Training in general and safety, health, and environmental (SHE) training in particular is often thought of as boring by the students. Furthermore, most trainers are constantly looking for ways to improve their training. Training is best when the trainees are actively engaged in the training. Consequently many trainers choose structured "training games" as a method or approach to facilitate trainee participation and to increase the perception of training as fun.
This paper (and the original conference presentation) is designed to provide trainers with a variety of "training games" for their use in their training courses. Each "training game" is listed and discussed including design hints, "how to play", usage suggestions, pros and cons, and both high and low-tech options are given (where applicable). So, without further ado - on to the games!
Jeopardy! is perhaps the most common training game used by trainers. Perhaps this is because it seems to be naturally well-suited to be adapted for training purposes. Think about it - there are categories with five "answers" in each, most (but not all) persons know the basic rules, it is easily adaptable, and it lends itself to quick, spirited play.
It works well as a review especially at the end of the course prior to a post-test. Take key points and divide them into categories (categories can be broad or encompass more than one area to make it easy to do). Develop an "answer" (e.g., "This is the most frequently used training game") and its respective question (e.g., "What is Jeopardy!?"). For high-tech versions, use Excel to make the "game board". Make large cells with the category names at the top and the "answers" below. Type each in and then highlight it in black - no one can read it. When it needs to be revealed, just block it and "de-highlight" it! Be sure to type and print out a summary sheet of answers and questions for the game "host". For a low tech version, use Post-It notes. Write the categories on them as well as the point amounts. Then write your answers and questions on the back side of each Post-It. There are also several commercially available Jeopardy! games that can be adapted.
Some general tips for ease of use and play are as follows (some of these apply to many training games):
Create "teams" of multiple players so as to get everyone involved.
Give them (or have them choose) creative team names.
Use kids' "squeaky" toys instead of "lock out" buzzers.
Call yourself "Alex Tyvek" for fun.
Decide ahead if they have to say "What is…?" or not.
Give everyone a prize (not just the "winners")