Wineberg, J. (2000), "Another 75 Ways to Liven up your Training", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 168-170. https://doi.org/10.1108/lodj.2000.21.3.168.1
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
As a trainer, I am always looking for new ways to invigorate my sessions and improve the learning experience for participants. It was with this in mind that I picked up this book and was disappointed when I found little new.
The subtitle of the book is “A Second Collection of Energizing Activities”; however, energizing activities do not necessarily liven up training. The problem is that, whilst this is a good collection of ice breakers, individual and group games, there is no indication of how to integrate them into the training being undertaken itself. Furthermore, there is an underlying assumption that the training being undertaken is about teamwork rather than anything else. As Orridge says, “Much of my time as a consultant is spent helping individual team members work more effectively together and the organization’s teams to work in harmony towards common goals.”
But what about when a training session is on how to use a new computer package, piece of equipment or machinery? How does one liven up a training session on health and safety issues or skills training such as selling, purchasing or marketing? I was disappointed when I could not find this and felt that I was left with a collection of games most of which I already knew and that anyone could find in any decent youth club.
What Orridge has done well is to package a selection of games and market them to inexperienced trainers. I can imagine those who have not had experience of game playing being thrilled with “Questions, Questions!” (where a conversation between members must be held entirely through asking questions) or “Mini Assault Course” (where a team negotiates itself through a string assault course) if required to take a staff team on a team building day. But experienced trainers will have access to game playing books and, more importantly, know how to select and adapt those best suited to integrating into the delivery of their training content.
On the plus side, Orridge’s book is laid out in an easy to understand fashion. He presents each activity in a standard sequence of seven elements: description; purpose; materials; duration; procedure; review; and variations. Descriptions such as that for Back‐to Back Racing, “Pairs stand back to back with their arms linked and race” are clear and concise with the procedure further clarifying what should happen in sequence. The variations are useful and start to indicate a thought process of how to make an exercise fit different training content but stop too short. He also gives useful tips such as “… this exercise is best done in a large room” and “… best used for events of two days or longer and with a group of ten people or less”.
The one annoying element of the presentation was the forced nature of the “purpose” and “review” elements. The phrases “creative energizer”, “energizing session”, “energizing activity”,“energizing team exercise” and many others became irritating, especially as I already had been told that this was a book of energizing activities. Virtually all the exercises have one or more of four purposes, team building, problem solving, creativity and energizing; this is exemplified by the purpose for “Hole in One” – “this is a team building and problem solving exercise requiring cooperation (sic) and creativity.”
Unsurprisingly, such limited descriptions of purpose lead to even more limited descriptions of review such as, “discuss the pressure felt by individuals as the exercise continued”. This demonstrates the limitations of the book which is useful only to inexperienced trainers who, for some reason, cannot find another, better value games book.