(First published, November 2001)
Many trainers use this standard method: They ask a question and jot down key points from participants' responses on a flip chart. Then they make comments, correct misconceptions, and present additional information. This approach is definitely more interesting and effective than a straight lecture. But it does not encourage all participants to participate.
Here's a quick alternative:
- Ask an open-ended question and instruct each participant to write a brief response on an index card. Impose a suitable time limit.
- Organize participants into teams of approximately equal numbers. Collect the responses from each team and give them to another team.
- Ask team members to read the responses and select two of them: the “best” one and the one that is the most “different” from the others.
- After a suitable pause, ask each team to read the two selected responses. Comment on each response.