(by Ognian Gadoularov)
The assignment of an activity (the instruction giving) is one of the critical moments in the work of a trainer. The result of the method (game) we chose depends fully on how we assign the activity, how we motivate the participants and what rules we will introduce.
The assignment of the activity is the main factor for motivating the participants to get involved fully and actively. The assignment has to be in conformity to the composition and the level of the group. The trainer has to be well-acquainted with the method itself (game, activity). The ideal situation is when they have experienced it in the past as a participant.
Here we present a list of steps for assigning of a group activity. It can be used during the preparation of the assignment. The sequence of elements in the list is in conformity with the human psychology and the logic flow of the training process. The presence or the lack of a certain parts in the list depends on the method and is flexible to adaptations:
Motivation/visualization – a phase which draws the attention and the interest of the participants and makes them want to get involved. Here the benefits for the participants can be used as motivation.
Exercise/ Rules – a phase of clarification of the rules
Aim/result – final condition or desired result
Rules and limitations – ways of performance
Roles – explanation if there are going to be different roles and their specific function
Duration – division of the time for the separate stages (if there are such) or setting the general time frame
Time for questions asked by the group
Safety instructions – if the activity requires them
Role distribution/group division/distribution of materials or instructions – carried out at the end. The participants have to understand the general instructions well before they are given the materials, roles or group tasks. Otherwise they can get easily distracted by the new information means introduced at improper time.
There are two criteria which can help you measure the quality of your performance during the assignment. Both criteria are related to the questions asked by the participants.
Quality Measures of Assignment of Activity
Number of questions – if the group asks too many questions about the rules that means that you did not explain them clearly
Quality of the questions – The group has understood all instructions if it asks further questions about related topics that were not mentioned or are subject to further communication. It is motivated to gather all the information (ex. After the explanation of the rules the questions are: “How do we split into groups?”, “When are we leaving?” etc.)
In the ideal case the trainer aims to give the instructions in a way that does not leave the participant anything to ask.
Directions for Assignment of Activities
- Plan the activity according to the age and the physical abilities of the group. An elder group can easily loose interest if you put them in a childish situation and vice versa. Any group can get frustrated by a problem which requires physical and mental capabilities above their limits.
- Present the situation and set conditions then step back and leave the group to work on the problem even if it is difficult for them at the beginning. The trainer can harm the process by dropping hints or suggesting solutions because of their preparation and better understanding of the problem and the possible solutions. The participants should work independently. Sometimes the interaction which happens during the problem-solving process is much more important than the quality of the problem solution.
- Limit rules as much as possible. Long wordy explanations lead to boredom and lack of understanding. When appropriate use visualizations and schemes. Demonstrate by using your body in space to increase the understanding.
- Adapt and change rules so that they fit to the goals, the situation, and the people. Adapt them towards the desired result.
- Stimulate participation. Include everyone in the activity. Avoid activities where participants are being eliminated.
- The task can be presented in oral or written form. The use of written assignment guarantees that nothing will be skipped or forgotten. It gives great accuracy and the group does not have an excuse afterwards to claim that the trainer has skipped some details. The disadvantage is that if the written instruction is given in advance the participants can constantly check it and read which means that the necessity to listen carefully disappears. When the game or the task is complex and is presented verbally it is good to make a short written summary to limit the possibilities for making mistakes.
- There is an option that the task is explained to one or several group members instead of the whole group. This approach is used to encourage information sharing in the group and to strengthen the position of some of its members who somehow remained isolated until that moment.
- The information concerning security (the safety instruction) has to be very clear and understandable (unambiguous). It is advisable that the trainer demands some feedback to confirm that the safety instructions are understood clearly.
The group is given some time to make a plan before they advance to solving the given task. Here different options are also possible. An exact time period can be given for planning after which the task-solving or the game has to start immediately. The group can also be told that the game or the task solving can start only after the time given for planning is over. Different options are possible in relation to setting the condition whether the group is allowed from time to time to divert slightly from the initial plan during the task or, is obligated to stick to the initial plan even if threatened by failure. No matter of the choice made about how the planning phase will be structured all options contribute to fulfilment of goals such as resourcefulness, logical thinking and ability to communicate. Often here some emphasis is put on “playing it serious” and the intellectual component.
During a game or a task completion competitive groups are. For many participants the competition can increase the motivation and the pleasure of the game. The competition stimulates the cohesion of the groups (teams). In relation to the goals it opens possibilities for dealing with daily competition and the need of high achievements (at work, at school, etc.). The risk from competition is that it can have reverse effect to the desired one. It can lead to aggression, deepening of the hostility, etc. If there are enmities in the groups the formation of the teams can be done by the trainer so that a more appropriate distribution is made. We cannot give a single answer when it is appropriate to introduce a competitive element. It all depends by the type of the group and the type of the training. Usually the problems arise at the beginning of the training when in the group there is still a stronger orientation towards high achievements and competitiveness.
During a game or other activity to a selected participant a task can be given to present a behavior which is not typical for their personality, gender and social status etc. – namely a role. . By giving roles various life situations and reactions resulting from them can be experienced and demonstrated in order to give food for thought about one’s own role or the role of another person. Roles also give possibility to experience playfully various ways of reactions and various types of behavior. The role has to be well-thought and prepared. Also enough time is needed for performance and active discussion.
Limitations of Conditions
There are various options for limiting the conditions and creating complications which can influence significantly the activity or the motivation of the participants. Such limitations can be:
- Choice of the place and limitation of the space used
- Limitation of the time
- Limitation of the resources/materials
- Exclusion of senses (eyes covering, prohibition of speaking), physical obstacles ( ex. Tying of arms or legs, game played on only one leg or by only one arm, tying the participants to each other, carrying of additional objects during the task completions, prohibition of additional auxiliary means, etc.)
- Limitation of the number of participations in the game (ex. Each participant can play as many times as many stones are put in their hand at the beginning of the game)
- Assigning certain ways to move (only backwards, crawling, jumping, etc.)
- Presentation and clarification of the game (ex. Coding of information, isolation of certain participants)
The training program “Training of Trainers” is an educational product that is currently missing in the partner countries – Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania. Due to the early stage of development of the youth sector and youth work in these countries the educational materials aimed at non-formal learning are still limited and insufficient. The lack of adequate educational framework for training of youth workers in the field of formal education leads to inefficient use of the capacity of professionals.
This course fills a gap in the youth sector, namely the need of methodologies for the preparation of trainers, who are able to train youth workers. This course will set the basis for the preparation of teams of trainers of youth workers. The course will serve the goal of development of youth work in the participating countries and other interested parties. A large number of youth workers can be trained according to the methodology at national and international level to use and promote non-formal learning as a tool to enhance the realization of young people in the labor market and increase their social cohesion.
Part 1 General concepts
- Lesson 1 – What is a trainer? Ethics, morality and responsibility – video
- Lesson 1 – What is a trainer? Ethics, morality and responsibility – text
- Lesson 2 – Principles of Non-formal learning – text
- Lesson 2 – Principles of non-formal learning – web links
- Lesson 2- Principles of non-formal learning – tips and tricks
- Ask yourself – Check your values – reflection
Part 2 Theoretical framework
- Lesson 3 – Most influential theories of learning – text
- Lesson 3 – Most influential theories of learning – web links
- Lesson 4 – Learning Pyramid (Edgar Dales Cone Of Experience) – text
- Lesson 4 – Learning Pyramid (Edgar Dales Cone Of Experience) – web links
- Lesson 5 – Holistic Teaching and Learning 1 – Whole-brain learning – text
- Lesson 5 – Holistic Teaching and Learning 2 – Cooperative learning – text
- Lesson 5 – Holistic Teaching and Learning 3 – Knowledge of whole systems – text
- Lesson 5 – Holistic Teaching and Learning 4 – How to Use the Brain More Effectively – video
- Lesson 6 – Theory of Self-Directed Learning – text
- Lesson 7 – Multiple Intelligence Theory – text
- Lesson 7 – Multiple Intelligence Theory – video
- Lesson 7 – Multiple Intelligence Theory – web links
- Lesson 8 – Social Learning Theory – text
- Lesson 8 – Social Learning Theory – video
- Lesson 9 – Self-efficacy – text
- Lesson 9 – Self-efficacy – video
- Lesson 10 – Experiential learning theory – text
- Lesson 10 – Experiential learning theory – video
- Lesson 11 – Model of Learning styles – text
- Lesson 12 – Learning motivation – text
- Lesson 13 – Learning flow – text
- Lesson 13 – Learning flow – video and web links
- Lesson 14 – The four stages of competence – text and web links
- Lesson 15 – Key competences for lifelong learning – text
- Lesson 16 – Facilitation, Coaching, Mentoring and Training – text
- Lesson 16 – Facilitation, Coaching, Mentoring and Training – video and web links
- Lesson 17 – Developmental Stages of Youth – text
- Lesson 18 – Characteristics of Adult Learners – text
Part 3 Practical skills
- Lesson 19 – Setting learning goals – tips and tricks
- Lesson 20 – Taxonomy of learning goals – text
- Ask yourself – Learning goals vs. Learners needs – reflection
- Lesson 21 – Group Dynamics and Social learning: The Layers Effect – text
- Lesson 22 – Working with groups: Stages of Group Development (group dynamics) 1 – text
- Lesson 22 – Working with groups: Stages of Group Development (group dynamics) 2 – text
- Lesson 22 – Working with groups: Stages of Group Development (group dynamics) 3 – text
- Lesson 22 – Working with groups: Non-formal Methods – video
- Lesson 22 – Working with groups: Before taking action – tips and tricks
- Lesson 22 – Working with groups: Activities collection – try this
- Ask yourself – Group dynamics processes – reflection
- Lesson 23 – Assignment of Activities – text
- Lesson 24 – Communication: Johari window – text
- Lesson 24 – Communication: Listening – text
- Lesson 24 – Communication: Giving and receiving feedback – text
- Lesson 24 – Communication: How to deal with disruptive behavior – text
- Lesson 24 – Communication – tips and tricks
- Lesson 25 – Working in team of trainers – text
- Lesson 26 – The Art of Co-Working – text
- Ask yourself – Team work – reflection
- Lesson 27 – Active reviewing – text
- Lesson 27 – Active reviewing – video
- Lesson 27 – Active reviewing – web links
- Lesson 28 – Debriefing Experiential Learning Exercises – text
- Lesson 29 – Six phases of debriefing – text
- Lesson 30 – Learning methods – text
- Lesson 31 – Training design: ADDIE Model – text
- Lesson 31 – Training design: Construction of the training program – text
- Ask yourself – Training design – reflection
- Lesson 31 – Training design: Process activities – text
- Lesson 31 – Training design: Secret of Happiness – try this
- Ask yourself – Training design – reflection
- Lesson 32 – Training delivery: Things to Pay Attention to during a session – text
- Lesson 32 – Training delivery: Guidelines for the use of interactive games and activities – tips and tricks
- Lesson 33 – Training evaluation – text
- Lesson 33 – Training evaluation – web links
- Lesson 33 – Training evaluation – try this
- Lesson 34 – Training aids: Analogies – text
- Lesson 34 – Training aids: Storytelling – text
- Lesson 34 – Training aids: Storytelling – web links and tools
- Lesson 34 – Training aids: Storytelling – tips and tricks
- Lesson 34 – Training aids: Visuals – text
- Lesson 34 – Training aids: Visuals – web links
Last part Recomendations
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