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Textra Games
Summaries of 30 Formats

1. Abstracts

Basic idea. For three rounds, different teams read and analyze a research report and prepare an abstract. During the fourth round, each team comparatively evaluates three different abstracts of the same research report.

Reading materials. Research reports, experimental studies, or scholarly articles.

Sample reading assignment. Individual differences in study processes and quality of learning outcomes (and four other similar research reports).

Learning outcome. Critically read research reports, prepare abstracts, and evaluate different abstracts.

Flow. Assign different research reports for self-study by participants. Organize participants into teams and ask each team to prepare a 100-word abstract of one of the research reports by identifying key variables, results, and limitations of the study. Teams put their abstract inside an envelope, attach it to the research report, and give the report and the envelope to the next team. Each team now writes an abstract for a different report, places the abstract inside the envelope, and gives it to the next team. After repeating the procedure one more time, each team receives a new research report, opens the envelope, and comparatively evaluates the three abstracts.

2. Best Summary

Basic idea. Each participant prepares a summary of the main points from an article. Teams of participants evaluate summaries of another team and select the best summary.

Reading materials. Articles, new items, essays, research reports, or short chapters.

Sample reading assignment. Four types of happiness.

Learning outcome. Identify key points and summarize them.

Flow. Ask participants to read the article before coming to the training session. Ask participants to write a summary of the key ideas presented in the article. Organize participants into equal-sized teams. Distribute summaries from each team to the next one. Ask team members to collaboratively identify the best summary among those given to them. Ask the team representatives to read the selected summaries. Finally, ask all participants to vote for the best among the best summaries.

3. Bingo

Basic idea. Participants mark a numbered space on their Bingo cards after providing correct answers to review questions related to a reading assignment. Whenever a participant marks five spaces in a straight line, she gets to mark a bonus space. First participant to mark all 25 numbered spaces wins the game.

Reading materials. Article, reprints, pamphlets, brochures, instruction sheets, or job aids.

Sample reading assignment. Features and benefits of our newest medication.

Learning outcome. Recall factual and conceptual information.

Flow. Ask participants to read the pamphlet before coming to the session. Give a Bingo card to each participant with the numbers 1 to 25 arranged in a different random orders. Ask a question related to the content of the reading assignment. Pause while participants write the answer. Announce the correct answer. Select a random number from 1-25. Ask participants with the correct answer to mark the space with that number. Repeat the process with a other questions. Whenever a participant has marked five spaces in a straight line, ask her to mark a bonus space. Continue the activity until someone has marked all 25 spaces in her Bingo card.

4. Cross Questions

Basic idea. Participants study a two-page flyer. Each participant looks at a different page and takes turn asking questions about the content in that page.

Reading materials. Two-page flyers, brochures, fact sheets, job aids, or product brochures.

Sample reading assignment. How to recognize the agents of bioterrorism (one page dealing with plague and brucellosis and the second page dealing with anthrax and tularemia).

Learning outcome. Fluently recall key items of information.

Flow. Ask participants to study both sides of the brochure. Pair up participants and ask them to sit facing each other. Participants hold the brochure vertically in the middle so that each participant sees a different side. Ask participants to take turns to ask a question based on the content on their side. If the other person gives the correct answer, she earns a point. After a suitable time, participants rotate the brochure so they see the other side. They continue taking turns to ask questions as before. When the game ends, the participant with the highest score is identified as the winner.

5. Crossword Puzzle

Basic idea. Participants begin by creating crossword puzzle clues for key terms from the reading assignment. Later, participants pair up and solve a crossword puzzle that tests the understanding of the reading assignment.

Reading materials. Articles, chapters, books, technical reports, manuals, spec sheets, theoretical papers, or research reports.

Sample reading assignment. A multicomponent conceptualization of authenticity: A theoretical model

Learning outcome. Recall key terms, facts, and ideas.

Flow. Ask participants to pair up and prepare a list of key terms and concepts from the assigned chapter. Ask each pair to select five of these terms and create crossword puzzle clues for them. Take the word lists and clues from pairs and give them a crossword puzzle that tests the understanding of the contents of the chapter. Pause for a suitable period of time. After a suitable pause, give the solution to participant pairs and have them score their responses. Identify (and congratulate) the winning pair that has solved the most number of items.

6. Missing

Basic idea. Teams of participants review six statements that summarize the key points from an assigned reading. They add a seventh statement to make the summary more comprehensive.

Reading materials. Articles, chapters, essays, brochures, product information, or research reports.

Sample reading assignment. Article from a business magazine: The Changing Nature of E-Commerce.

Learning outcome. Identifying and understanding key points and summarizing them.

Flow. Write seven statements summarizing the key points from the reading assignment. Arrange these statements in a random order. Prepare different versions of the summary page by leaving out one of the seven statements. Organize participants into teams and give each team a summary page. Ask the team to review the summary statements and add one more statement to provide more comprehensive coverage. Discuss the original and additional summary statements.

7. Open Book

Basic idea. Participants review a manual and prepare question cards. Teams of participants compete in an open-book quiz contest.

Reading materials. Manuals, anthologies, handbooks, encyclopedias, or reference collections.

Sample reading assignment. State of Ohio Commercial Tax Code

Learning outcome. To rapidly and efficiently use a reference manual by becoming familiar with the structure and scope.

Flow. Distribute copies of the manual. Ask participants to scan the manual and figure out its structure. Distribute blank index cards and ask participants to write individual questions on one side and a page reference on the other side. Organize participants into teams and ask each team to select five questions from their cards, ensuring comprehensive coverage of different sections of the manual. Conduct a quiz contest using these questions, permitting participants to refer to the manual.

8. Time Travel

Basic idea. Visualizing the successful application of key principles from an article to a personal project. Sharing a story about the future results of this application to a partner.

Reading materials. Articles, reprints, brochures, instruction sheets, or job aids.

Sample reading assignment. Turning Strategic Plans Into Performance Outcomes.

Learning outcome. Personalize and visualize applications of the key principles from an article.

Flow. Preview the handout by skimming through it. Personalize by reading the article with a focus on applying the principles to a personal real-world project. Project into the future by visualizing the results of the principles that you applied. Create a short story that incorporates the future projection. Tell this story to a partner. Listen to your partner's story. Repeat the procedure with new partners.

9. Fast Grab

Basic idea. Using questions generated by participants in a quiz contest.

Reading materials. Articles, reprints, brochures, booklets, or handouts.

Sample reading assignment. Marketing Your Consulting Services.

Learning outcome. Understanding and recall.

Flow. Ask participants to read an article. Organize participants into teams and ask members of each team to prepare a set of questions (and answers) based on the content of the article. At each table, ask participants to count off 1, 2, 3, and so on. Assemble participants with the same number and assign them to different "contest" tables. Place a grabbit (an object suitable for easy grabbing) in the middle of the table. Explain that the first contestant to grab this object can answer the question. Read the first question, let the successful grabber at each contest table answer the question, pause for a suitable length of time, and read the correct answer. Award a point for contestants who provided the correct answer. Repeat with additional questions.

10. Application Debrief

Basic idea. Debriefing participants after they have read and applied the ideas from a practical article.

Reading materials. Practical articles, advice columns, guidelines, pithy statements, or tips.

Sample reading assignment. How To Improve Your Email Notes.

Learning outcome. Application, evaluation, and improvement of practical ideas.

Flow. Ask participants to read a practical article and faithfully apply the ideas for a week. Require participants to keep a daily journal with details of application context, problems, changes, and results. After a week, assemble all participants and organize them into teams. Conduct a debriefing discussion by asking provocative questions and encouraging participants to share their insights and improved application ideas.

11. Question Cards

Basic idea. Participants review the reading assignment and prepare question cards on the content. Facilitator collects the question cards, mixes them up, and conducts a quiz contest.

Reading materials. Articles, chapters, brochures, or product information.

Sample reading assignment. Chapter from a self-help book, How To Be Assertive.

Learning outcome. Recalling key concepts and terms.

Flow. Distribute blank index cards to participants and ask them to prepare as many question cards as possible (with questions on one side and answers on the other. Collect all question cards, shuffle them, and read the questions, one at a time. After each question, the first person to stand up gets to give the answer and (if correct) earn a point. Continue the procedure to ensure appropriate content coverage.

12. Open Questions

Basic idea. Participants at each table write independent answers to a different questions. Later, they exchange the answers among tables, compare them, and identify best answers.

Reading materials. Books, booklets, manuals, editorials, or lengthy articles.

Sample reading assignment. Leadership: Theory and Practice by Peter G. Northouse

Learning outcome. Challenging, critiquing, analyzing, generalizing, or applying the content.

Flow. Prepare as many different open-ended questions as there are tables of participants. Place a question in the middle of each table and ask participants at the table to independently write the answer and place and place an identification umber under the answer. Collect the answers (and the question) from each table and give it to the participants at the next table. Ask participants to work jointly to compare the answers and select the best answer. Ask the representative at each table to read the question and the best answer.

13. 2-Minute Drill

Basic idea. Small group of participants receive question cards from the judge and yell out the answers. If correct, the participant keeps the card and if incorrect, she returns the card. This fast-paced game ends in 2 minutes.

Reading materials. Articles, chapters, brochures, booklets, or fact sheets.

Sample reading assignment. Product information about five different color printers along with a comparison table.

Learning outcome. Recalling factual information and terminology.

Flow. Prepare 20 to 100 question cards and a separate answer sheet that lists each number and the correct answer. Appoint a judge at each table and give her the cards and the answer sheet. Ask the judge to distribute three question cards to each participant at the table. When you blow the whistle, ask participants to yell out a question number and the answer. Ask the judge to repeat the question number and say "correct" or "incorrect". Participants place correct cards in front of them and return incorrect cards to the judge. In both cases, they receive a replacement card from the judge. Game stops when you blow the whistle at the end of 2 minutes. The player who gave the most correct answers wins.

14. Confused

Basic idea. Participants write questions about confusing, difficult, or apparently inconsistent .points in their reading assignment. A subject-matter expert provides answers to these questions.

Reading materials. Theoretical papers, research reports, white papers, proposals, essays, or translated materials.

Sample reading assignment. A translated book on basic tenets of the Sufi religion.

Learning outcome. Deeper understanding of the content.

Flow. Ask participants to independently write questions about difficult, confusing, or inconsistent information in their reading assignment. Organize participants into teams and ask them to combine their questions and remove those that can be answered by a member of the team. Collect the remaining questions and respond to them (or ask the author or a subject-matter expert to respond to them). Finally, ask each participant to write down a summary statement of one of the important answers.

15. Artistic Translation

Basic idea. Participants independently draw a picture that captures one of the important concepts from the reading assignment. Teams of participants study different pictures and interpret them.

Reading materials. Essays, articles, books, or interviews.

Sample reading assignment. A technical paper on microchip architecture.

Learning outcome. Clarifying, explaining, personalizing, interpreting, or presenting.

Flow. Ask participants to draw a picture that portrays one of the key concepts from the reading assignment. Organize participants into teams. At each team, ask participants to take turns holding up their picture while others announce individual interpretations. Finally, ask the artist explain what her picture is supposed to convey.

16. Chapters

Basic idea. Each participant reads a different chapter from a book and identifies the key points. During the session, participants work in pairs -- and in teams -- to share the summaries of all chapters.

Reading materials. Books with several different chapters, collection of case studies, anthologies, conference proceedings, or research reports.

Sample reading assignment. A book on business decisionmaking with 12 different chapters.

Learning outcome. Identifying key points, recalling details, summarizing, presenting, and rephrasing.

Flow. Assign different chapters of the same book to different participants. Ask each participant to carefully study the chapter and note down the key points. During the session, ask each participant to pair up with someone else who has read a different chapter. Ask participants to exchange the key points from their chapters and encourage them to listen carefully to details of the other person's chapter. Repeat this process to ensure that participants exchange key points from different chapters. Organize participants into teams and ask members of each team to share the key points of all chapters.

17. Interactive Story

Basic idea. Participants read a short story. Later, they work in teams to rewrite the story or add additional events.

Reading materials. Short stories or novels

Sample reading assignment. A Mexican short story about a wedding celebration, narrated from the point of view of a 7-year-old girl.

Learning outcome. Understanding, generalizing, and empathizing

Flow. Ask each participant to read the short story. During the session, organize participants into teams. Assign different characters to different teams. Ask each team to rewrite the story from the point of view of a different character. Later, ask a representative from each team to share their modified version with the entire group.

18. Recall Roulette

Basic idea. Participants work in teams to prepare question cards and chance cards. They exchange the cards and play a question-and-answer game.

Reading materials. Articles, job aids, reprints, technical papers, product specifications, or case studies

Sample reading assignment. An article on blogging as a marketing tool.

Learning outcome. Increased understanding and recall of information

Flow. Distribute copies of the handout to participants and ask them to study independently. Assemble participants into teams and ask each team to come up with 20 question cards (with questions on one side and correct answers on the back). Ask each team to add five chance cards (that award extra turns or take away turns). Take the packet of cards from each team, shuffle the cards, and give them to the next team. Ask team members to take turns to read the question on the top card, give the answer, confirm the answer, and earn points for correct answers.

19. Third Degree

Basic idea. Several participants hurl a rapid series of questions at a selected participant. This person quickly responds to the questions. The procedure is repeated with other participants.

Reading materials. Handouts, articles, reports, and product specifications.

Sample reading assignment. Technical specifications of a software program.

Learning outcome. Greater understanding and recall of details

Flow. Ask teams to review the content, preparing and answering sample questions. Ask a member of Team 1 ("victim") to come to the front without the reading material. Ask representatives of other teams to come to the front with the reading material. Ask these representatives to make up questions using their reading material and keep firing the questions at the victim. Continue this for 2 minutes. Repeat the procedure with victims from other teams. Rank the victims and announce the results.

20. Words And Pictures

Basic idea. Teams of participants prepare one-page posters that summarize the key points from the reading material. Half of the teams use pictures only and the other half words only. Later, each team makes a presentation using the poster from a different team.

Reading materials. Books, manuals, articles, or research reports.

Sample reading assignment. A book on getting things done in the workplace.

Learning outcome. Identifying key points, summarizing, and presenting.

Flow. Ask participants to read the material and identify the key points. Divide participants into teams and ask them to prepare posters that summarize the key points. All posters are limited to one page of flip chart paper. Half of the teams design their posters using only words (without any pictures) and the other half uses only pictures (without any words). Later, each team makes a presentation using another team's poster.

21. Competitive Coaching

Basic idea. Participants independently review different chapters. Later, they coach each other on the key elements of the chapter they read. Eventually, pairs of participants who have been coached on the same chapter compete against each other by responding to an open question.

Reading materials. Books with different chapters, collection of articles, anthologies, policy manuals, or product descriptions.

Sample reading assignment. Corporate policy manual (with different chapters on recruitment, leave, payroll, harassment, and other such topics).

Learning outcome. In response to authentic questions, rapidly retrieve relevant information and clearly present it.

Flow. Assign different chapters to participants, but make sure that the each chapter is assigned to two different participants. Ask participants to study the assigned chapters, getting ready to coach someone else on the key points and the organization of the chapter. After a suitable pause, pair up participants who reviewed different chapters. Ask participants to coach each other on the chapter they reviewed. After the coaching episode, ask different (but equivalent) questions of the two participants who were coached on the same chapter. Distribute 100 points between these two participants. Repeat the same procedure with the other chapters.

22. Drama

Basic idea. Participants review a list of guidelines related to an interpersonal skill. Different teams create and stage dramatic segments incorporating key principles and procedures associated with the interpersonal skill. One team does not produce a play but evaluates other teams' plays.

Reading materials. Articles, checklists, or other job aids related to interpersonal skills.

Sample reading assignment. List of guidelines for mediating a conflict between two people.

Learning outcome. Mastery of an interpersonal skill and improved fluency.

Flow. Review the key points from the document. Divide participants into teams and explain the play production procedure. Pause while teams prepare their dramatic segments. Ask teams to stage their dramas. After all teams have done this, ask the judging team to comparatively evaluate them. Identify and congratulate the winning team and comment on the portrayal of key concepts.

23. Essence

Basic idea. Teams write several summaries of an article, repeatedly reducing its length.

Reading materials. Article, handout, product description, research report, brochure, essay, or interview.

Sample reading assignment. A case study describing the implementation an innovative system.

Learning outcome. Identifying key points and summarizing.

Flow. Ask participants to read the material and take notes. Take away the reading material and ask teams to prepare a 32-word summary of the key points from the reading assignment. Listen to the summaries from different teams and select the best one. Now ask teams to rewrite the summary in exactly 16 words, retaining the key ideas and borrowing thoughts and words from other teams' summaries. Repeat the process, asking teams to successively reduce the length of the summary to eight and four words.

24. Rip Off

Basic idea. Participants review different pages from a foreign newsmagazine. They write sets of generalizations, compare them, and identify key generalizations.

Reading materials. Each participants receives three or four random pages from a foreign newsmagazine or newspaper.

Sample reading assignment. Pages from back issues of the newsmagazine, India Today.

Learning outcome. Generalization and identification of key patterns.

Flow. Obtain copies of English-language newsmagazines (or newspapers) from a selected foreign country. Separate them into individual pages and distribute two or three pages to each participant. Ask participants to review the pages and write down salient cultural characteristics reflected in the news items, articles, and advertisements. Participants should write these characteristics on index cards, one item per card. After a suitable pause, collect the cards from all participants. Organize the participants into teams and give each team equal-sized piles of cards. Now ask the teams to organize the cards into suitable clusters and identify the most salient cultural characteristics of the country. Compare the lists of characteristics generated by different teams.

25. Team Quiz

Basic idea. Participants read and review a selected articles. Teams of participants come up with questions related to the content of the reading assignment. Facilitator conducts a quiz contest using participant-generated questions.

Reading materials. Articles, chapters, product descriptions, research reports, case studies, or interviews.

Sample reading assignment. An article on new learning technologies.

Learning outcome. Recall of details and key points.

Flow. Distribute copies of the same reading assignment to all participants. Warn participants that the reading material will be taken from them after the study period. Encourage participants to take notes on the content. After the study period, organize participants into teams of three to seven members. Ask each team to come up with three or four closed questions and one or two open questions. After 3 minutes, ask a team to read a closed question and choose an individual from any other team to come up with the answer. Later, choose another team to read an open question and ask two teams to give independent responses.

26. Cross Examination

Basic idea. After completing z two-page reading assignment, participants pair up. In each pair, participants take turns quizzing each other on the contents of one of the two pages.

Reading materials. Any two-page document in which the content is equally distributed between the two points.

Sample reading assignment. A set of frequently-asked questions about workplace violence.

Learning outcome. Recall of factual information.

Flow. Distribute the handout to all participants and ask them to study both pages carefully. At the end of the assigned time, ask each participant to find a partner. Assign the first page to one partner and the second page to the he other. Instruct partners to take turns asking questions about the content on the page assigned to them and to give feedback to the other partner. After 5 minutes, ask the partners to switch the assigned pages and continue the activity.

27. Team Bingo

Basic idea. After completing a reading assignment, participants are organized into team. Each team is given a Bingo card. Facilitator asks short-answer questions. Teams that gave the correct answer mark a square that corresponds to a number announced by the facilitator.

Reading materials. Articles, brochures, handouts, booklets, or summaries.

Sample reading assignment. Information about a new pharmaceutical product.

Learning outcome. Ability to quickly and accurately recall factual information.

Flow. Ask participants to read the material. Organize participants into team and give each team a poster-sized Bingo card. Each card has the numbers 1 through 25 arranged in a different random order. Ask a question and ask each teams to write the answer. Read the correct answer. Announce a random number between 1 and 25. Ask teams with correct answers to mark the square with that number. Repeat the process.

28. Thirty-Five

Basic idea. Participants complete their reading assignment and summarize an important point on an index card. They repeatedly exchange the cards, pair up with each other, and award score points to the different summaries.

Reading materials. Chapters, books, articles, evaluation reports, or proposals.

Sample reading assignment. A short book on critical thinking.

Learning outcome. Ability to identify, summarize, and evaluate the key points.

Flow. After completing the reading assignment, ask each participant to write a brief summary of the most important point on an index card. Ask participants to repeatedly exchange the cards with each other (without reading the summary). Ask participants to pair up with any other nearby participant, review the two summaries, and distribute seven points between them to reflect their relative value. After a suitable pause, ask participants to repeat the process of moving around, exchange cards, find a new partner, compare the two summaries and distribute seven points. After five rounds of this activity, ask participants to add the five score points and write the total. Count down from 35 to identifying the top five highest-scoring summaries. Read and discuss these summaries.

29. Superlatives

Basic idea. Facilitator repeatedly asks participants to come up with different types of key points from the reading assignment and discuss them with members of their team.

Reading materials. Chapters, articles, reprints, or reports.

Sample reading assignment. A proposal for new product development.

Learning outcome. In-depth understanding of the assigned reading material.

Flow. After completing the reading assignment, organize participants into teams. Ask participants to individually come up with the most important point in the assigned reading. After a suitable pause, ask each team to jointly arrive at a consensus response. Repeat the same procedure with other appropriate adjectives such as the most useful point, the most radical point, the most counter-intuitive point, and the most complex point.

30. Authors Roundup

Basic idea. Different participants read different articles on the same topic. Working in teams, they prepare answers to half a dozen key questions, emphasizing the similarities and differences among different authors.

Reading materials. Three or more articles, news items, research studies, opinion papers, or editorial comments on the same topic.

Sample reading assignment. Five different editorials from newspapers around the world about the impact of globalization.

Learning outcome. Better understanding of different perspective on a topic.

Flow. Assign one of four or five different artciles (on the same topic) to each participant. After participants have completed reading the assigned article, organize them into mixed team to ensure that each contains readers of each article. Give a set of questions related to key themes. Ask participants to respond to these questions based on their assigned reading. Later, ask members of the team to compare the answer and summarize the similarities and differences among different authors.