programs is on the rise. Furthermore, in companies with well-implemented programs, there is increased reporting, reducing ethics risk.

Pulling It All Together

Ellen finds this information to be useful but it also causes her to examine the big picture of ethics as it exists in an organization. She begins to have conversations with other experts, friends, and associates to share their views based on personal experiences and values. After a few weeks of gathering input, Ellen reaches some conclusions:

• A breach of ethics can indeed have a major effect on the finances, reputation, and stability of an organization. Internal and external stakeholders are all impacted.

• Ethics is different than many common training topics because it is very personal and is often explained as 'situational'.

• Ethics may not be easily 'taught' because of its human nature; instead standards or guidelines may be applied with clear consequences outlined.

• Most people have a 'moral compass' that keeps them on track regarding right versus wrong, yet that compass can sometimes become inaccurate based on the pressures of job performance, others' expectations, or life crisis situations. Wow!

• KSA (knowledge, skills, attitude) issues are joined with a new characteristic – Character – when addressing the topic of ethics.

• As always, ethical culture starts at the top and moves downward through the organization, emphasizing the need for integrity from the executive level to create the climate for success.

• The common methods of training delivery (workshops, online assessments, codes of conduct, speeches) are effective in delivering the expectation message but lack the ability to truly engage the participants beyond basic compliance.

There IS a Solution!

While conducting research, Ellen discovers an innovative new product that utilizes the 'Big 3' effective training methods: Role Play, Game, and Simulation. Participants from top down become highly engaged in a process called Ethical Enlightenment where their own experiences and values are used to promote effective decision making, leadership, and teamwork as they deal with the challenging topic of ethics. E-Factor!™ becomes the foundational piece for all other ethics related programs. Go to to find out more.

Author David Cohrs is a partner in the e-Factor! organization, serving as Director of Sales and Facilitation. He has expertise in people development, sales, manufacturing, and process facilitation. His experience ranges from Fortune 500 to helping entrepreneurs develop their people asset. He holds a Masters of Adult Education degree from National Louis University.

Featurette #3 - Saving and Customizing Your TGI Game
This month let's talk about saving and customizing your TGI Game. That is the ability to save different versions of your TGI Game as well as entering and editing your own questions into our training games to suit your training program needs.

Let's talk about the ability to save and re-save our games. TGI training games are not meant to be used once and discarded. We recommend before starting to customize a game, that you first use the Save As (Save and Rename) option to save a working copy of the game. Save it to the same folder as the original file to ensure the sounds work properly. Now you have a new version to use and make changes to, and your original game is always available if needed. Continue to save and rename your working copy to produce games for your various training and teaching programs.

Both our Excel based XF games and PowerPoint games enable you to easily add your own questions to the game. These include multiple choice, true/false or a single word/phrase question formats.

Our XF games have an extensive setup screen allowing you customize your TGI game. You can add your game name or title, import your organization's logo, add team/player names and many other touches to customize the game to your organization. The XF games also have many different game strategy options like the ability to pass on a question, or the ability to remove one wrong answer choice, or the ability for a team to score double points on a selected question. The facilitator can select these different playing options at the beginning of a game, and even determine how many times each team will get to use these options throughout the game. Game strategy options allow the trainer or teacher to offer a different game each time you play. There are many different game configurations the trainer can set up using their TGI XF (Extra Features) game.

In our PowerPoint games you have even greater opportunity to customize the games to your needs. Our PowerPoint games are completely editable, so you can add any text or graphics to customize your game. Entering questions is as easy as typing or pasting text into the question and answers boxes provided on the individual question slides. If you are familiar with PowerPoint you'll find our TGI 6 Pack games fast and easy to set up for your training programs. We offer these PowerPoint games in packs of six so that you can offer a variety of question and answer games during your learning programs.

By Mick Riley – President, Training Games Inc.

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Download the TGI Catalog

TGI Presentation Game
Step 1. Bring your entire PowerPoint presentation into the Presentation Game, it's a snap, and it's so easy!
Step 2. Now add in our fun and fully animated TGI Interactive Game Slides to engage your audience, enhance your presentation and energize your program.
Step 3. With just a push of one button our automated scoreboard and many great game features are instantly added to ALL of the slides in your presentation.


It takes less than a minute to transform any PowerPoint presentation into an Interactive PRESENTATION GAME. Features include a Game Scoreboard, Random Selectors, Random Number Selectors, and plenty of ready-to-go interactive game slides to engage your audience.

Need more information on the Presentation Game? Click here to open the PDF Help file which is included with the Presentation Game. Click here to open a brief PowerPoint presentation to guide you through the steps for creating and playing the Presentation Game.

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Brain Facts
1. While consuming too much fat overall and too much saturated fat, many North Americans fail to consume enough omega-3s. And the polyunsaturated oils widely recommended as healthful for the heart and widely used in cooking, frying and prepared food—corn, safflower and sunflower oils—have almost no omega-3s. Instead they are loaded with omega-6s. You need a proper balance of omega-6s and omega-3s. Canola oil and walnut oil are highly recommended.

2. Top Five Brain Foods (See or for details)
a. Wild Salmon
b. Cacao Beans
c. Matcha (Tencha-grade green tea powder)
d. Acai berries and Blueberries
e. Coffee beans
3. Researchers Create Animal Model Of Chronic Stress

ScienceDaily (Sep. 4, 2008) — In an effort to better understand how chronic stress affects the human body, researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University, have created an animal model that shows how chronic stress affects behavior, physiology and reproduction. Via the animal model, the researchers found corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) is a key neurohormone involved in stress response. CRF is located in several different brain regions, serving different functions. Its release is important for our ability to adapt to every day stressors and to maintain our physical and emotional health. In response to stress, CRF levels rise; CRF levels decrease when the stressor no longer is present. Chronic stress, however, increases the length and volume of expression of CRF in areas of the brain associated with fear and emotion, including the amygdala. Such chronic stress changes the body's response, and the resulting increased expression of CRF is thought to be the cause of such health-related stress problems including anxiety, depression and infertility.
Emory University (2008, September 4). Researchers Create Animal Model Of Chronic Stress. ScienceDaily.

Training Games Inc.
Gary Trotta, CEO
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[email protected]
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