Playing Card and Board Games

Training sessions are an excellent venue for the use of playing card and board games to introduce key concepts, conduct interim and final reviews, and provide a break from lecture or other facilitator led learning events. A number of companies have created residual materials in the form of card and board games to be used in team competitions that are based on familiar television game shows (e.g., Concentration®, Family Feud®, Jeopardy®, and Wheel of Fortune®). These companies (see Resources for Trainers in the appendices) offer light tables, game boards, and other items to reduce the amount of production that you have to do in order to incorporate the games into your training. Of course, if you are handy with a hammer and nails, or have an engineering department in your organization, you can build your own props from scrap materials that are lying around. All it takes is time and some creativity on your part.

Games are wonderful ways to relax learners while giving them a chance to review and remember topic concepts. They also help in strengthening creative and mental pro cesses. Monopoly®, chess, checkers, pick up sticks, Chinese checkers, Throw 'n Go Jenga®, Scrabble®, bridge, or similar games can help develop and enhance skills, such as problem-solving, decision-making, strategic planning, and interpersonal communication.

You can use or modify many popular games to address virtually any topic. For example, if you supervise new employee orientation for your organization, you can create an end of the day review of material covered by creating a variation of Jeopardy® in which game board headings are key areas covered in your material (e.g., Employee Benefits, Policies and Procedures, Organizational History or structure, Products and Services, and so on). Divide participants into teams, rather than having individual contestants, and have them line up behind one of three different colored lights on a light table that you create or buy. As the game show host or hostess, you ask the questions and coordinate the game just as it is done on television. Once one category is selected and the answer either given or missed, the first three contestants move to the end of the line and the next three come up. You can add more fun and realism by dressing in a tuxedo or evening gown, rewarding participants with small gifts with the organizational logo on them, and using the actual Jeopardy® theme song (see Chapter 5 for information about using copyrighted music in training). Using a game format adds fun and reinforces what can sometimes be a boring day and topic.

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