Tip #858: Kinesthetic Activities for Virtual Training Programs- Part Two

“Movement can be an effective cognitive strategy to (1) strengthen learning, (2) improve memory and retrieval, and (3) enhance learner motivation and morale” Eric Jensen

There are kinesthetic activities that can be used to get participants up and out of their seats during virtual presentations. Six that immediately come to mind include:  (1) common ground questions, (2) content pivot points, (3) focus questions over breaks, (4) peg systems, (5) scavenger hunts, and (6) standing ovations. The first three activities were discussed in Tip #857. In this Tip we’ll consider the remaining three kinesthetic activities.

Peg Systems. To create a peg system, number each step in a process or procedure, then assign an action that represents each step. Have the participants stand up and model the action that goes with each step in the process. Repeat the activity until the participants can show you the activity for any step, even if that step is out of place. The peg system is intended to help retention and recall by providing for whole body learning.

For example, here is a Peg System for the Six LESSON Design Steps

Number Design Step  



1 Identify Needs Cup one hand and pretend to pour something into that hand to fill it up


2 Determine Goals Point ahead with both pointer fingers and move forward two steps [for the two goals]


3 Create Objectives Pretend to shoot an arrow using a bow


4 Set the Agenda Count each finger by pointing to it and touching it, saying the number out loud


5 Plan the Activities Use fingers to make binoculars and look through them, then cup a hand behind one of your ears, and finally turn around while jumping up and down [to represent three key learning preferences]


6 Evaluate the Learning Put one arm behind your back, pretend to hold a large microscope and search the ground for clues (like Sherlock Holmes)



The peg system requires that the participants stand and move, which creates whole body learning.

You can provide the peg system, or you can send the groups into breakout rooms to create their own. Then they can come back and teach their peg systems to the entire group.

Scavenger Hunts.  The idea behind this activity is to have the participants stand and go search for something. Explain that this will send more oxygen to their brains to energize them, so it’s important for them to get up and move.

As an ice breaker, ask them to find an object that they feel represents them (and that is not on their desk or within easy reach of their seat). Once they find it, they can sit back down and explain its significance either in chat or verbally in a show and tell.

You can instruct them to get up and walk to a window on the other side of their room so they can report what they see.

You can have them get up and lay out on a flat surface reference pages that they printed out – then ask them to collate them in their proper order- or find and highlight key points on each page. Then they can sit down and discuss their results in a breakout room, through annotation or via chat.

Yes, they could perform these activities seated the entire time, but they can also perform them standing- and that’s the point.

Standing Ovation.  When an individual or a group reports out or makes a point in chat that is very insightful or delightful, have the participants stand up and clap.

I’m sure there are other ways to get participants up and moving. Please let me know if you use some other kinesthetic activity.

May your learning be sweet- and safe.



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