One of the key elements in retaining information, in transferring it into the short term memory, is repetition.

No, it doesn’t sound very exciting or cutting – edge but there it is. Simple repetition is critical to remembering something.

That means that you need to find ways of repeating the same things when you’re training. But it needn’t be boring. It doesn’t mean you have to just keep saying the same thing over and over again.

One of the ways you can do it is to build in various activities which allow people to review what they’ve learned. The key is to get the learners involved themselves so they’re processing the information, which is also important in remembering it, rather than just listening to you.

One of the main ways of doing this is with some sort of quiz, where you ask people questions or they ask each other. But that’s not the only approach. Here are 8 ideas for review activities which you can use. Feel free to use them as your own, I’ve borrowed them from other people myself!

1. Snowball fight.

Get people to write questions about the material on pieces of paper. Then they screw the papers up into balls and throw them at each other ( gently ) like a snowball fight. When they’ve finished, each person picks up the ball nearest to him or her and reads out the question, then has to answer it correctly.

2. Picture quiz.

A favourite of mine is the picture quiz or Pictionary. This is where you draw a picture representing an idea you’ve talked about, perhaps even using a visual you’ve already used. Then people have to say what the idea was and tell you all about it.

Rather than just drawing your own, you can put people in teams and get them to make up a picture quiz for each other. Or you can get each person in a team to stand up and draw something for his or her team to guess.

3. Newspaper article.

Put people into small groups and either give each one a topic or give them all the same topic. Ask them to write a short newspaper article about it with a headline. You can give them different papers to copy, e.g. The Sun and The Times, to see what different styles they can come up with.

4. Advertisement.

Get teams to produce a poster or a written advertisement based on your topic. For example, if you’ve been talking about management, get them to write an advertisement for a manager, setting out the qualities needed.

5. Alphabet.

Give groups the letters of the alphabet ( or, if you want to make it quicker, give groups a section of the alphabet, e.g. A – F ) and ask them to think of a word for each letter of the alphabet which relates to what you’ve been discussing. The team with X and Z might struggle but people usually think of something!

6. Visual aids.

A very simple method, give groups topics and ask them to produce 1 powerful visual aid to summarise the topic, which people could use to remind them of the essential ideas. You could ask them to produce these on pieces of A4 paper, which you could photocopy so everyone could take one back to their workplace with them.

7. Sketches or scenes.

Ask small groups to prepare short sketches or scenes to illustrate key points from the training, e.g. good and bad examples of behaviour, client meetings, ways of using machinery or some process.

If you have the time and the resources, you could record these on a DVD to keep as reminders ( put them on YouTube? ).

8. A poem or song.

Ask people to make up a poem or a song about the topic. If you have time, you could even ask them to work out an accompaniment using objects to make music ( e.g. percussion on the waste paper bin ) and add a dance routine.

All these things will add variety and enjoyment to your training and, at the same time, will increase the chances of your learners retaining what they’ve learned. Using variety will also help you to make sure people with different learning styles can access the material.

Do get the group involved as much as possible because this will make all the difference in the impact of the learning. Also, you’ll be amazed at people’s creativity. Whenever I ask groups to come up with ideas for visuals, songs, sketches, etc. I’m always surprised at the things they come up with and they’re often far more creative and interesting than anything I would have thought up myself.

Source by Alan Matthews