Tip #46: Quick Kinesthetic Experiential Training Methods: Relay Race

The kinesthetic learner is often the most difficult to satisfy in classroom training. However, there are some creative ways to add movement to classroom content review activities. These kinesthetic activities provide whole body learning, which increases retention. Today, we will discuss the Relay Race, which I first saw used by Elaine Biech, who is well known for her creativity as a trainer. Elaine is the editor of the prestigious Pfeiffer Annuals and the author of such books as: TQM for Training, Marketing Your Consulting Services, The Business of Consulting, and the soon-to-be published Training for Dummies. You can learn more about Elaine Biech at her website: http://www.ebbweb.com.

What: A Relay Race is a timed competitive team activity.

When: It can be used at any time you would like to review what learners have learned.

Why: It is intended to provide some competitive and physical team activity, specifically to meet the needs of kinesthetic learners.

How: The trainer asks the participants to list three things they have learned about a specific topic. While they are doing this, the trainer sets 2-3 flip charts in corners of the room. Use masking tape to create a starting mark on the floor about 12 feet from the flipchart. Then put groups together to form 2 or 3 teams of 8-12 people.

You will need one prepared flipchart for each team.. On the flipchart, you can write the name of someone important to the content vertically on the left side of the flipchart, so that there is only one letter of the name on each line.

For example, Malcolm Knowles for adult learning, or perhaps the name of the CEO of your company for the mission of the organization. The teams will be racing to write down something that they have learned that starts with each of the letters in the name on the flip chart. So it is important that the name is long enough to give the participants sufficient challenge.

You may also want to incorporate seasonal fun and use Frosty The Snowman, or Summer Vacation, or something similar.

In the alternative, if you are teaching technical terms or product features, the flip chart could have several rows of categories for the participants to fill in.

The point of the relay race is to incorporate fun into a timed content review.

Once the teams are formed, assign each team to a flipchart and explain the rules. Note that you can establish any rules and point penalties that you like.
For example:

• Everyone must remain behind the starting line until it is their turn. If caught, it will cost the team 1 point.
• Only one marker may be used by each team. Using more than one marker will result in the loss of 1 point.
• Everyone on the team must have one turn to write on the flipchart before someone writes a second time. Not following this rule will cost the team 2 points.
• Each team has 7 minutes to write one thing someone on the team has learned about the specific content that starts with the letters of the name listed on the flipchart.
• Teams receive 1 point for each correct item, with only 1 point possible for each letter in the name.

Count down to start the race, then shout or use a bell or buzzer to end the game after 7 minutes, allowing the person who is writing time to finish.
Add up the points, one for each item learned, deducting any penalties. Provide a prize to the winning team. To be gracious, provide a prize to everyone.

As with any game, it is important to tie the information generated during the game back to the participant’s formal awareness. Have them write down how they will apply what they have learned and discuss their answers.

Benefits: There are a number of benefits to the use of a Relay Race:

• It can build physical activity into content review.
• It can increase participant physical energy.
• It can link what they are learning to what they already know.
• It can add a competitive feature to content review.
• It can give kinesthetic learners an opportunity to move their bodies in order to learn.
• It can test the participants’ ability to literally think on their feet.
• It can make learning review fun.

Level of Learning: Comprehension.

Learning Styles: Kinesthetic, as well as aural, visual, print, and interactive.

Next week, we will discuss another kinesthetic experiential training method useful for checking either knowledge or comprehension: a gallery walk.


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