Issue 31
Learning CAN be fun. Training SHOULD be fun. Training Games ARE fun!
If you are having problems viewing this newsletter, you may also view it online here.

In this Newsletter...

Two Easy Icebreakers
At TGI our specialty is developing software training games, icebreakers and team building games developed in MS PowerPoint or MS Excel. These are great but even the first caveman trainers and teachers (I guess there were caveman trainers and teachers?) had developed fun and engaging games and icebreakers to enhance learning. They probably had something to do with clubs and rocks. My point is that there are many fantastic games out there that don't require a computer or LCD projector to operate. In fact some of these offer distinct advantages over games delivered via computer. I've borrowed several icebreaker examples from Susan El-Shamy's book How to Design and Deliver Training for the New and Emerging Generations. The first is called Sculpt Away. This is, as the title suggests, a very hands-on game. It involves sculpting dough or clay, which by the way is very inexpensive, and provides an easy way to get folks involved (actually up to their elbows) in your training program right off the bat! El-Shamy recommends cardboard table mats to avoid excessive clean-up.

The Sculpt Away Game, as presented by Susan, involves three phases. Initially participants are each given a hunk of clay as they enter the classroom and challenged to create the funniest, or most self-representative sculpture they can imagine. Then as your program begins, you ask each participant to hold up and perhaps explain their work of art and why it is whatever you said it should be (funny, creative, representative of themselves). The group then votes on the best offering, and prizes are handed out accordingly. It really starts things off with a bang!

Now with everyone in the class is thinking "What have I gotten myself into?" you ask the group to form into teams (Probably 4 7 members per team) and combining their initial renderings, build a team sculpture which portrays an aspect of your program. Perhaps the sculpture will be representative of effective leadership, good customer service, or terrific teamwork. Give teams five minutes to create this masterpiece. You may have to offer some suggestions to help them convert the concept into clay. Susan provides these for effective leadership - A heart to represent caring, a brain to represent intelligence, a person leading followers.

When your five minute timer goes off, have each group bring their project to the front of the room and place it on display. Now have a group representative explain how their sculpture characterizes or conceptualizes the selected program theme. As one member from each team presents, capture all characteristic and concepts offered from the presentation on a flip chart (i.e. Effective Leadership Caring, approachable, good communicator, decisive etc.). Following all presentations have the groups discuss the flip chart lists, and add any missing characteristics. Finally, (Phase 3) have the groups combine efforts in one final sculpting project. Allot ten minutes for the entire class to develop a sculpture depicting what they believe to be the most important characteristics or concepts as related to your program topic. When complete discuss with the group their thoughts on the exercise. Was it effective? Did their own group effort compliment or refute what the project intended to represent? What was over emphasized or perhaps not considered?

I like this exercise for many reasons. Certainly it merits praise as a good introductory icebreaker. Remember high school dances where there are more wall flowers than dancers? This activity literally allows participants to "dig-in" and get started. It provides a means to relax into a more participative program. When individuals enter your classroom they are all wondering what their experience will be. We're programmed this way; a bunch of little Arnold-like Terminators, always scanning our individual environs and calculating its future effect on us. The Sculpt Away icebreaker/activity presents a low stress, non-threatening exercise that you first do individually, then in a small group and finally involving the entire class. It presents a fast and easy way to introduce each class participant to the rest of the group.

The exercise also involves kinesthetic learning, which is a more hands-on learning style and more familiar to younger generations. According to El-Shamy, "Many young people from the emerging generations grew up with learning approaches that used team work and collaboration. They took part in engaging learning projects." Finally the exercise provides ample opportunities for presentation and discussion of the proposed topic which is in deed where the real learning occurs.

A second great program introductory icebreaker described in Susan El-Shamy's book is the Wall-Poster Word Search. This exercise involves creating several (4 6) identical and program specific word-search puzzles on large wall-posters. El-Shamy suggests a word search puzzle which is 13 letters high and 18 letters wide. Each poster is strategically placed around the classroom, and as participants enter the room, they are assigned to a group centered around one of the wall posters. Groups are then tasked at finding the words on their wall-poster, and most importantly, must be able to explain how each word relates to the program topic (i.e. effective leadership). Tell the groups that they will receive one point for each word they find and explain. Allow five ten minutes for the activity then pass out the puzzle answers. Now rotate through the groups, asking them to identify some of the words they located on the poster, and discuss how they relate to the program topic. Award a large prize to the group finding the most words and smaller prizes for the runner-ups.

Using this same idea we've created a very easy to use PowerPoint Word-Search Maker. Basically it is a 13 X 18 grid in which you can first type in your hidden words (in any direction), print a copy of the hidden words, and then simply press a button to populate the rest of the grid with random letters. There are several different word-search puzzles within the application. A 15 second timer is provided on each puzzle screen. In addition the application will have a easily accessed scoreboard so that you can score from 3 to 36 different teams or players. If you're interested this Icebreaker will be on our website shortly.

TGI Ultimate Peril (Not Your Father's Jeopardy-Style Game)
In addition to great graphics and sounds, this game, based on a favorite TV show, has:
• Question count down timer
• The Daily Double
• Final Peril
• Buzzer options
• Present additional information with questions
• 5 editable categories
• Easy electronic scoring
• Automatic player and Team rotation

New! Available on Flash Drive or CD

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. Download the free TGI Trivial Revelations Game here. The download link is only active in newsletters sent out to TGI subscribers.

Famous Quotes
Sir Alfred Zimmern — "All true educators since the time of Socrates and Plato have agreed that the primary object of education is the attainment of inner harmony, or, to put it into more up-to-date language, the integration of the personality. Without such an integration learning is no more than a collection of scraps, and the accumulation of knowledge becomes a danger to mental health."

Sam Keen — "We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly."

Unknown — "Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions."

Repeat after me,
complain about my job,

I was sent this photo in one of those emails we all get from one of our friends who has made it their life's mission to circulate these things. Very funny! I thought I should place it in this newsletter because in the last issue (TGI Newsletter 30) I wrote about our brain's ability to learn negative messages. Complaining about what we do for a living is certainly one such message that becomes engrained. In fact so well learned, we find such complaining has worked its way into our daily conversation. Certainly something we may wish to change.

Hey Trainers - Write 38 Instant Measurable Objectives in Minutes!
My assumptions

— You have some basic knowledge of training and...
— Experience in the training field as an instructor
— May have developed instructor-led training or printed training manuals
— Would rather get a root canal than write objectives!

There is hope...

The first most important principle! Understand is not a measurable objective! Let me repeat... Understand is not a measurable objective!

Having written objectives for over 25+ years, I admit.. I am very picky. And when I see a document that starts off with objectives that include "understand", I cringe. Excuse me... how to do measure someone's understanding of a concept or procedure? You can't.

What is a measurable objective?

— Objectives are written to give direction to training events.
— A measurable objective is an "action" verb engaging the learner to demonstrate new knowledge or problem solving skills.
— A measurable objective is "capable of being measured"

Here is how to quickly create measurable objectives with Bloom's Taxonomy theory into practice.

1. At the Knowledge Level: the learner exhibits previously learned materials by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts and answers.

Level 1: Key Words include: Choose, define, find, label, list, match, name, recall, relate, select, spell, tell, what, when, where, which, who, why

Use these Instant Objectives:

The student will be able to:

— Define what is ...?
— Match how is... related to...?
— Choose where is ... found?
— Tell why we chose to use...?
— Select the main...?

2. At the Comprehension Level: the learner demonstrates the ability to relate to facts and ideas by organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions and stating main ideas.

Level 2: Key Words include: Classify, compare, contrast, demonstrate, explain, extend, infer, interpret, illustrate, outline, relate, rephrase, show, summarize, translate

Use these Instant Objectives:

The student will be able to:

— Classify the type of ...
— Compare and contrast ... to?
— Explain the process to...
— Illustrate the best process to...

3. At the Application Level: the learner solves problems by applying knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a different way.

Level 3: Key Words include: Apply, build, choose, construct, develop, experiment with, identify, interview, make use of, model, organize, plan, select, solve, utilize

Use these Instant Objectives:

The student will be able to:

— Solve common business case scenarios using ...
— Identify what would result if ... happened
— Select the best ways to solve a problem
— Organize the ... into... for efficiency
— Utilize the process to ...

4. At the Analysis Level: the learner examines and breaks down information into parts by identifying motives or causes; making inferences and finding evidence to support generalizations.

Level 4: Key Words include: Analyze, assumption, categorize, classify, compare, conclusion, contrast, discover, distinguish, divide, examine, inspect, simplify, survey, take part in, test for

Use these Instant Objectives:

The student will be able to:

— Discover the process by examining the individual components of the ...
— Classify the .. into elements
— Conclude that ... will happen if the following steps occur
— Examine the relationship between ...
— Categorize the parts of the ...

5. At the Synthesis Level: the learner compiles information together in a different way by combining elements in a new pattern or other solution.

Level 5: Key Words include: Adapt, build, change, choose, combine, compile, compose, construct, create, design, develop, elaborate, estimate, formulate, imagine, improve, invent, make up, maximize, minimize, originate, plan, predict, propose, solve, solution, suppose, theorize, test,

Use these Instant Objectives:

The student will be able to:

— Discuss the changes needed to solve...
— Choose the most efficient way to....
— Invent a new technique to...
— Modify the plan to...
— Minimize the loss or risk by ...
— Combine the right techniques to ...
— Improve the efficiency by...
— Propose effective strategies to ....
— Adapt a new way to ....
— Design a new approach to resolving...

6. At the Synthesis Level: the learner presents and defends opinions by making judgments about information, validity of ideas or quality of work.

Level 6: Key Words include: Agree, appraise, assess, award, choose, conclude, criticize, decide, deduct, defend, determine, disprove, dispute, estimate, evaluate, explain, influence, interpret, judge, justify, measure, mark, rate, recommend, rule on, perceive, prioritize, prove, select, support, value

Use these Instant Objectives:

The student will be able to:

— Provide reasons to agree with the ...
— Offer opinions on the effectiveness of specific wording to customers.
— Estimate the amount of time it takes to...
— Recommend effective strategies or tactics to complete work more efficiently.
— Recommend three approaches to...
— Rate the effectiveness of ...
— Defend the actions of ...
— Evaluate representative / client conversations for ...
— Assess the value of ...

A closing note on writing objectives....

Don't use more than 3-5 objectives per unit of instruction. If there are more than that, consider breaking that unit into two parts. And .... even though we would like to think that we live in a perfect world and the learners need to achieve competence up to Level 6 - that's not reality. Be happy if you can get them to solidly achieve typical goals of Levels 1 - 4.

Good luck in writing objectives painlessly!

Design2Train, a SBA 8a certified company, was founded by Karen Miller in 2001.

Karen is an award-winning instructional designer with over 20+ years of training development experience. Her clients include motivated entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. Design2Train specializes in creating "training at the speed of business". Visit Karen's website:

TGI 3-Pack PowerPoint Board Games
This 3-Pack of popular board games will provide tons of fun and variety for your training sessions. Starting at just $99.99, get the following three great games:

Quiz Show Board Game with automatic scoring and lightning bolts
123 Board Game has 6 mini-games and multiple directions to move
Dare Board Game challenges participants to correctly answer questions or "Do the Dare!"


(Board games also sold separately)

Visit our Website at
Download the TGI Catalog

Brain Facts (Physical Education is Supported by Brain Research)
Below information drawn from an article by Eric Jensen entitled:
A Fresh Look at Brain-Based Education

Physical Education Is Supported by Brain Research

"While many schools are reducing physical activity because of time constraints created by the No Child Left Behind Act, a large group of studies has linked physical activity with cognition. The researchers have come at the topic from a wide range of disciplines. Some are cognitive scientists or exercise physiologists. Other advocates are educational psychologists, neurobiologists, or physical educators. The applied research, which compares academic achievement between schools where kids have physical activity and those where they don't, also supports the hypothesis.13 Like six blind men describing different parts of an elephant, they are all addressing the same issue but from different viewpoints. They are all correct in revealing how physical experience affects the brain. Each of their viewpoints is valid, yet incomplete by itself."

"Now let's add the neuroscience perspective. It reveals information that other disciplines cannot reveal. For example, we know that exercise is highly correlated with neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.14 We know exercise upregulates a critical compound called brain-derived neurotrophic factor.15 We also know that neurogenesis is correlated with improved learning and memory.16 In addition, neurogenesis appears to be inversely correlated with depression.17 While careless policy makers reduce physical activity, many administrators are unaware of the inverse correlations with adolescent depression. It's scary, but each year one in six teens makes plans for suicide, and roughly one in 12 teens attempts suicide.18 Yet there is considerable evidence that running can serve as an antidepressant.19 These data would suggest that educators might want to foster neurogenesis with physical education. But educators and policy makers can't see the new brain cells being produced. That's one reason to know the science, to show everyday, easy-to-influence school factors that regulate neurogenesis and, subsequently, cognition, memory, and mood. Those are the kinds of connections that should be made. They are not careless; there's little downside risk and much to gain."

ERIC P. JENSEN is a former middle school teacher and adjunct professor for the University of California, San Diego. He co-founded the Brain Store and the Learning Brain EXPO and has written 21 books on the brain and learning. His most recent book is Enriching the Brain (Jossey-Bass, 2006). He currently is a doctoral student in Media Psychology at Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, Calif. (c)2008, Eric P. Jensen.

TGI Affiliate Program
Have a website or blog?

Want to earn 43% commission for sales of Training Games products just by referring clients?

It's as easy as 1-2-3:

1. Join the TGI affiliate program via E-junkie
2. Create your affiliate links from your site to Training Games and insert into your web pages
3. Receive commission for any sales on the TGI site that were referred from your links

For more details, sample linking code and payment information, visit Training Games at

Or click here to go directly to E-junkie and register as an affiliate of TGI.

Visit TGI Affiliate - Games For Trainers

Training Games Inc.
Gary Trotta, CEO
4545 E Hedgehog Pl
Cave Creek, AZ 85331
[email protected]
The sole intention of this email is to introduce you to our company and our products. If you do not want to receive ANY future emails from TGI, please CLICK HERE to REMOVE your email address. We respect your privacy and believe in keeping the Web a wonderful place for all.

Over time some of the links within our newsletters may become disabled. If you have interest in a particular URL or download please contact us at [email protected]
© Copyright 2008. Training Games Inc.