Most participants come to your training session with previously held notions and beliefs about the topic. As a facilitator, your task is to build upon this baseline by confirming the correct ideas and removing the incorrect ones. In this interactive lecture format, you diagnose the participants’ entry-level knowledge through a series of true or false items, determine the distribution of misconceptions, provide just-enough remedial instruction, and help the participants critically discuss the new information.
The facilitator presents a list of statements, one at a time. The participants stand up if they think the statement is true (or valid). The facilitator presents evidence and arguments for or against the statement.
To accept, reject, or modify opinions, prescriptions, statements, or information based on the evidence that supports them.
Maximum: Any number
Best: 15 to 30
30 minutes to 1 hour
Supplies and Equipment
- Paper and pencil
- A set of slides, each presenting a different prescription
- LCD projector
Prepare a list of statements. Collect as much information about the training topic as possible. Come up with a list of facts, opinions, and prescriptions. Prepare a list of statements that are based on factual information, research evidence, and conventional wisdom. Include commonly held prejudices and misconceptions. Convert the list into approximately equal numbers of true and false statements.
Prepare a set of slides. Print each statement on a separate slide. Use a font size that can be easily read when the slide is projected on to a screen.
Display the first statement. Project a slide and read it out aloud. Ask the participants to reflect on the prescription.
Conduct a poll. Ask the participants to decide whether the statement is based on true evidence or not. Instruct the participants to stand up if they think the statement is a true or valid one.
Ask for justification. Randomly select a couple of people who are standing up to explain why they think that the statement is true. After listening to them, ask a couple of participants who are not standing up to explain why they feel that the statement is false.
Present relevant information. Announce whether you think that the statement is true or false. Present research evidence and logical arguments in favor of the statement or against it. Encourage the participants to ask questions and provide brief answers.
Discuss the statement. Ask the participants whether the statement should be accepted, rejected, or modified. Encourage the participants to identify the conditions under which the statement is likely to produce desirable results.
Repeat the process. Work through the list of statements, one item at a time. Conduct the poll, present evidence and arguments, and facilitate a discussion of each statement.
Conclude the activity. After processing all the statements, thank the participants for their thoughtful discussions. Encourage the participants to select one or two statements forimmediate use.
Variations and Adjustment
Not enough time? Arrange the statements in order of importance. Use the interactive approach to cover the few items from the top of the list. Briefly present relevant information about the other items.
In a training session on how to start a small business, this was the first statement that we presented to the participants:
If you build it, they will come.
About half of the participants stood up to indicate that they thought this was a true and valid statement. We presented field research data to challenge this opinion. Our presentations suggested that manufacturing a high-quality product does not automatically guarantee heavy demand. The demand for a product also depends on marketing and distribution.
Here are the other statements related to the same training topic:
- Follow your passion. Money will follow you.
- In business, nice guys finish last.
- Keep your business ideas and plans carefully hidden from the others.
- Load your product with features. Give lots of choices to the customer.
- People buy the lowest-priced item.
- Speed up your business by hiring more people.
- The customer is always right.
We worked through these statements by asking the participants to decide whether each one is true or false, listen to our presentation of relevant information, and evaluate the statement through a thoughtful discussion.
The following table displays the structure of the True or False interactive lecture:
|Step||If you are the facilitator, do this||If you area participant, do this|
|Display the first statement.||Project a slide with the statement and read it out aloud.||Reflect on the statement.|
|Conduct a poll.||Ask the participants to stand up if the statement is true.||Stand up if you think the statement is true. Otherwise, remain seated.|
|Ask for justification.||Invite a few participants to explain why they think the statement is true or false.||Explain the reasons behind your choice.|
|Present relevant information.||Explain the research evidence and logical arguments for or against the statement.||Listen to the explanation and ask questions.|
|Discuss the statement.||Ask the participants whether the statement should be accepted, rejected, or modified.||Participate in the discussion.|
|Repeat the process.||Work through the other statements.||Participate in the activity.|
|Conclude the activity.||Thank the participants.||Select a statement for immediate use.|
Reuse the Template
You can use the game plan for True or False Lecture for designing other interactive lectures.
This interactive lecture format is particularly useful when —
- The participants are likely to have mistaken ideas related to the training topic.
- The participants are capable of thinking critically and challenging popular opinions.
- The facilitator has expertise and experience to provide research evidence and logical arguments.
Here are some training topics that we recently incorporated in this interactivelecture format. (The first statement is false. The other statement is true.):
|Gun control||Arming law-abiding citizens with guns will reduce gun violence. - Countries with tighter gun controls have fewer homicides.|
|Autism||Vaccines cause autism. - Not all people with autism have special “savant skills”.|
|Global warming||Scientists disagree whether humans are causing the Earth’s climate to change. - The hole in the ozone layer does not cause global warming.|
|Terrorism||Terrorists usually enter the United States from Mexico. - Terrorists are not like ordinary criminals.|
|Coaching||Executive coaching should be kept a secret from others. - The majority of executives who are coached are men.|
|Motivation||Money is an all-purpose motivator. - You cannot force employees to feel motivated.|